Monday, September 22, 2008

While you were winning/losing some

This weekend saw two major sports upsets, though neither was as shocking as the deep six of the global financial markets just a week ago. At last, the US finally won back the Ryder Cup, ending nine years of European domination; meanwhile, NFL fans not rooted in the six New England states cheered as the Miami Dolphins absolutely obliterated the Patriots defense with an annoyingly-simple-yet-hard-to-beat "Wildcat play" that snapped the Patriots 21 straight regular season wins. (The last loss was Dec. 10, 2006, coincidentally against the Dolphins.)

  • No financial crisis will slow down the consolidation of the generics pharmaceutical companies, according to this report. Of course, we've been reporting on the rise of generics for some time. At the same time, we're seeing a slowdown of the overall M&A market for pharma companies. (Check out the extensive report here or in this month's Start-Up.) Nevertheless, the Royal Bank of Scotland recorded a level number of buyouts this year, valued at more than $25 billion, an 80 percent increase over last year. Teva Pharmaceuticals' $9 billion buyout of Barr Pharmaceuticals certainly helped drive up that number, and Teva's chief executive for North America, Bill Marth, says more deals may be following the Barr buy. "It doesn't leave us in a position where we won't do more acquisitions that are complementary, it will just change the focus of those acquisitions," Marth told reporters Friday.
  • Speaking of generics, Ranbaxy, Indian's largest drugmaker and a recipient of a smackdown by the FDA, has recruited one-time GOP presidential (and vice presidential?) candidate Rudy Guiliani to take on its fight. The former Hizzoner will push to lift the ban the FDA put on more than 30 Ranbaxy medicines after finding deficiencies in Ranbaxy's plants. The company says the FDA's concerns are baseless. The Economic Times says other Indian pharmaceutical companies aren't overly concerned about selling in the U.S.
  • It ain't Lehmans Brothers, but things aren't looking well for Atherogenics, according to Pharmagossip, which linked to an article from the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Noteholders in the company filed a petition to put the company into Chapter 7 bankrupty.
  • Happy Birthday to Bayer Corp. The U.S. subsidiary of Bayer AG marks its fiftieth year in the US, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The paper had a sit down with Gregory Babe, who is to become the first American-born executive to head the subsidiary.
  • Direct-to-Consumer advertising continues to draw fire. The Guardian reports that the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians are among nine medical organization to opposed the introduction of direct-to-consumer medicine. The group's contend that the NHS's eleven billion pound annunal drug cost would skyrocket if pharma comapnies could pitch their product directly. Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, the FDA heard from two physicians who want the FDA to expand its oversight of direct-to-consumer ads to include medical devices. The docs--an orthopedic surgeon and cardiologist--who say drugs and devices should stand on equal footing when it comes to DTC ads, therefore putting the devices under greater scrutiny.

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