PharmExec Blog

High Price of Gilead's Sovaldi Could Deter Early Hep C Treatment

Gilead Silences has cleaned up on their new $1,000 Hepatitis C pill Sovaldi (84,000 per treatment), hauling in a record-breaking $2.3 billion in its first full quarter on the market. The previous record (also a Hepatitis C drug Incivek from Vertex) came in with $1.56 billion, according to EP Vantage.

And Sovaldi may well go on to trump the record for first-year sales, at least in the United States, the company stated in an analyst conference call on Tuesday. Read More »

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Medicare Data Raises Questions About Drug Costs

The recently released Medicare data on payments to individual doctors doesn’t provide specifics on prescription drug outlays, but opens the door to scrutiny of Medicare reimbursement for medicines delivered in physician offices, writes Jill Wechsler.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released data on payments to some 880,000 healthcare providers who collectively received $77 billion in Medical Part B fee-for-service payments in 2012. It’s part of the government’s “transparency” campaign to better inform the public and healthcare entities about spending and costs in the delivery system. The American Medical Association blasted this “data dump” as likely to confuse the public and “destroy careers,” which may be valid complaints as journalists, analysts, and plaintiffs’ attorneys begin to troll the data set. Read More »

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Big Pharma’s Big Tuesday: A New Age of Megamerger?

What’s the opposite of Black Tuesday? White Tuesday? Bright Tuesday?

Because Tuesday the stock market was buzzing following the news that Novartis is to acquire GSK’s cancer drugs business, while selling its vaccines division to GSK. With the speculation of a $100bn Pfizer bid for AstraZeneca and Valeant Pharmaceuticals added in, prices went soaring.

As of lunchtime (GMT), London trading had seen GSK shares rise by over 5% and Novartis’s by 2%. AstraZeneca saw a 7% rise and even Shire’s went up by 4%. (In India, Novartis shares soared by 20%.)

Much of the clamor following the breaking news tended not to focus on the notion that, as an asset swap, the GSK/Novartis transaction is “a step on from the mega mergers of the past” (says GSK head Andrew Witty).

The Financial Times (FT) proposed that “big pharma deals are back in the mix”, Andrew Ward and Ed Hammond writing that, although the traditional big deal has been “out of fashion” since late the 1990s and early 2000s, the Pfizer speculation “suggests it may have been too soon to call an end to consolidation among the world’s largest drug makers.”

Market analysts Mergermarket agreed, explaining there have already been five pharma deals above $2bn announced in 2014, excluding the tentative Pfizer/Astrazeneca tie up. If this rises to more than seven it will amount to the most deals since 2007’s height of 11. Further, says Mergermarket, Q1 2014′s $39.4bn is over five times the value of Q1 2013 ($7.7bn), and is the first Q1 to reach double-digit values since the $112.9bn in Q1 2009.

Other reports pointed out that Pfizer and AZ  had broken off their talks. But as Motley Fool indicated, while this deal may not come to pass, the new trend of mergers, such as Actavis and Forest Labs, suggests “the proposed tie-up isn’t as implausible as it appeared at first glance”.

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CRO M&As Show No Sign of Slowing Down

By Lisa Henderson.

With all of the activity in CRO M&As the past three years, it’s slightly amazing that it continues — and that analysts don’t see it slowing down. In fact, investment analysts speaking to the Partnerships in Clinical Trials event this month believe that from a Wall Street perspective, the publicly-traded CROs are heading into a three-year bull market. And from an investment perspective, these firms have delivered a 900% return to investors, said Eric Coldwell, Analyst for Robert W. Baird. Read More »

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Is Gilead’s $1000 Pill Worth It?

The Department of Veterans Affairs and other California panels’ solution to the new and extremely costly hepatitis (Hep) C drugs (Sovaldi and Olysio) is to reserve them for the patients with advanced liver diseases, including those awaiting transplants.

What should the patients of “milder” cases do then? Twiddle their thumbs and wait for drugs in development? That’s what the VA suggested. The controversial aspect to the recommendation is obvious, especially since the Hep C virus can linger in your body for years without you even knowing you have it and then you are instantly one of those advanced patients, or one of the 17,000 waiting for a liver transplant. Read More »

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