Press review

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Pharma breaks merger record in search of innovation, says Spain's Cinco Días

MADRID, 10 Jan (APM) - Mergers of pharma companies reached a value of €420 billion in 2019 as companies looked for innovative medicines by acquiring firms whose products could strengthen their respective pipelines, financial newspaper Cinco Días reported on Monday.
Mergers in the industry increased 40% in value from 2018. Operations by pharmaceutical companies were worth €231.7 billion, whereas biotech mergers accounted for €188.3 billion, with Celgene's acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb as the biggest in the sector, the financial reported.
The moves are aimed at strengthening the company's pipelines with new medicines, some in investigational stages. As a consequence, other business which are less profitable, such as generics and over-the-counter medicines, have been sold by a number of companies, Cinco Días noted.
After a review of the most significant operations of 2019, including those by Spanish firms Grifols (APMHE 65114) and Esteve (APMHE 65744), the article focused on the forecast for 2020.
The newspaper quoted a recent report by Evaluate Pharma suggesting that new drugs will be key growth drivers in the pharmaceutical market, supporting an estimated 6.4% annual increase over the next few years up to 2024.
Cancer, diabetes, anticoagulants and vaccines are key products in terms of growth. Sales of Merck & Co's Keytruda (pembrolizumab), Gilead's Biktarvy (bictegravir+emtricitabine+tenofovir alafenamide) and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Revlimid (lenalidomide) are expected to show a steep increase, the financial added.

Consequences of U.S. opioid crisis on Sackler family

The Sackler brothers built Purdue Pharma, starting with pain drug OxyContin, which is considered the precursor of the opioid crisis in the U.S. Now, not even the organisations which benefited from their charities want to have anything to do with them, daily newspaper El País reported on Monday.
The Sacklers are even richer than the Rockefellers, according to Forbes. (APMHE 64622) Thousands of claimants argue that the marketing of the medicine deliberately hid the risk of developing addiction to the drug, leading to the current healthcare crisis involving opioid abuse, it added.
Purdue filed for bankruptcy in September (APMHE 64368). The Sacklers will pay $3 billion of their own money as part of a settlement of over 2,000 lawsuits. However, at least 20 states in the union are rejecting the compensations, which they consider insufficient, El País noted.
In the meantime, the prestigious Tufts University in Boston has decided to withdraw the Sackler name from all the research programmes and buildings funded by the family. Similar moves have been made by the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Tate Modern in London.

Washington attorney general sues J&J

Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over alleged misconduct in the marketing of its products, ultimately contributing to the U.S. opioid crisis, daily ABC reported on Sunday.
The newspaper quoted a statement by Ferguson as saying: "Opioids have destroyed families in Washington, have overloaded our healthcare system and have caused an addiction epidemic that we are fighting. Johnson & Johnson has to take responsibility for its actions."
Ferguson argues that J&J and a number of subsidiaries fuelled the current opioid epidemic with a deceiving marketing campaign, persuading patients and physicians that their pain drugs were effective and safe, with low risk of addiction, the newspaper reported.
The company sold raw ingredients for painkillers made by Purdue Pharma and Teva and used them in its own pain medicines, ABC noted.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is "extensive evidence" linking opioid use for three months or longer and increased risk of abuse disorders, the newspaper added.
Financial newspapers Expansión and Cinco Días carried the story earlier that weekend.

Almirall agrees option to buy U.S. Bioniz Therapeutics

Barcelona-based Almirall is aiming to boost its dermatology line with the acquisition of U.S. Bioniz Therapeutics in an option which could lead to a €55 million deal, it was widely reported on Wednesday and Thursday. (APMHE 65745)
Daily newspapers La Vanguardia, El Periódico, financial newspapers El Economista, Expansión, Europa Press agency and medical journal Redacción Médica carried the story.

Esteve buys Germany's Riemser

Esteve's acquisition of Germany's Riemser as part of its strategy to transform into a specialty pharma (APMHE 65744) was widely reported, with Wednesday and Thursday stories in daily newspapers ABC, El Periódico, La Vanguardia, financial newspapers Expansión, Cinco Días, Europa Press agency and medical journal Redacción Médica.
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