Patent Woes Threaten Drug Firms
By DUFF WILSON
Published: March 6, 2011
At the end of November, Pfizer stands to lose a $10-billion-a-year revenue stream when the patent on its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor expires and cheaper generics begin to cut into the company’s huge sales.
J.B. Reed/Bloomberg News
The loss poses a daunting challenge for Pfizer, one shared by nearly every major pharmaceutical company. This year alone, because of patent expirations, the drug industry will lose control over more than 10 megamedicines whose combined annual sales have neared $50 billion.
This is a sobering reversal for an industry that just a few years ago was the world’s most profitable business sector but is now under pressure to reinvent itself and shed its dependence on blockbuster drugs. And it casts a spotlight on the problems drug companies now face: a drought of big drug breakthroughs and research discoveries; pressure from insurers and the government to hold down prices; regulatory vigilance and government investigations; and thousands of layoffs in research and development.
Morgan Stanley recently downgraded the entire group of multinational pharmaceutical companies based in Europe — AstraZeneca, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Novo Nordisk and Roche — in a report titled “An Avalanche of Risk? Downgrading to Cautious.” The analysts wrote, “The operating environment for pharma is worsening rapidly.”
The same concerns apply to drug giants in the United States. They are all struggling with research failures as they scramble to replace their cash cows, like Pfizer’s multimillion-dollar gamble on a replacement for the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, which failed miserably in clinical trials. Drug companies cut 53,000 jobs last year and 61,000 in 2009, far more than most other sectors, according to the outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“This is panic time, this is truly panic time for the industry,” said Kenneth I. Kaitin, director of the Center for the Study of Drug Development at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. “I don’t think there’s a company out there that doesn’t realize they don’t have enough products in the pipeline or the portfolio, don’t have enough revenue to sustain their research and development.”
While industrywide research and development spending has nearly doubled to $45 billion a year over the last decade, the Food and Drug Administration has approved fewer and fewer new drugs. Pfizer and Eli Lilly had major setbacks last year in once-promising Alzheimer’s drug experiments. Merck stopped testing its top acquisition from its merger with Schering Plough, a blood thinner that caused dangerous amounts of bleeding.Read More
There it is! The Real Problem... Literal Bleeding!!! Anyone who reads anything on Big Drug Companies or just watches TV. Knows that People are Dying needlessly and if not dying, then being made sicker than they were before they were Duped into Taking Many - Many of these Drugs. And being told that they are "Safe" by their Doctors who well may be getting Paid Kick Backs, by these Drug Corps. Effectively making our Doctors nothing more than Drug Pushers and Snake Oil Salesmen!!! And this is NOT Even illegal!:O Drugs that were Pushed and Rushed into Being Approved by the FDA are Killing People Every Day. Now, if the FDA is Finally doing the Right Thing and Standing up to these Multi Billion Dollar Corps and Refusing their Kick Backs and Actually Making them Pass the Tests Set Forth by the Government, before allowing the General Population to be Guinea Pigs for these Drug Corps. And Dying and getting Sicker to make them Their Billions! Then I say A...Men!!! Let a few Research Scientists Join the rest of the US and work for Less Money and Work More Hours in a Job that is far Beneath Our Skills. Just to get by.... Of course, No one Should Ever Even Think of Asking these Drug Corps Executives. The Moguls of these Multi - Multi Billion Dollar Drug Corpses (yes I meant to say Corpses) to Share a little Percentage of their Billions and Keep the Hard Working Research Scientists on, during this Short Downturn and Perhaps let them Discover something that Could actually Help Human Kind. Cure Cancer, Parkinson's, MS, Alzheimer's or Even One of the Many Other Plagues that are Still Affecting People in Growing Numbers Every Day all around the World! We Couldn't Dare Ask that. But, How About we Demand it!!! Or should the Government just Give them a Hand Out Too??? Print some more "Monopoly Money" and Rescue the Poor Little Multi Billion Dollar Drug Companies who are having a bad year!:O What about a Bad Life. What about those who are Sick and Dying!?!?!?!?
Ok... I'm done, for now;)
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