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MSD cleared by PMCPA

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Merck Sharp Dohme has been found not guilty of breaching two clauses in the ABPI Code of Practice - including the most serious one, which involves bringing pharma itself into disrepute.

An anonymous complainant had said that the company’s retrospective rebate scheme to hospitals and clinics for its oral contraceptive Cerazette amounted to an inducement to prescribe - thus breaching clause 18.1 of the Code, which deals with gifts or benefits given to doctors.

MSD takes Januvia rap

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Merck Sharp & Dohme has been censured by the PMCPA for failing to uphold standards in the way it promoted its type 2 diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin).

The manufacturer made multiple infringements of the ABPI Code of Practice by comparing it to Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly’s own diabetes brand Trajenta (linagliptin).

Comparisons are allowed - but the PMCPA panel upheld Boehringer and Lilly’s complaint that the way MSD did it in a leave piece would give people the impression that Januvia was more effective than it is.

Aspen buys Merck facility and products in $1 billion deal

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Africa's largest drugmaker Aspen Pharmacare has agreed to buy a manufacturing facility owned by Merck & Co, plus a portfolio of pharmaceutical products, in a deal valued at around $1 billion.

The deal is the latest in a series of transactions at Aspen as it tries to elevate itself from a regional to a global player in the pharma market, and had been announced in principle earlier this year.

Merck to close Irish manufacturing unit

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Merck & Co has said that a manufacturing unit in Rathdrum, Ireland will close by the end of 2015 with the loss of 280 jobs.

Rathdrum is the latest facility to be targeted by Merck (known as MSD in Europe) as it rationalises manufacturing in the wake of its $41 billion takeover of Schering-Plough in 2009, and employs around 12% of the firm's total workforce in Ireland, according to a report in the Irish Times.

Two hepatitis C drugs win Prix Galien

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MSD's Victrelis was joint winner with Janssen's Incivo

Two new hepatitis C drugs have been given the 2012 UK Prix Galien innovative product award as joint winners in a ceremony at the House of Commons.

Janssen-Cilag’s Incivo (telaprevir) and MSD’s Victrelis (boceprevir) are each used to treat chronic forms of the disease and were picked from a shortlist of a dozen medicines.

NICE chairman Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, who chaired the judges, said both were a perfect example of how the pharma industry can “demonstrate and justify its place in healthcare by innovating for change and showing real gains to the world”.

MSD joins forces with PatientsLikeMe for psoriasis

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PatientsLikeMe portal

MSD has teamed up with the online patient community site ‘PatientsLikeMe’ to gauge the impact of psoriasis on patients, whilst also looking to improve outcomes.

Under the agreement, PatientsLikeMe will work directly with Merck’s clinical researchers and epidemiologists to analyse psoriasis patient-reported data.

The site has an active community of psoriasis patients, where nearly 2,000 people share data and stories to reveal what it’s like to have the disease and what they do to treat it. Health profiles, forum postings and journal entries highlight their experiences.

UK drug pricing: ABPI wants evolution, not revolution

Published on 14/06/12 at 03:04pm
Deepak Khanna
Deepak Khanna - ABPI president


As the ABPI prepares to negotiate a new pricing scheme for the first time in 50 years, its new president tells InPharm that he wants to see evolution from the old system, not a revolution from the new.

Deepak Khanna, currently managing director of MSD in the UK, became the new ABPI president in April and has walked in at a crucial time for the industry in the UK.

He says the ABPI’s three main aims are: membership engagement; partnering with the NHS; and being at the table for the new drug pricing negotiations.

Two new hep C pills recommended by NICE

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MSD's Victrelis

NICE has given its final recommendation for two new hepatitis C pills in an expedited review. 

Janssen’s Incivo (telaprevir) and MSD’s Victrelis (boceprevir), in combination with Roche’s injectable treatments Copegus and Pegasys, have both been recommended as options for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C in adults with compensated liver disease.

The drugs have bypassed the preliminary NICE stages and have been recommended months ahead of NICE’s normal schedule. 

Januvia gains renal impairment licence in UK

Merck’s Januvia has had its licence extended in the UK for patients with moderate to severe renal impairment.

The drug is already one of the biggest selling diabetes pills in the world, achieving global sales of $3.3 billion last year.

Januvia (sitagliptin) is the leader in the DPP-4 inhibitor class, a new generation of oral diabetes treatments.

Merck appoints new chief ethics and compliance officer

Published on: 30/03/12

Merck has announced the appointment of Michael Holston as chief ethics and compliance officer.

Holston is to succeed Richard Bowles, who is retiring from the company after more than 35 years with Merck and the former Schering-Plough. In his new role, Holston, 49, will report directly to Kenneth Frazier, Merck’s chairman and chief executive officer, and will serve on the company’s executive committee.

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