Articles by Walter Armstrong - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Articles by Walter Armstrong

Back Page: The Incredible Shrinking Donut Hole

The number of Medicare Part D subscribers who fall into the coverage gap looks smaller than was feared. Will that fact fall into the gap inside the Beltway?
Jun 1, 2007

Medicare Part D's infamous donut hole—the gap in coverage where subscribers have to shell out full drug costs—sparked a national debate long before the first poor, frail, creaky (or so you imagine) senior citizen stumbled into it. Critics of Part D—mostly Democrats, plus advocates ranging from AARP to the Gray Panthers—argue that government price negotiations, which the legislation bans, would lead to savings that could close the gap. Part D backers—mostly Republicans and PhRMA—counter with "Don't fix it if it ain't broke," pointing to surveys showing that as many as 80 percent of the 23 million subscribers are pleased with the program after just the first year. Plus, they say, Part D's so-called consumer-driven design controls costs, which, in fact, came in lower than projected.

How Far Will Avandia Fall?

May 30, 2007

A week and a day after the nation?s leading medical journal announced that Avandia poses a much higher heart attack risk than either its maker, GlaxoSmithKline, or FDA had previously reported, the media dustup has come nowhere near peaking. Meantime, analysts are already revising?downward?the damage to GSK?s blockbuster anti-diabetes drug in the face of what appears to be a rush to switch on the part of doctors and patients.

Back Page: Christmas in July

'Tis the season to renew PDUFA, and the tree-hanging party is in full swing
May 1, 2007

The reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) comes but once every five years. Set to expire September 30—and with congressional Democrats riding high and consumer confidence in drug safety at record lows—the deal by which pharma pays FDA to review its products is in for a long hot summer of debate.

Make It New

To fix pharma's business model, nothing less than big, bold, and risky fits the bill. Two radical new visions focus on getting back to the roots of innovation—and letting a thousand flowers bloom.
Apr 1, 2007

Everyone agrees that by streamlining and downsizing, Big Pharma is taking a step in the right direction. What no one yet knows is if it's too little, too late. Or what "too little, too late" might look like. Or what else might work.

He's Just Being Frank

Cephalon's boss brought Provigil to market, runs his biotech like a Big Pharma, and mouths off at you-know-who. Now he's going global with plans to corner cancer. The really scary thing is, Baldino, 53, hasn't even peaked.
Mar 1, 2007

Big, bold, and brash, Frank Baldino has built Cephalon into one of the nation's most dynamic biotechs. The company, based in suburban Philadelphia, is 20-years-old this year, and is already marking its birthday with a flurry of honors. In January, Cephalon was inducted into the World Economic Forum's Community of Global Growth Companies—a tribute to a 44 percent increase in annual revenue (to $1.67 billion in 2006) and its new footprints in Europe and Asia.

Forecast 2007: At Sea

Jan 1, 2007

Pharma's next big challenge is simple: Rebuild its broken business model. But between expiring patents and dry pipelines, pricing wars and safety woes, a beleaguered FDA, a bloodthirsty OIG, and Dems on parade, many companies are just trying to steer clear of icebergs.

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