LONDON, Feb 9 (APM) - GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Emma Walmsley has urged the UK government to sign a two-year transition deal by April to ensure the industry can cope with the impact of Brexit, the Guardian said on Wednesday.
Walmsley said in a conference call to discuss the UK-headquartered company’s fourth-quarter financial results: “The most important thing is that we get a transition period of at least two years, starting from March 2019, but … secured by April 2018, and we need to make sure that the negotiations that are ongoing are very clearly focused on patient safety and the continued supply of medicines to patients.”
She stressed the need for mutual recognition agreements between the UK and the EU to avoid duplication of processes and called for “the fullest possible cooperation” with the European Medicines Agency.
The FT also covered the conference call with Walmsley, but focused on her reaffirmation of GSK’s dividend for this year, as she said that protecting shareholder returns is a higher priority than large-scale M&A activity.
The paper reported her comments that she is increasingly confident that new products will help the company deliver mid-to high single-digit growth up to 2020.
Questions over GSK interest in Pfizer’s consumer health business
The Sunday Times carried a feature on priorities for GlaxoSmithKline’s chief executive Emma Walmsley nearly a year after she took up her role.
The paper said questions had been raised about Walmsley’s experience in the pharma business, but she has aimed to prove her critics wrong through senior hires such as Hal Barron from Roche and Luke Miels from AstraZeneca.
The paper quoted several analysts who agreed the company needs to focus on its pharma business rather than boosting its consumer division by acquiring Pfizer’s consumer health interests.
However, other analysts interviewed by The Times said that buying the division could consolidate GSK’s leadership in the consumer health space.
Last October, Pfizer chief executive Ian Read said he was expecting “broad interest from a number of acquirers” for the unit.
Sanofi planning to sell European generics business in Q3
Sanofi plans to agree to sell its European generis business in the third quarter of 2018, the FT said on Wednesday,
The paper said that the French pharma has narrowed the list of potential buyers to a handful of private equity firms and pharma companies.
The story also covered Sanofi’s financial results for the fourth quarter, with total sales rising 4.15 to 8.7 billion euros, although revenues at its diabetes and cardiovascular division fell 19% for the period. (APMHE 56773
AZN to open $30 million site in Sweden to sell drugs in Europe after Brexit
AstraZeneca will have to pay $30 million to build new facilities in Sweden so that it can continue to sell drugs in Europe after the UK leaves the EU, said the Sunday Times.
The paper quoted comments from AZN’s chief execute Pascal Soriot, who said the plan would be “wasted money” better spent on drug development.
It said that Soriot fears drugs developed in the UK will also have to be tested on the continent if a hard Brexit means the European Medicines Agency no longer covers the UK from March 2019.
Teva shares down on drop in expected 2018 sales
Teva shares fell after the Israeli company forecast a decline in revenues in 2018 despite widespread cost-cutting measures, the FT said on Thursday (APMHE 56800
Teva said it expects revenues to fall from $22.4 billion in 2017 to $18.3 billion in 2018 due in part to generic competition for multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate).
BMS immunotherapy combo impresses in lung cancer
Bristol-Myers Squibb’s immunotherapy combination of Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) impressed in a trial in patients with first-line non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the FT reported on Monday.
The paper said that the combination treatment lengthened the time patients could live without the disease worsening, compared with chemotherapy.
The FT also reported on BMS’s financial results in the same story, noting that tax reforms in the U.S. meant a loss of $2.3 billion for the final quarter of 2017. This compared with a profit of $894 million a year ago. Revenues rose 4% year-on-year to $5.4 billion. (APMHE 56746
Janssen’s apalutamide shows benefit in prostate cancer patients
Janssen’s apalutamide could double progression-free survival for prostate cancer patients not responding to standard therapy, the Daily Telegraph says on Friday.
The paper reports on study data published in the New England Journal of Medicine that said participants on the drug enjoyed an average of 40.5 months’ progression-free survival before their tumours metastasised, the study reported. (APMHE 56757
By contrast, those given the placebo had an average of 16.2 months.
Australia looking to slash price of Gilead’s Truvada as PrEP in HIV
Gilead’s Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) looks likely to be approved for federal subsidy in Australia this week, the Guardian said on Thursday.
The paper said that the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) indication of the drug will be added to Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) if the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommends it. This could slash the price from close to $10,000 a year to $474, said the paper.
Ireland may need to compensate women affected by sodium valproate
Ireland may need to set up a state inquiry and redress scheme for women whose babies have developmental problems due to epilepsy drug sodium valproate, The Times says on Friday.
The paper says it has seen documents that show government officials believed the consequences of taking the drug, marketed by Sanofi in the country as Epilim, were a “significant issue”.
The documents show that the Irish health department's chief medical officer was warned last year that the state may need to compensate women who took the drug, which has been linked to birth defects after being taken by pregnant women.
Sanofi told The Times that it had regularly reviewed and revised the product information. It said that the drug, which was first made available in the 1970s, was and still is one of the most effective treatments for epilepsy.
NHS overcharged for medicines for skin conditions
The Times on Saturday said that patients in England are being denied access to medicines after GPs were ordered to stop prescribing drugs called ‘specials’ because of their “extortionate” cost.
The paper said that the National Health Service (NHS) is regularly being overcharged for these products, which are custom-made medicines that are commonly used by people with skin conditions.
The high street chemist Boots charged the NHS as much as 1,500 pounds for single pots of moisturiser, which it bought from a sister company. According to payment records, the same product had been supplied elsewhere for as little as 1.73 pounds. Boots has disputed the NHS’s figures.