Pfizer to enter Japan's generic drug market as early as 2011.
Pfizer Inc. "will enter the generic-drug market in Japan as early as 2011 to bolster sales of its medicines that have lost patent protection." Matsumori, head of the off-patent and generic drugs business at Pfizer Japan, said the company "will establish a new unit to sell 68 generic and off-patent drugs." Pfizer "will also expand the sales force in Japan to sell more brand-name products, Ichiro Umeda, appointed president of Pfizer Japan Inc."
India introduces new ethics policy for physicians.
The Wall Street Journal "Health" blog reports that India has become the latest country to place restrictions prohibiting doctors from accepting drug-industry gifts. However, India's Business Standard says that the new ethics rules from the Medical Council of India may not be effective unless penalties for violating them are also introduced.
UN applauds efforts to end HIV travel restrictions.
The United Nations praised the United States and South Korea on Monday for lifting travel bans on people with HIV and urged 57 other countries with travel restrictions to end them quickly.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "applauded South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak on Monday 'for his country's leadership in ending restrictions towards people living with HIV that have no public health benefit.Likewise, UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe said the policy changes were "a victory for human rights on two sides of the globe.
US healthcare spending in 2008 increased at slowest pace in 48 years.
The New York Times reported that, "Health spending grew in 2008 at the slowest pace in 48 years as the recession throttled back the explosive growth of health costs," according to a CMS report. "Health spending topped $2.3 trillion in 2008, up 4.4 percent from the previous year," but "the rate of growth in 2008 was down from 6 percent in 2007 and an average increase of 7 percent a year in the decade from 1998 to 2008." The Times adds, "By slowing the growth of health spending, the recession achieved what a generation of public officials tried unsuccessfully to accomplish."
The Wall Street Journal noted that while healthcare spending growth did slow, it still grew faster than the overall economy in 2008. Government statistician Micah Harman said, "The fact that the recession had a more profound and immediate impact was not something that we've seen in recent history."
In the report, CMS said that Medicare and Medicaid cost the federal government 8 percent more in 2008 than in 2007. The agency said that national health spending growth continues "to outpace growth in the resources available to pay for it. ... Monitoring the drivers of health-care spending growth will continue to be an important aspect of meeting the nation's health-care needs with the limited resources available in an uncertain fiscal future.
Merz Pharma to buy BioForm Medical in $253 million deal.
The American Press reported, "Merz Pharma Group of Germany said...it will buy BioForm Medical Inc. for $253 million cash, expanding its aesthetic medicine business." BioForm specializes in "products used in cosmetic medical procedures," such as "Radiesse, which is sued as a dermal filler and as a treatment for vocal fold insufficiency." The company is also responsible for Coaptite, an "injectable implant...used as a treatment for female urinary incontinence."
The deal has been approved by both companies' boards of directors and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2010. Under the agreement, the Business Journal of Milwaukee reported that Merz "will acquire all of the outstanding shares of BioForm Medical for $5.45 per share in cash under a cash tender offer followed by a second-step merger." After the completed transaction, "BioForm Medical will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Merz and will be renamed Merz Aesthetics."
Genzyme signs manufacturing deal with Hospira.
Biotechnology company Genzyme Corp. is contracting manufacturing for its key products to Hospira Inc. for an undisclosed amount, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The "'fill and finish manufacturing services' deal for the genetic disorder drugs Cerezyme [imiglucerase], Fabrazyme [agalsidase beta], Myozyme [alglucosidase alfa], and Thyrogen [thyrotropin alfa for injection]," follows "a series of manufacturing problems at the company's" Allston facility. The FDA "said it found tiny particles of trash in" certain drugs in November, and "recommended that doctors closely inspect vials of" the aforementioned drugs and Aldurazyme [laronidase].
The deal is contingent upon whether Genzyme can obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to outsource its fill and finish services to Hospira, The agreement, which is set to expire at the end of 2015, will be extended until 2017 unless terminated.
Genzyme to move operations away from contaminated manufacturing facility.
Genzyme Corp. will move all its filling, packaging, and distribution operations out of its Allston drug manufacturing facility because of the latest problems involving contamination at the plant. The company also said it will "move the bulk of the operations to its own site in Waterford, Ireland."
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