Disappointment Surrounding Alzheimer’s Treatment Has Reached Almost Mythical Heights. But Is There A ‘Cabal’ Behind All Those Failures?
For some experts it is increasingly apparent that there is another, more disturbing reason for the tragic lack of progress being made in Alzheimer's research. A group of researchers had been so determined that one approach would work, few tried anything else. In other pharmaceutical news: AbbVie announces $63 billion deal to acquire Allergan, an analysis finds drugmakers often commit to follow-up studies after approval but few of them are new; and more.
How An Alzheimer’s ‘Cabal’ Thwarted Progress Toward A Cure
The brain, Alzheimer’s researchers patiently explain, is hard — harder than the heart, harder even than cancer. While that may be true, it is increasingly apparent that there is another, more disturbing reason for the tragic lack of progress: The most influential researchers have long believed so dogmatically in one theory of Alzheimer’s that they systematically thwarted alternative approaches. Several scientists described those who controlled the Alzheimer’s agenda as “a cabal.” (Begley, 6/25)
AbbVie To Acquire Allergan For $63 Billion In Megamerger Of Pharma Giants
AbbVie said Tuesday it will acquire Allergan for $63 billion — the latest megamerger between two pharma giants seeking new ways to grow. The deal, combining two firms built by past acquisitions, represents a solution to existential problems facing both companies. Allergan has faced questions over its potential for growth, its moves to extend its patents, and its ability to develop experimental drugs. AbbVie markets the best-selling drug in the world, Humira, which has annual sales of $20 billion, but investors worry that it will not be able to maintain those revenues after patents on the drug expire. The big prize for AbbVie is Allergan’s franchise of aesthetics drugs, including Botox, which has annual sales of $3.6 billion. (Feuerstein and Herper, 6/25)
Drug Makers May Commit To Follow-Up Studies, But Few Are New
As a condition of regulatory approval, drug makers are often required to conduct follow-up studies, but sometimes they also voluntarily agree to run still other trials that can yield important information about the safety, effectiveness, and optimal use of new medicines. However, an analysis finds that few such commitments involved new studies and only half were published in peer-review journals. Specifically, of 110 drugs and biologics that were approved between 2009 and 2012, more than half — or 55.5% — had at least one post-marketing commitment. But only a minority of those post-marketing commitments involved new clinical trials — 33 of 331, or just 10% — as opposed to ongoing studies, according to the analysis that was published in BMC Medicine. (Silverman, 6/24)
Bristol’s Merger Headaches May Be Contagious
If any pharma CEO is still intoxicated by the idea of a megamerger, the rough Monday Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) is having could be an antidote. The company announced that in order to assuage the Federal Trade Commission’s concerns about its $74 billion purchase of rival Celgene (CELG), it will seek to sell Celgene’s blockbuster psoriasis treatment Otezla. (Herper, 6/24)
The Associated Press:
Walgreens To Provide Drug Disposal Packets Free To Customers
Walgreens is making it easier for customers dispose of unused drugs safely. The drugstore chain said Monday that it will offer at several thousand stores packets that customers can use to turn medications into a useless gel before throwing them in the trash at home. The DisposeRx packets will be available for free at Walgreens stores that do not already have a medication disposal kiosk except in Iowa and Nebraska, where the chain says it has other options. Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. has kiosks at 1,400 pharmacies and runs more than 9,500 drugstores in total. (6/24)