Press review

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Fresenius's failed acquisition of Akorn has potential negative impact

Country : Germany, U.S.

Keywords :
BERLIN, 11 May (APM) - German health group Fresenius's failed acquisition of U.S. liquid generic drugmaker Akorn could have negative consequences, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Friday (p25).
After Fresenius pulled out of the acquisition (APMHE 57791), the company referred in its first quarter 2018 report a major potential negative impact on its reputation and financial situation if it were forced by the U.S. courts to acquire the company, says FAZ.
However Fresenius told FAZ that this was "the worst-case scenario" and that it was "very confident" that the U.S. court will "assess the facts correctly," a Fresenius spokesman said.
Akorn has filed a lawsuit with a court in the U.S. state of Delaware against Fresenius for pulling out of its acquisition deal and Fresenius has filed a counterclaim (APMHE 57962). First hearing is planned on 9 July.
FAZ also points out that Fresenius has already spent around "a double-digit millions euros" on the planned transaction and that the Q1 net income was negatively impacted by €6 million.

Bayer announces post-Monsanto takeover leadership

Bayer announced on Monday that current head of its agricultural business Liam Condon will lead the new crop science business after the completion of $62.5 billion takeover of Monsanto, Handelsblatt (p55), FAZ (p20) Die Welt (p9) reported on Tuesday.
Monsanto's CEO Hugh Grant will leave the company shortly after the acquisition is completed, the company said.
There is no surprise in Condon's appointment since it was clear from the beginning that he would take the lead and that Grant would leave the company, Handelsblatt said.
In an analysis, Handelsblatt said on Wednesday (p30) that the new crop science entity will be more "Monsanto-related" that initially seen because of the divestments Bayer had to make to obtain various anti-trust approvals. Therefore the integration of Monsanto teams will be a major challenge, it wrote.

Takeda buys Shires for $62 billion

The French chief executive of Takeda, Christophe Weber, has succeeded in acquiring Shire for $62 billion, SZ (p18) and FAZ (p24) reported on Wednesday.
Weber is one of a few foreigners to run a Japanese company, SZ said. He was brought on board to make Takeda a global player but skeptics fear the Shire purchase will strain Takeda's finances.

Novartis justifies dubious contact with Trump's lawyer

Novartis gave justification on Wednesday why it had signed a $1.2 million contract with a company linked to President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, Handelsblatt (p30) and Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) (p7) report on Friday (APMHE 58049).
Novartis was seeking counselling on the new U.S. administration’s thoughts on healthcare policy. It signed a one year contract in February 2017 but realised after a meeting in March 2017 that Cohen's company was not able to provide the expected services.
Novartis also denied media reports saying that Novartis's CEO Vas Narasimhan was able to meet Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos thanks to Cohen's intervention.

Merkel fully supports Spahn to speed up electronic health card

Chancellor Angela Merkel fully supported health minister Jens Spahn in his project to speed up the electronic health card, FAZ reports on Friday (p19).
Spahn has "free hand" to review the project on electronic health card and decide whether a completely new approach is necessary, she said on Wednesday, according to FAZ.
In an interview with FAZ on Monday (p1 and 19), Spahn said he will review the project on electronic health card, run by doctors, health insurance and hospital umbrella groups, and "decide how we proceed".
"We've been debating on the electronic health card for 14 years. Beyond small model projects, however, without major positive effects for patients. That is totally unacceptable," Spahn said.
There is a need to coordinate the digital access of citizens to all services provided by local and federal authorities, Spahn also said.
Multiple digital identity - one used with the tax administration, one to apply for a passport and a third for the health care system - must be avoided. "We must not put up with unnecessary barriers" but provide "reasonable offers according to our quality standards", he said.

'Deprescribing' is difficult but essential

Adjusting one patient's drug treatment is essential to avoid multiple interactions but physicians still have great difficulty, said drug expert Joerg Schaaber in an interview with Der Spiegel on Saturday (p103).
"Many doctors are very afraid of missing out on treatment. They hardly think that they can do damage through what they do," said Schaaber, who works for the German independent magazine "Gute Pillen - schlechte Pillen" ('good pills - bad pills').
Studies on so-called 'desprescribing' haven't shown any tangible benefit but they have shown that it is more difficult than initially thought to reduce drug prescriptions.

Climate of trust will favour vaccination

Western countries need to work on a "climate of trust" on vaccination for children in order to counter the current growing scepticism, according to the international vaccination alliance Gavi, reports FAZ on Friday.
Parents in developed countries seem to trust false news from the internet more than the advice of doctors, whereas people in poor countries welcome any support to increase vaccination rate, Gavi managing director Seth Berkley said.
Berkley is sceptical about the potential efficacy of a compulsory vaccination for children, FAZ says.
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