PharmExec Blog

Life Science Sector’s Scottish Independence Concerns

As the ‘Yes-to-Scottish-independence’ vote gathers strength in the run-up to this week’s historic referendum, some the UK’s big business players last week warned of adverse consequences if Scotland breaks away from the United Kingdom.

Most controversially, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) declared that a vote for independence would see it forced to relocate its headquarters from Scotland, where it has been based since 1727, to London. (RBS is 81 per cent-owned by the British government). The Lloyds Banking Group and savings and investment firm Standard Life issued similar warnings.

Major retailers John Lewis, Asda and Marks & Spencer also said last week that they would have to push up prices in Scotland if the country chooses to break away from the UK market.

Understandably, announcements from of these high-profile, public-facing firms have dominated the recent debate on a business level, but the UK’s life sciences sector has also expressed concern. Read More »

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EFPIA Efforts to Block Stolen Drugs in European Supply Chain

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations’ new medicines verification system will put an end to the re-sale of stolen and counterfeit drugs in the European supply chain, the organisation claims.

The European Stakeholder Model (ESM) reportedly offers a cost-effective technological solution using anti-tampering device together with 2D barcoding to verify the authenticity of medicinal products.

Because of loopholes in traceability systems across EU jurisdictions,  stolen medicines are re-entering the legal trade in EU countries through fictitious or corrupt brokers. With EFPIA’s verification system, serial numbers corresponding to each packaging will be recorded in the system; in case of repackaging, a link between the originators’ serial numbers and the traders’ serial numbers at batch level will be secured in the system. This link, reports EFPIA,  will prevent any re-introduction of stolen medicines on any EU markets.

Last week AIFA, the Italian Medicines Agency, reported that between 2006 and 2013 one in ten Italian hospitals registered thefts of pharmaceuticals.


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Sunny Outlook for Outsourcing

Early-stage and mid-size bio/pharmaceutical companies have enjoyed an embarrassment of riches over the past 18 months. The window for initial public offerings (IPOs) re-opened, at least for a while. Global bio/pharmaceutical companies continued their frenzied pace of partnering and acquisition activity, and venture capital spiked up as the prospects improved for rich exits.

The results of the 2014 edition of the PharmSource/Pharmaceutical Technology Outsourcing Survey show that strong growth is continuing. See Jim Miller’s Pharmaceutical Technology article here.

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Healthcare Reform in China: A Doubled-Edge Sword for Foreign Firms?

The Chinese market is attractive to foreign investors for many reasons. It is the world’s third largest market for pharmaceuticals with annual sale of US$71 billion.  In fact, it is poised to become the second largest market in 2015 given that its annual growth rate of sales is between 15 and 20%, according to Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow of global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Given these encouraging facts, Big Pharma companies such as Bayer Healthcare and Nova Nordisk consider the Chinese market as one of the top three markets in terms of total revenue contribution. Baxter International has also made the move to relocate its Asia Pacific headquarters to Shanghai. 

But the country’s healthcare reforms may be a double-edged sword for foreign companies, writes Jan Wan in this Biopharm International article.

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Medical Affairs: From Info Gatekeeper to Value Driver

The role of medical affairs is taking on greater importance, as relationships between life sciences companies and external stakeholders become more complicated. Medical affairs is required to communicate more often with medical practitioners, scientific researchers, patients, patient advocates, and government authorities, and to provide these groups with more complex and more comprehensive information.

Unfortunately, many life sciences companies still think the goal of medical affairs should be to limit and control the content that the company gives to external stakeholders. Enterprises often create “silos” within their organizations, where medical affairs, sales and marketing people, and clinical researchers don’t share critical data. When this happens, medical affairs doesn’t get the information it needs to develop productive external relationships. Read More »

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