LONDON, 26 July (APM) - Pharma companies spent a record sum of money lobbying U.S. Congress in the first half of 2019, the Financial Times said on Tuesday.
The paper reported that trade body PhRMA spent $16.1 million on lobbying as the industry tried to defend itself against drug pricing reforms proposed by Donald Trump's administration. This was up 4% on the previous record in the first half of 2018.
The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), also spent large sums, said the FT. The group spend $2.1million on lobbying in the first half of 2019, 40% more than in the same time period in 2018.
As for individual company spending in the first six months of this year, Pfizer spent $7.1 million, Merck & Co $5 million, Eli Lilly spent $3.7 million, J&J spent $3.6 million and Gilead spent $2.9 million. All these figures were well above 2018 equivalents.
Pressure on Trump to make good on price reform process ahead of election
The FT on Tuesday carried a featured asking if U.S. President Donald Trump can make good on his promise to lower drug prices.
The paper said Trump has had two planned reforms flop, putting pressure on his administration to make a deal before the next election.
Other plans coming up include an executive order on drug prices, while the Senate finance committee is working on a bill that could cap prices, said the FT.
It added that the Democratic nominee that Trump will face next year will have a "radical plan" to disrupt the pharma industry.
GSK looking for growth
The Sunday Times carried a feature on GlaxoSmithKline's growth prospects two years after Emma Walmsley replaced Sir Andrew Witty as chief executive.
The paper said the UK company "breathed a sigh of relief" last week after promising trial results for a new ovarian cancer drug acquired as part of a $4 billion deal for Tesaro.
It added that Walmsley has done more to shake up GSK in the past two years than Witty did in a decade, including slashing drug programmes, getting rid of 40% of senior management and planning to split the company in two.
The paper also had a separate opinion piece from John Collingridge on how GSK is continuing to move away from its consumer brand past, having sold off products such as Lucozade and Ribena in 2013 and now planning to spin out its consumer health business, including products such as Panadol.
The company must now rebuild its drug pipeline or face being taking over by another firm, said the paper.
GSK's more streamlined R&D process
GSK's prospects were also covered by the FT, which interviewed chief scientific officer Hal Barron.
He told the paper that he had ended consensus decision making, with a single person now responsible for deciding whether to continue or drop each drug development programme.
Staff are also encouraged to take more risks in pursuit of blockbusters, he said.
The FT said Barron insisted that GSK can be a leader in cancer immunotherapy despite being a latecomer into the field. It is also expecting trial data from new oncology drugs by the ned of the year.
GSK lifts guidance for year after positive Q2
GlaxoSmithKline's Q2 results were widely reported by the press on Wednesday (APMHE 63813
The Daily Telegraph said CEO Emma Walmsley has "overseen another set of encouraging results", with the company reporting pre-tax profits of £2.56 billion, boosted by a number of one-off payments and lower financing costs on debt.
It also updated guidance, with full-year profits now expected to fall by 3-5% for the full year, compared with earlier guidance of a 5-9% decline.
The Times added that confidence in GSK's oncology business was bolstered this month when it announced positive late-stage results for Zejula, an ovarian cancer treatment acquired from Tesaro.
The FT, which covered the results, also said GSK is expanding into cell and gene therapies by signing a deal with Lyell, a U.S. firm developing cancer immunotherapies.
BMS reports better-than-expected Q2 revenue
Bristol-Myers Squibb reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the second quarter, said the FT on Thursday.
The paper said adjusted earnings soared 17% to $1.18 a share, while net profit was $1.4 billion, up from $373 million a year before.
However, expenses from its planned $90 billion of the acquisition of Celgene led BMS to lower earnings-per-share guidance for the full year.
Biogen raises guidance after positive Q2
Biogen raised full-year guidance after beating earnings and revenue expectations for the second quarter of 2019, the FT said on Tuesday (APMHE 63798
The paper said the Massachusetts-based firm now expect revenue of about $14 billion to $14.2 billion for the year, up from previous guidance of between $13.6 billion and $13.8 billion.
AstraZeneca continues sales growth
The FT on Thursday covered AstraZeneca's financial results for Q2, saying the UK firm has reported its fourth successive quarter of rising sales after returning to growth last year for the first time since 2014.
The UK firm saw sales in the second quarter climb to 19% to $5.7 billion, beating expectations of $5.4 billion. AstraZeneca also upgraded its guidance on product sales, which are now expected to increase by a low double-digit percentage over the full year compared with previous estimates of a high single-digit increase.
The Times on Friday also covered the results, saying that the company said five of its new medicines are on track to be blockbuster drugs with the potential to rack up sales of $1 billion.
Crestor stock destroyed after rejection by AstraZeneca
About 2,000 kg of AstraZeneca's cholesterol drug Crestor has been destroyed after the UK pharma rejected the offer to take it for nothing after the collapse of a manufacturing site near Bristol in south west England, The Times said on Monday.
The paper said that the stock, which is enough to make 182 million tablets, was offered free to the company at the end of May by David Rubin & Partners, the administrator of the site, which collapsed in February, just over two years after it was sold by AstraZeneca for £1 to manufacturing firm Avara.
Andrew Burn, at KPMG, an adviser to AstraZeneca, said the decision to not take the stock was "taken on the basis on a number of important quality criteria AstraZeneca defined when the site went into administration to enable them to continue to receive material from Avara".
AstraZeneca's Lynparza to be made available on NHS at earlier stage of treatment for ovarian cancer
AstraZeneca's Lynparza is being made available on the National Health Service (NHS) in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund to help women with a genetic form of ovarian cancer, The Times reports on Friday.
The drug has been shown to more than double the number of patients whose cancer is prevented from getting worse, and could offer a cure for some women, said the paper.
Until now, women with advanced cancer have been offered surgery and chemotherapy to keep their cancer under control, with a small number getting Lynparza (olaparib) after three rounds of chemotherapy. Patients will now get Lynparza earlier on as a maintenance drug if they have responded to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.
UK watchdog accuses companies of blocking competition for antibiotic
The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has accused two companies of breaking the law by carving up the market to keep prices for an antibiotic artificially high, both The Times and the Daily Mail report on Friday.
The competition watchdog has provisionally ruled that Advanz Pharma and Morningside reached a deal with the wholesaler Alliance Healthcare so that they would not compete in the market for nitrofurantoin capsules between 2014 and 2017.
NHS patient data valued at £10 billion
The value of NHS patient data has been set at almost £10 billion, The Times said at the weekend.
It reported on data from consultancy firm EY that says by charging private health companies to develop new products with the data, the health service would benefit by £4.6 billion a year in better targeted, more personal care and would gain £5 billion a year in operational savings and new income streams.
However, to make the data usable by companies would require significant costs and efforts to clean and protect information, said the paper.
UK diabetes patients limiting use of insulin over Brexit fears
UK diabetes patients are limiting their daily doses of insulin over fears of the impact of a no-deal Brexit on supplies, The Sunday Times said.
The paper quoted an industry source who said: "Patients are informally building their own stockpiles by giving themselves less insulin on a daily basis."
This could have "extremely dangerous" consequences, said the source.
New UK Prime Minister promises extra freight capacity in case of no-deal Brexit
The UK's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is promising to spend up to £300 million on extra freight capacity to keep vital goods moving in the case of a no-deal Brexit, says The Times on Friday.
Disruption to cross-Channel traffic is one of the most serious threats of leaving without agreement on 31 October, with the flow of medicines, chemicals and other vital goods at risk, said the paper.
Implant could provide HIV protection for a year
An implant version of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) could prevent someone from contracting HIV for up to a year, the Daily Telegraph said on Tuesday.
The paper reported on study results presented at the International Aids Society conference in Mexico City.
PrEP is currently available as a pill and has been shown to reduce the chances of picking up HIV through unprotected sex by about 90%. However, it must be taken daily, meaning it can have low adherence rates. An implant would just need to be replaced every 12 months.
ViiV's two-drug regimen as effective as three-drug combo for HIV
Studies have shown ViiV Healthcare's Dovato, a two-drug regimen for HIV treatment, is as effective as the standard three-drug combination, the FT said on Wednesday.
The paper said the results are a boost for GSK - which is the major shareholder in ViiV alongside Pfizer and Shionogi - as it attempts to win a bigger share of the market from Gilead Sciences.
Gilead has a 53% share of the $28 billion HIV market, said the FT, while ViiV has just 22%.
Expensive 'essential' medicines pose challenges for healthcare budgets
The World Health Organization (WHO) has added 12 medicines for five cancers treatments to its list of essential drugs, including several that are new and expensive, said the FT at the weekend.
The paper said that the list has tended to focus on older, cheaper products but that having more innovative drugs on the list can present challenges for government healthcare systems as they are obliged to make them widely available.
The article calls on the WHO to develop a second list of medicines that would be essential if they were available at affordable prices, encouraging governments to lose barriers that block competition in order to lower prices.
Abcam shares down as finance head quits
Shares in UK biotech Abcam fell following the departure of its finance director, The Times said on Tuesday.
The paper said that investors are also fretting that more investment needed in the business might affect earnings for the company, which produces modified human antibodies used by pharmaceutical companies in drug discovery.
Shares in Abcam closed down more than 13% £12.18, a fall of 187p.
Judges reduces Bayer damages
A California judge has drastically reduced the damages that Bayer must pay over allegations its Roundup pesticide causes cancer from $2 billion to $87 million, the FT reports on Friday.
The paper describes the decision as a "partial victory" for the German pharma, saying it reverses in part a jury verdict handed out in May that triggered a sharp drop in the share price.