Press review


Executive swap for Bayer and Sanofi

Country : Germany, U.S.

Keywords :
BERLIN, 14 Sep (APM) - Bayer and Sanofi announced on Thursday an unusual "executive swap", Handelsblatt (p71) and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) (p20) report on Friday.
Stefan Oelrich, Sanofi's head of diabetes and cardiovascular business, will succeed Dieter Weinand as Bayer's head of pharma, while Weinand is appointed head of Sanofi's newly created primary care global business unit based in New Jersey (APMHE 59674, APMHE 59675).
Weinand had long wanted to return to the U.S., where he had spent most of his career and family life, Handelsblatt says. Weinand had no conflicts with the Bayer board, but Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt had lured him by offering a position on the board of management based in the U.S..
This is perfect timing for Bayer, as the pharma division "needs a boss who focuses on research and digitisation and who is familiar with Bayer's culture," according to corporate sources. Oelrich was Bayer's ideal candidate to succeed Weinand, as he worked by Bayer from 1989 to 2011 and is seen as a great team leader.

Bayer pharma loses momentum

Although Bayer's pharmaceuticals business is still developing solidly overall, it has lost momentum in the first half of 2018 compared with previous years, Handelsblatt wrote on Tuesday (p26-27) in an analysis of Bayer's latest financial report.
Excluding negative currency effects, Bayer's pharmaceutical sales rose by 3% in the first six months of 2018, compared to +6% in H1 2016 and +10% in H1 2015.
For the first time in several years, Bayer pharma performed slightly below the pharmaceutical industry overall (+3.5%), Handelsblatt said.

Bayer share price falls again

Bayer's share price fell by around €70 on Tuesday for the first time since August 2013, reported FAZ (p23) and Handelsblatt (p36) on Wednesday.
Shares fell below the €80 target set by some analysts after Bayer's weak outlook for 2018 last week. A growing number of industry experts are pointing out the risks following the purchase of seed producer Monsanto due to an increasing number of lawsuits related to herbicide glyphosate.

Bayer forced to add safety warning on plant-based treatment Iberogast

German regulator BfArM has asked Bayer to include a warning about potential liver damage in the leaflet of its over-the-counter plant-based medicine Iberogast, one of the most popular gastrointestinal products in Germany, reported FAZ (p21) on Thursday.
BfArM reported new cases of side effects, including a case of liver failure with fatal consequences in July. Bayer reacted by saying that the positive risk-benefit ratio of Iberogast in the approved indications remains unchanged.
BfArM requested an additional safety warning in 2008 and again in 2017, but manufacturer Steigerwald and Bayer - after acquiring the company - refused to make any changes.
"These events show the pharmaceutical company in a devastatingly bad light," said Green MP Kordula Schulz-Asche. "For more than 10 years, Bayer had refused to include warnings of possible liver damage and it has only given in after the death has become known", she said.

German start-up works on software for pharma 'quantum computer'

Start-up Heisenberg Quantum Simulations, a spinoff from the Karlsruhe institute of Technology, is developing software to create virtual drug trials on a new type of computer, Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) (p28) reported on Thursday.
The software works in a non-binary way, making it possible to solve much more complex computing problems than the usual kind of computers thanks to quantum mechanics.
Using materials simulation, a large proportion of clinical experiments could be carried out virtually and save time and money in pharma R&D.

Legal action against hepatitis C drug patent

Non-governmental organisations Doctors of the World and Doctors Without Borders are contesting the validity of Gilead's patent on sofosbuvir, the active ingredient of hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, Die Welt (p20) reported on Thursday.
The European patent office in Munich is reviewing the validity of the patent on Thursday and Friday.

Pharma-sponsored seminars under suspicion

Several regional doctors' associations are currently reviewing pharma-sponsored seminars organised by OmniaMed after the Baden-Württemberg association refused certification to doctors attending one event, reported Handelsblatt (p22-23) on Monday.
The entire business of continuing medical education in Germany is under suspicion for potentially breaching the regulation according to which events must be free of economic interests. Pharma companies support events financially by paying speakers and paying for stands during the event.
Handelsblatt pointed out that members of OmniaMed's 'scientific committee' receive payments from the pharmaceutical industry for presentations in events and congresses and may therefore lack independence. Asked by the newspaper, two of them denied that being paid would call their independence into question.

Roche, BASF in Green party economic council

Two top executives from German pharmaceuticals and chemicals firms, Roche Germany head Hagen Pfundner and BASF CEO Martin Brudermueller, will join the 50-member newly founded economic council of the German Green party, said Handelsblatt on Monday (p9).
The Green party wants to discuss a climate-friendly restructuring of the economy.
Pfundner sees this as "an opportunity for better knowledge and understanding of the special features of the research-based health industry", he told Handelsblatt.

Two new German research centres planned to promote translational medicine

German research minister Anja Karliczek announced the setting up of two new centres for paediatric and psychiatric research to develop candidates for new drugs or other interventions and to market them in cooperation with pharma companies, SZ reported on Monday (p14).
An existing network of six centres offers opportunities to treat patients or to include them in clinical trials, but has not succeeded in creating added value for the pharma market, according to researchers quoted by SZ.
New external expertise is needed to decide what approaches might lead to the successful development of therapies.

Shortage of allergic emergency medication

Pharmacies in Munich are waitlisting clients for adrenalin autoinjectors and cortisol drugs, SZ reported on Tuesday (p33).
A Munich medical professor was quoted as saying that some drugs in allergology are just not produced in the necessary quantities, partly due to economic calculations.

Positive study results for Merck KgaA's Bavencio

Merck KGaA has announced positive results for its cancer immunotherapy therapy Bavencio (avelumab) in combination with Pfizer's Inlyta (axitinib) in renal cancer, FAZ reported on Wednesday (p19) (APMHE 59646).
The trial will continue to discover whether Bavencio plus Inlyta prolongs patients' lives.
On the basis of the interim results, Merck and Pfizer are planning to file for an extended indication in the U.S..

Alcon moves HQ to Geneva

Basel-based group Novartis intends to relocate the head office of its subsidiary Alcon to Geneva in 2019, FAZ reported on Wednesday (p19).
Until now, Alcon was located in Fort Worth, Texas. The move is part of a larger overall plan to split Alcon off from Novartis and float it on the stock exchange in the first half of 2019.

U.S. doctors 'partly to blame' for opioid crisis

U.S. doctors are also to blame for the opioid crisis, according to a study on prescriptions from 2006 to 2015 in the U.S. published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, FAZ said on Thursday (p7).
In three out of 10 prescriptions for opioids with high addiction potential, no medical reason could be found for a prescription of opioid painkillers. "It was impossible to trace why the doctor prescribed an opioid or whether it was necessary at all," the authors summarised.

New lawsuit against Purdue Pharma

Last week, a complaint was filed against Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of opioid OxyContin (oxycodon), in the state of Colorado for "addictive drugs combined with ruthless marketing", SZ wrote on Wednesday (p4).
So far, no lawsuits against the company have been successful, SZ said.

Nostrum Laboratories defends antibiotic price hike as 'moral duty'

Nirmal Mulye, the CEO of Nostrum Laboratories, has defended his decision to raise the price of antibiotic nitrofurantoin - which has been used to treat bladder infections since 1953 - by 404% from $474.75 to $2,392, SZ wrote on Wednesday (p16) (APMHE 59656).
Mulye said that this company had aligned its pricing after competitor Casper Pharma reacted to shortages of the antibiotic by increasing the price of its branded version of nitrofurantoin, known as Furadantin, to $2,800.



Interviews with KOLs/senior executives amongst the Regulators, Payers, Health, Medical & Pharmaceutical organisations

Events coverage with a unique focus on Market Access & sustainability of healthcare systems

6 European bureaus : Berlin, Brussels, London, Madrid, Milan & Paris

Ask for a Free trial and get access to our last stories

Request a trial to assess coverage that includes:
  • Health Care
  • Market Access
  • HTA – policies & practices
  • European medicine regulations
  • Drug safety issues
  • Pricing & Reimbursement
  • International medicines agencies

If you are a Payer, Pharmaceutical or Consulting professional our premium data will keep you informed on the regulatory, pricing, market access and cost-effectiveness issues that impact all stakeholders.


an initial 10 day temporary access of APM Health Europe.