World Drug Sales to Hit $880 Billion in 2011

Global pharmaceutical sales are expected to grow by 5% to 7% in 2011 to around $880 billion, thanks to robust growth in emerging markets, especially China, as well as new innovative treatments, and despite patent expirations and budget pressures in the developed world.

Pharmas Probed Over Foreign Bribery Allegations

Federal investigators are looking into allegations that major drug companies, including Merck, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline, paid bribes overseas to boost sales and accelerate approvals.

Legal Briefing: More Cases Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Foreign subsidiaries of two American tobacco companies pled guilty to charges of bribing foreign countries. Units of Alliance One Int'l, a N.C.-based global tobacco leaf company, admitted bribing Thai and Kyrgyz officials and will pay $9.25 million in fines and disgorge $10 million in profits.

AstraZeneca Earnings Rise 9% on Strong Sales

AstraZeneca's core earnings per share rose 9% in the second quarter, helped by a strong performance in emerging markets. While the British pharmaceutical warned the rest of the year will be "challenging," it also raised its 2010 earnings forecast for the third time this year.

Face-Off: Energizer, P&G, Spectrum Brands

Hot summer weather got us thinking about short summer haircuts, which is as good a way as any to take a closer look at some consumer staples stocks. Save for utilities, no other sector has held up as well in a down market.

AstraZeneca Stock Jumps After Court Ruling on Crestor

AstraZeneca shares surged by almost 9% Tuesday after the company scored a win in court regarding the patent for its cholesterol treatment, Crestor. The ruling means that AstraZeneca won't have to worry about generic competition for its multibillion-dollar statin until 2016.

Merck Gets FDA Nod for Asthma Drug

Merck (MRK) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its respiratory drug Dulera for Asthma patients 12 years of age and older. Dulera is a new two-in-one, fixed-dose combination, which was developed by Schering-Plough and then inherited by Merck when it acquired its smaller rival last year.

Pharmaceutical Sales Reps: An Endangered Species?

Pharmaceutical sales representatives have been battered during the recession -- thousands were laid off by drugmakers hunting for ways to trim their budgets. But even if the economy recovers with a vengeance, don't expect pharmaceutical firms to go on a hiring binge.

Blood Pressure Drugs Linked to Higher Cancer Rate

Angiotensin-receptor blockers, a common class of blood pressure medications, have been linked to an increased risk of cancer in a recent study. These widely used drugs include medicines such as Boehringer's Micardis, Merck's Cozaar and Hyzaar, and Novartis's Diovan.

Biz Brief: Micromet Stock Rises on Cancer Drug Trial Results

Micromet shares traded some 3.3% higher on Monday after the small-cap biotech announced that its candidate drug blinatumomab led to remission in almost four-fifths of leukemia patients in a Phase II trial. It also said that a Phase I trial showed the drug induced durable remission in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Cholesterol Drug Gets Wider OK by E.U., but Concerns Remain

When AstraZeneca announced Tuesday that Crestor had won European Union approval for patients who are at high risk for hear attacks and stroke, but have normal cholesterol levels, some in the medical community no doubt cringed. Questions remain about the drug's risks, and its effectiveness.

Stocks in the News: UnitedHealth, Wellpoint

Health care companies will be in focus Monday as a sweeping health care overhaul bill clears the House, ending months of heated debate. As the bill heads to President Obama for his signature, one expert expects cheap health care stocks to outperform in the coming months.

Three Cancer Drugs Fail in Trials for Pfizer and Roche

We're not even halfway through March, and it seems the month has already been marked with an abundance of failed drug studies. The most recent: Three potential cancer drugs -- two from Pfizer and one from Roche -- didn't pan out in late stage clinical trials.

AstraZeneca Shares Drop on Failed Drug Trial

On Monday, AstraZeneca said that its experimental drug Recentin failed to show it was better than Roche's Avastin as a treatment for colon cancer in a late-stage, head-to-head trial. But it wasn't worse, either: There was "no statistically significant difference" between the results for the two drugs.

Stocks in the News: AIG, MET, HPQ, MCD

Shares of AIG are on the move Monday after the insurer agreed to sell its Alico unit to MetLife for $15.5 billion. The deal is AIG's second major asset sale this month as it attempts to whittle down its bailout tab. Click inside to see what other news is influencing Wall Street today.

Wider Approval for Crestor Brings Out Cynics

Earlier this week, AstraZeneca's widely used cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in people with normal cholesterol to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The approval could lead to a much bigger market for Crestor, but has also led to a number of critics questioning the decision.

What's Really Going On With Jobs?

Entering February, a mixed picture on employment has developed: Job cuts in January reached their highest total since August, but still represent a 70% reduction from the same time a year ago, when they peaked at 241,749. What's going on?

Marketing Fines: A Cost of Business for Pharma?

The FDA has nearly doubled the warning letters it's sent to drugmakers for questionable promotion in the past year. But some critics say the fines don't go far enough, and that Big Pharma merely views the penalties as the price of doing business.

Big Pharma Is Still Cutting Jobs, at Least in the West

First it was restructurings to adjust to fewer patented blockbusters. Then it was the recession. Now it's just more of the same as SmithKlineGlaxo and AstraZeneca add to the unemployment rolls. In the West, that is. Hiring is strong in emerging markets.