Articles by Sarah Houlton - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Articles by Sarah Houlton

Oxfam Takes Pharma Patents to Task

Jun 1, 2002

International trade rules play a large role in creating world poverty, according to Oxfam, an international confederation of organizations committed to end poverty. In a recent report, "Rigged Rules and Double Standards," the group accuses rich nations of robbing poor nations of $100 billion a year by abusing trade rules. It also criticizes pharma for enforcing its patents in poor countries.

Contraceptives Under Fire

Jun 1, 2002

For companies producing contraceptives, April brought good news and bad news. The good news for Schering AG is that the UK anti-abortion group, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, lost its latest legal battle to stop over-the-counter sales of the company's "morning after" pill. SPUC claims that Schering's Levonelle (levonorgestrel) is not a contraceptive but an abortifacient and, therefore, should not be taken without the written consent of two doctors. Levonelle has been available in the United Kingdom without a prescription since December 2000.

A Tall Order

The European Commission wants to expedite new medicine approvals and encourage R&D.
Jun 1, 2002

The past few years have seen a steady increase in new medicines being discovered and developed in the United States and a decrease in those from Europe, where it takes much longer for new medicines to become available to patients. In some cases, it takes medicines three or four years from their approval date to reach the market in all European Union member states. So, in March 2001, the European Commission appointed a high-level group to address those issues on a Europe-wide basis, involving all the different member states and stakeholders.

Bogus Medicine in Nigeria

May 1, 2002

A flood of counterfeit medications into the Nigerian market is causing great concern among the nation's regulatory authorities, according to a British Medical Journal report. Many fakes may contain a small amount of the active ingredient but not enough to make them therapeutically useful. Under-strength antibiotics represent a significant public health problem, as the inadvertent administration of them can lead to bacterial resistance.

The Shame Game

EMEA threatens crackdown on pharma companies that fail to report adverse product side effects.
May 1, 2002

The European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) has promised to get tough with pharma companies if they fail to follow its rules for reporting product side effects. It may resort to naming and shaming those that do not comply and could even prosecute offenders.

Lloyds Pushes Patent Insurance

May 1, 2002

Kiln, a Lloyds of London underwriter, has come up with a novel way for pharma companies to mitigate the risk of patent challenges: insurance. Kiln created a policy for a big pharma company covering a number of patents and trademarks the company considers essential for its future profitability.

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