Archive for December 2013

Big Pharma Busted: Glaxo under Fire for Corrupt Compensation Policies

When our doctor prescribes a medicine, we assume the choice comes as a result of years of training and professional practice. We trust that the chosen drug is best suited to cure what ails us. However, pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline has recently found itself accused of interfering with that trust by offering doctors unethical compensation packages for promoting specific drugs. Rather than evaluating pertinent clinical research and considering both risks and benefits, doctors involved in the scheme are tempted by large bonuses to favor some therapies over others.  Transparency with regard to drug promotion has long plagued the industry, but it.. READ MORE »

EU Bans Farm Animal Cloning and Sale of Cloned Meat

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? With global challenges of poverty and scarcity, it’s hard to imagine governments thinking twice about embracing new sources of food supply.  But that is exactly what is happening throughout the European Union (EU) this month with regard to farm animal cloning. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm in Brussels is pushing for a ban on domestic animal cloning and any importation of cloned meat. EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg describes the proposed regulation as “a ban on the technique, a ban on imports of the cloned animals themselves.. READ MORE »

The New Flu Shots: Customized Options and Flexible Delivery Systems

Plummeting temperatures and icy sidewalks herald the arrival of flu season. More than just a runny nose and bothersome congestion, the flu assails its victims with fever, nausea, dizziness and restricted breathing. In some cases, influenza patients must be hospitalized, and statistics reveal that the very young and the elderly are the most vulnerable to serious – even deadly- complications. According to Canada’s Community and Hospital Infection Control Association, last year’s flu season affected more 31,000 people across the country. Last winter, 1 out of every 500 Americans over the age of 65 was hospitalized as a result of influenza. .. READ MORE »

TB Vaccine Brings New Hope to Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Approximately 2.3 million people worldwide suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS). The disease develops when the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord are damaged by one’s own immune system. The ultimate result is paralysis, vision loss, and diminished brain function. Not only is MS physically and emotionally devastating, treatment comes with a hefty price tag.  In the US, one year of therapy rings in at around $50,000. Bringing a ray of hope to MS sufferers, clinical research has revealed that a tuberculosis vaccine may help prevent the development of MS in patients with early symptoms. It’s an exciting alternative therapy for the.. READ MORE »

Gilead Releases Breakthrough Treatment for Hepatitis C

According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, there are approximately 170 million people worldwide who suffer from hepatitis C – and 300,000 of them live in Canada.  Known as the “silent killer,” the disease often infects its victims and spreads without their knowledge. Contracted through blood-to-blood contact, hepatitis C attacks the liver and if the body is not strong enough to recover on its own, the organ can become severely damaged before treatment is sought.  In addition to fatigue, loss of appetite and jaundice, advanced cases of Hep C can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and even cancer later in life… READ MORE »

Small Start-ups Outpace Big Pharma in Cancer Drug Discovery

The Calistoga story Seattle-based Calistoga Pharmaceuticals began as a passion project. The small biotech start-up was the brain child of Roger Ulrich, a Big Pharma veteran with a 20 year track record in the industry. When Ulrich lost his job, he partnered with two colleagues to found Calistoga, despite warnings of risk and potential loss. Focused on clinical research for cancer treatment, Calistoga soon began testing a new drug for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The trial was so incredibly successful, that it was halted midway so participants in the control group could choose to switch over and begin receiving the treatment… READ MORE »

Big Pharma Drug Hunters Join Forces with Academic Researchers

GlaxoSmithKline has recently announced the winners of its first North American Discovery Fast Track competition. In a new kind of drug discovery partnership, the pharma giant offers entrants from Canada and the US an opportunity to transform their novel clinical research into medicine. Winners get the very best in pharmaceutical collaboration and expertise, including GSK’s screening platforms and access to their highly unique compound collections. If advanced chemical screening is successful, the academic investigators could be offered a collaboration with GSK’s Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) who contribute to all aspects of testing and development, including pharmaceutical quality assurance. Criteria for.. READ MORE »

Empathy, Awareness and Innovation: Big Pharma Marks World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day saw Big Pharma launch several new initiatives to raise awareness about diabetes and fund research on new treatments. Through 4 research grants, Bristol-Myers Squibb investigates the link between depression and diabetes, Abbott launches an empathy-building infographic, and several other industry giants collaborate to develop new drug therapies.

Outsourcing Pharmaceutical R&D: Risks and Rewards

Outsourcing is a popular and profitable strategy that allows large companies to contract out what they consider to be non-critical processes and services – something most of us associate with routine customer service and IT support. Pharma companies have been key players in this trend for years, outsourcing almost everything in IT, including mainframes, networks and call centres. Over the past decade, progressive organizations have even begun contracting out human resources, finance and accounting, and facilities management. Since the late 1990s, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer have taken the lead in outsourcing an increasing number of operations.  It.. READ MORE »