Press review

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Lack of information in recall of Pfizer's contraceptive pill Trigoa in Germany

Country : France, Germany, U.S.

Keywords :
BERLIN, 14 Dec (APM) - Pfizer Germany has been criticised for delaying information to the public about the recall of three batches of its contraceptive pill Trigoa (levonorgestrel+ethinylestradiol), reported Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Tuesday (p7).
Pfizer told pharmacies and wholesalers about the recall of 2,700 packages on 3 and 4 December, but only published the information on its website a week later. So far the number of women affected remains unclear.
As the instructions on how to take Trigoa, which comprises tablets of three different dosages, were wrong, the regional supervisory authority of Berlin warned that it could lead to unwanted pregnancies.

Up to 140 job cuts at Sanofi Germany

Sanofi is planning around 140 job cuts in corporate functions in Germany by 2020, reported FAZ on Wednesday (p22) (APMHE 61023).
After Sanofi chief executive Olivier Brandicourt announced 500 job cuts in France as part of the 'Horizon 2020' plan on 5 December, the German subsidiary is expected to implement a 17% cut in global corporate functions.

Boehringer plans job cuts in France

German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim plans to cut more than 300 jobs in France, reported FAZ on Tuesday (p8) (APMHE 61003).
A representative of the CFE-CGC trade union said on Monday that a total of 327 of the 2,800 positions in France would be cut in the course of a restructuring, the paper said.

Bayer employee representative complains about media reports

Bayer employee representative and central works council chairman Oliver Zuehlke has complained about media reports on the company's cost-cutting plan, weekly Die Zeit wrote on Thursday.
Contrary to comments in several media, the job cuts should not be seen as related to legal risks for Monsanto, he said, reiterating previous statements made by chief executive Werner Bauman and himself (APMHE 60919).

Bayer denies rumours about contact with hedge fund Elliott

Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann has denied having had any contact with U.S.-based hedge fund Elliott Management, reported FAZ on Tuesday (p19) and Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Wednesday (p17).
Elliott Management, owned by activist investor Paul Singer, is rumoured to have acquired a stake in Bayer, reported SZ (p10) and FAZ (p28) on Saturday as well as Die Welt on Sunday (p34) and Monday (p10). Anonymous sources said Elliott has tried to contact Bayer top managers to put pressure on them but they, including Baumann, refused to discuss the matter (APMHE 61007).
On Monday, Baumann said he got this news by reading the papers.

Bayer attempts transparency on glyphosate studies

Bayer has published online a 'transparency platform' of studies on weedkiller glyphosate in an attempt to be more transparent, SZ wrote on Saturday (p28).
To counter allegations that glyphosate, now marketed by Bayer after the group acquired agricultural group Monsanto, causes cancer, Bayer decided to publish studies which were submitted by Monsanto as part of the reapproval process in December 2017.
Only summaries have been published on the platform and Bayer plans to publish the complete studies online in 2019, SZ said.

Fresenius expects Kabi division to grow in 2019

Medical group Fresenius issued a profit warning for 2019 and 2020 (APMHE 60973) but is still expecting its drug division Kabi's operative result to grow at a low to medium single-digit percentage in 2019, Die Welt reported on Saturday (p10) (APMHE 60973).
From 2020 onwards, Kabi's biosimilar sales are expected to become profitable and to help growth move into the mid-single digits. Also, group net income is expected to grow organically slightly faster than sales, Die Welt said.

German Health Minister proposes compromise on mail order pharmacies

German Health Minister Jens Spahn has proposed a compromise to pharmacists in the dispute over mail order pharmacies, FAZ (p19), Handelsblatt (p10 and 12) and SZ (p4 and 6) reported on Wednesday and Wirtschaftswoche on Friday (p12)
On the one hand, prescription drug sales via mail order pharmacies will not be banned - contrary to pharmacists' demands - and on the other hand, pharmacist remuneration will be increased by almost €400 million to support brick-and-mortar pharmacies (APMHE 61015).
Handelsblatt criticised Spahn for missing an opportunity to introduce more competition in pricing for retail pharmacies.

German monopolies commission suggests discounts in pharmacies

Germany's monopolies commission has recommended the introduction of discounts on copayments by patients in order to enhance competition among mail order and brick-and-mortar pharmacies, Die Welt (p9) and FAZ (p19) reported on Monday.
These discounts, decided by each pharmacist, would put an end to uniform drug pricing, the commission said, reiterating a recommendation made in July (APMHE 58788).
As competitive pressure is higher in metropolitan areas, it is expected that discounts would mainly be granted in large and middle-sized cities, the commission said. However, rural areas would also benefit from the new system.

Paediatric drug studies questioned

Experts are calling into question the benefit of conducting drug studies on children, FAZ reported on Wednesday (p33).
The obligation introduced by the European paediatric regulation in 2007 to conduct extra studies on children is pointless, "as if children were another species", according to Klaus Rose, former head of the children's department at Novartis.
As children's bodies are not mature and are subject to physiological changes even during a study, it is difficult to obtain meaningful results, said pharmacologist Karel Allegaert.
According to paediatrician Wolfgang Goepel, it would be more useful to finance large paediatric registries.

Start-up founder invests in medical cannabis

German start-up founder Sebastian Diemer has invested in newly founded Farmako, a research-based pharmaceutical company that aims to develop new cannabis products such as capsules, oils or inhalers, Handelsblatt wrote on Tuesday (p46).
The German market for medical cannabis is expected to grow from around €19 million in 2018 to €200 million in 2019. Health insurance companies have been covering the costs of using medical cannabis since 2017. However, medical cannabis still has to be imported into Germany, and cultivation is prohibited.

Bavarian doctors opposed to doctors' information system

The regional doctors' association (KV) of Bavaria is not in favour of the information system on drug assessment by health technology assessment (HTA) body G-BA being included in their practice software, SZ reported on Wednesday (p48).
They are concerned that payers would try to get insights into and control doctors' prescriptions, which would mean interference with their freedom of prescription, SZ wrote.

Roche loses pharma head

Roche has lost its head of pharma Daniel O'Day, who has resigned to head up California-based pharmaceutical and biotech company Gilead Sciences at the beginning of March, FAZ (p20) and Handelsblatt (p46) reported on Tuesday (APMHE 60980).
O'Day has been working for Roche for 31 years and had been part of Roche's top management in Basel since 2010.
William Anderson, who currently heads Roche's Genentech subsidiary in the U.S., will succeed him.
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