Pharmaceuticals

Syringe
Jill Brown / flickr.com/photos/jill_a_brown/2629206800

A Danish pharmaceutical company broke ground on its second facility in Johnston County Monday. Novo Nordisk says the $1.8 billion plant will be built next to an existing company facility and share its infrastructure.

Site Director Gary Lohr says the new plant will manufacture the company's products, instead of just packaging them.

"We've been manufacturing diabetes medicines out of Kalundborg and out of our site Denmark facilities. and this is the first time we've actually moved it outside of Denmark."

Doctor payoffs
Mike Licht / Flickr Creative Commons

Physicians earn their livings from patient care, but for many, fees are not their only source of income.

New data released under the Affordable Care Act shows how much individual doctors receive from pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Several physicians in the Triangle receive thousands of dollars.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Triangle Business Journal reporter Jason deBruyn about the fees and access to the data.

A picture of Tamiflu tablets.
Alcibiades / Wikipedia

Flu season has pharmacies scrambling to keep an antiviral drug called Tamiflu in stock.

Duke University Pharmacy Professor Richard Drew says unlike vaccines, Tamiflu works to treat and stop the spread of the disease.

“It's both a preventative and a treatment strategy,” Drew explains. “And, certainly, for those people who have a serious illness and require hospitalization, it's a very important drug.”

Sarah Lee manages the pharmacy supply chain for UNC Hospitals. She says this time each year, the demand for Tamiflu goes up exponentially.

GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline

    

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline eliminated 900 jobs yesterday.

Image of GlaxoSmithKline headquarters in west London.
Flickr/Ian Wilson

    

Pharmaceutical player GlaxoSmithKline is laying off hundreds of workers in its American facilities, and the bulk of these job cuts are in Research Triangle Park.

A picture of a stethoscope.
jasleen_kaur / Flickr/Creative Commons

Health care organizations in North Carolina are expanding an initiative to see how doctors and pharmacists cooperate to streamline patient care.

Community Care of North Carolina has already set up a program in which 3,000 GlaxoSmithKline employees see doctors who coordinate all their treatment.

But CCNC President Doctor Allen Dobson says that primary care physicians don't always know all the medications a patient is taking, especially if they're seeing other specialists for multiple conditions.

    

Reynolds American and Lorillard, two of the country’s biggest tobacco producers, announced a merger yesterday that is expected to reshape the tobacco industry. 

Assorted pharmaceuticals
creative commons

    

A recent deal between the biopharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis may mean more jobs and more attention for the Research Triangle. Plus, the $1.1 billion sale of Furiex pharmaceuticals increases possibilities for investment in the area. Meanwhile, Mooresville's Vestiq Holdings, a much smaller pharmaceutical company, is filing for bankruptcy. 

GlaxoSmithKline
www.gsk.com

Big changes and asset swaps in the pharmaceutical world are happening this week, but the Triangle should be spared of any fall-out.

One of the big moves in this chess game includes Switzerland-based Novartis agreeing to spend up to $16 billion for GlaxoSmithKline’s cancer drug business in Pennsylvania.

Federal regulators this month opened a new era in the treatment of a deadly liver virus that infects three to five times more people than HIV. Now the question is: Who will get access to the new drug for hepatitis C, and when?

The drug Sovaldi will cost $1,000 per pill. A typical course of treatment will last 12 weeks and run $84,000, plus the cost of necessary companion drugs. Some patients may need treatment for twice as long.

NC State University

North Carolina State University recently beefed up its toxicology database, which could help revolutionize pharmaceutical research.

NC State's Comparitive Toxicogenomics Database already cataloged the harmful health impacts of environmental chemicals, like arsenic. Then pharmaceutical giant Pfizer collaborated with the CTD to add unintended side effects of therapeutic drugs.

The state's nursing homes and elder care facilities are improving, according to a new study.
SalFalko / Flickr

North Carolina has reduced its rate of antipsychotic drug use in nursing homes by 23 percent over the last year-- that's the highest such improvement rate in the country.

Many nursing homes and adult care homes have been known to use antipsychotic drugs to help calm and control residents who have dementia. But overmedication can cause all sorts of problems for patients who are so drugged they can't participate in activities and who might fall because the drugs impair their coordination. Bob Konrad is a professor in health policy at UNC-Chapel Hill's School of Public Health.

Kerr Drug
Wikipedia

The largest drugstore chain in the United States is buying out North Carolina-based Kerr Drug.

The banner on the Kerr Drug website says it’s North Carolina’s only hometown pharmacy.  But after more than 60 years, Kerr Drug is losing that designation. Walgreens announced today it’s acquiring Kerr’s drugstores and its specialty pharmacy business that fills prescriptions for chronic, complex treatments like cancer.

Michael Polzin is a spokesman for Walgreens, based in Illinois.

Quintiles logo
Quintles

The Durham-based pharmaceutical company Quintiles is acquiring a Triangle research organization. 

Quintiles announced Wednesday it reached a deal with Novella Clinical in Morrisville.  Novella is an oncology and medical device research group with nearly 300 employees in the Triangle.  The companies did not release the terms of the deal. 

RTP headquarters.
Ildar Sagdejev

GlaxoSmithKline hosted a gathering today in RTP for policy, non-profit and business leaders in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Jack Bailey, a Senior Vice President at GSK, says there are well over 100,000 North Carolinians working in the Life Sciences, 5,000 of them at his company.

“So it’s a very big important industry, it’s created a lot of jobs," Bailey says. "And really what we want to do today is start a discussion on how, at this great change in health care, we can make sure both federal, state and local policy decisions get made that continue to accelerate that innovation that comes out of companies like GSK.”

GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline

Authorities in China say a number of senior executives working for GlaxoSmithKline in that country have been placed under criminal investigation for suspected bribery and tax related violations.  The British pharmaceutical company's US headquarters are in Research Triangle Park. 

In an interview broadcast on WUNC, the BBC’s John Sudworth reported that the ministry of public security said the employees offered large bribes to officials, medical associations, hospitals and doctors to boost drug sales.

Quintiles logo
Quintles

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange begins Thursday for North Carolina-based Quintiles.

The company announced late Wednesday that it is selling about 23.7 million shares of its common stock to the public at $40 a share. That would raise nearly $950 million in this initial public offering for the bio-pharmaceutical services company.

a pharmacist
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Prescription drug overdose kills an average of three people per day in North Carolina. 

Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill say a statewide system designed to reduce those numbers – North Carolina Controlled Substances Reporting System (CSRS) – is effective - but grossly underused.

CSRS went into effect in 2007, following a legislative mandate, but of the 34,000 providers authorized to prescribe controlled substances, only a third have registered with the CSRS, and fewer than half of those actually use it.

State health officials want to know if low use of a prescription drug database is leading to more deaths in North Carolina.

A majority of state pharmacists and doctors are not checking a drug registry that every pharmacy must report to. Some lawmakers say that can enable some people to abuse highly addictive drugs. Last year, more than one thousand North Carolinians died of pharmaceutical overdoses. William Bronson runs the database for the state Department of Health and Human Services. He says it may not be fair to blame pharmacists for not monitoring their patients' drugs.

GSK Recycling Inhalers

Oct 25, 2012
GSK
GSK

Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline is beginning a program to recycle spent respiratory inhalers. The company is signing up pharmacies in the Raleigh-Durham area and 30 other cities to collect the breathing aids. The company tested the program in a few of the selected cities and collected about 27-hundred inhalers. GSK's vice presider for respiratory business Jorge Bartolome says the "Complete the Cycle" program will break down the inhalers for multiple uses.

Duke University doctors say clinical trials on how drugs affect children are few and far between. Gurnal Scott reports.

Doctors looked at research conducted from 2005 to 2010 -- about 60-thousand trials. They found that adult medical trials far outnumber ones on kids under 18.

"By about 10 to one," says one of the study's writers, Alex Kemper, a pediatrics professor at Duke. "For those of us who provide care to children, we know that clinical trials are the best way to know how to treat conditions.

NC-Based PPD Sold

Oct 4, 2011

North Carolina’s clinical trials industry is seeing a major shift.  The latest example is the purchase of Wilmington-based P-P-D.

The federal government has awarded drug maker Chimerix a nearly $25 million grant to develop an anti-viral drug for smallpox.

The Durham-based company’s lead candidate is a drug called CMX001. Chimerix President and CEO Kenneth Moch says the government wants the treatment ready in case of a smallpox outbreak as the result of a bioterrorist attack.