Press review

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Fresenius CEO fields criticism for Akorn acquisition

Country : U.S., Germany

Keywords :
BERLIN, Jan 19 (APM) - Questions remain as to whether Fresenius chief executive Stephan Sturm has been 'outwitted' in the $4.8 billion acquisition of U.S. generic company Akorn, reported the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Wednesday (p22) and Manager Magazin on Friday (p20).
Sturm faces criticism within the company and from investors over Akorn's weak sales performance in the second and third quarter of 2017 (APMHE 56468). The $4.8 billion price for acquiring the company now appears overexpensive, both papers reported.
It seems that Sturm was unable to foresee this during talks with Akorn and did not negotiate an exit clause or the right to adjust the sales price if Akorn's results deteriorated, FAZ said.
According to FAZ, Akorn intentionally negotiated with non-serious bidders until a very late stage in order to build up the price.
Sturm is eager to receive final approval from antitrust authorities and start restructuring the company. His plan is to consolidate Akorn production facilities, replace managers, cut costs and rapidly launch products that are still under development, Manager Magazin said.

Germany's Dermapharm plans IPO

Germany's generic and over-the-counter (OTC) drugmaker Dermapharm is planning to go public, FAZ (p20) and Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) (p17) reported on Tuesday (APMHE 56440).
FAZ described Dermapharm as "an eternal sale candidate" as founder Wilhelm Beier previously began buyout processes twice - in 2014 and in 2016 - but retracted in both cases. This has damaged Dermapharm's reputation in the financial markets, FAZ said.
Dermapharm CEO Hans-Georg Feldmeier explained that he wants to internationalise the company, which has so far primarily been active in Germany.

Remicade fraud allegations

Physicians and pharmacists working at a Potsdam hospital are under investigation for alleged fraud involving Pfizer's Remicade (infliximab), Die Welt reports on Friday (p15).
The doctors are charged with double-billing payers for Remicade and sharing profits with pharmacists. The fraud, which also includes other products covered by theb health insurance, may add up to 3.8 million euros.
They allegedly took advantage of a control gap in the German health care system. Physicians working both for the hospital and in private practice told patients to get their prescription at a specific community pharmacy, but also included the prescription cost in the hospital bill sent to health insurance. As a result, insurers paid twice for the medication.
The fraud was discovered through a random control of the pharmacy, which was not equipped to make individual Remicade preparations.

Roche receives EU approval for Ocrevus

The EU approval of multiple sclerosis drug Ocrevus is an important milestone for Roche, FAZ reported on Saturday (p24) (APMHE 56395).
Roche estimates that the European market comprises around 700,000 patients suffering from MS. Of these, 96,000 have the primary progressive form, for which Ocrevus is the first approved drug.
"The central nervous system therapeutic area is once again gaining greater importance in our business," Hagen Pfunder, head of Roche Pharma Germany, told FAZ.
According to analysts, Ocrevus could potentially reach five billion euros' peak sales.

Quadruple-strain flu vaccine only available to privately insured

The quadruple-strain flu vaccine now recommended by the German commission for vaccinations (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute is only available to the privately insured, Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported on Thursday (p12).
Statutory health insurees do not have access to the vaccine because it is not reimbursed by umbrella payer organisation GKV-Spitzenverband (GKV-SV), the paper said. GKV-SV has not received a decision from higher health technology assessment (HTA) body G-BA on the quadruple-strain vaccine and is therefore not legally obligated to reimburse it, it said.
The G-BA plans to issue a ruling in the next three months, according to the paper.

Germany needs healthcare reform

A recent analysis from the Organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD) shows that although the German healthcare system is expensive - measured in terms of life expectancy - the quality is only mediocre, Die Welt reported on Sunday (p4).
Necessary reforms include better prevention measures for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Many Germans are overweight, do not exercise enough and smoke and too much, the paper said. The system also needs to become more transparent, digitalised and flexible, it said.
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