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.

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.

Legal Briefing: Did Sexist Closing Argument Hurt Novartis?

Novartis Pharmaceuticals was found guilty of sex discrimination and slapped with $250 million in punitive damages. The jury may have felt the drugmaker's closing argument, which was laced with sexist stereotypes, illustrated the plaintiff's point.

Legal Briefing: BoNY Unit Charged With Knowing Silence on Madoff

New York's Attorney General has sued Bank of New York Mellon's Ivy Asset Management unit for keeping its clients' money with Ponzi-scheme operator Bernie Madoff -- even though it knew it was a scam. The investment adviser was earning big fees from Madoff.

Miserable Allergy Season Gives Drugmakers Healthy Sales

The 2010 allergy season has been a doozy so far. But while some 50 million Americans are sneezing and wheezing through this insufferable, longer than usual, season, the over-the-counter allergy medicine business is looking at a healthy sales boost.

Legal Briefing: Did Novartis Punish a Rape Victim?

Among the most startling pieces of testimony in the Novartis sex discrimination trial was an account of woman's rape by a man connected to her boss. More shocking was the company's alleged response. Even in a case the law says must be decided on dry statistics, such devastatingly emotional testimony is likely to color the verdict.

As Teva Loses Patent Suit to Pfizer, Will It Rethink Strategy?

The largest generic drugmaker and the largest pharmaceutical company fought yet another round in the six year legal battle over ulcer drug Protonix. In this round, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries lost when a jury found on Friday that the patent for Protonix is valid. Will this inspire Teva to change its generic drugs strategy?

Legal Briefing: Novartis Sex Discrimination Trial Begins

For 10 years, Working Mother magazine included Novartis on its list of the 100 best places to work, but if the 5,600 women suing the pharmaceutical giant for sex discrimination win their $200 million case, it's hard to imagine it making the list again. The trial starts today.

Inside Wall Street: A Cholesterol Drug Could Be Big

If promising early results of its cholesterol-busting drug RVX-208 get supported in larger clinical trials, it could put this young company on the map in a big way. A partnership with a major drugmaker is a very strong possibility.

Bristol-Myers Squibb's Kidney Transplant Drug Gets a Nod

An FDA advisory panel recommended approval of Bristol-Myers Squibb's belatacept, an experimental drug used in kidney transplants -- with at least one caveat. It recommended further long-term studies after a full FDA approval.

Stocks in the News: Campbell Soup, Lowe's, Smith

A round-up of news that could affect stock prices today, including Cambell's Soup quarterly profit is up 11% over last year, Lowe's quarterly profit rose 27%, and Smith International agrees to Schlumberger buyout.

Pharma 3.0: Drugmakers Adapt to Tech World

Pharmaceuticals are beginning realize that the future of health care will be wireless, consumer-centric and tech driven, and they will need to start working with IT companies, retailers, telecoms, mobile phone networks if they plan to succeed in the new world of medicine.

Amgen's New Bone Drug Passes a Crucial Test

Much of Amgen's future rests on its experimental bone drug denosumab, to be sold commercially as Prolia. The drug's had its ups and downs, but Amgen, the largest global biotech company, said on Monday that a pivotal third Phase 3 clinical trial pitting denosumab against Novartis's Zometa showed that denosumab worked better.

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.

The Gates Foundation Goes Big on Vaccines

"We must make this the decade of vaccines," declared Bill Gates on Jan. 29. He and his wife, Melinda, are putting $10 billion of their Gates Foundation funds into helping research, develop and deliver vaccines for the world's poorest countries.

Novartis Delivers Strong Earnings and a New CEO

On Tuesday, Novartis reported a remarkable 54% increase in fourth-quarter net income to $2.3 billion, helped by sales of its H1N1 swine flu vaccines. The company also announced its new chief executive Joe Jimenez, and a slimmed-down board.

Impressive Results for Two New MS Pills

There is still no cure for the chronic disease multiple sclerosis, but separate late-stage studies on two different experimental drugs show them both to be effective at slowing it down. If approved by the FDA, the pills will be the first oral treatments available for the disease.

GlaxoSmithKline's Witty: Do-Gooder or Good at PR?

He's young, charismatic, innovative and has got heart. At least that's the impression GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty gives to the outside world. GSK is allowing free access to its library of 13,500 potential malaria treatments. Is he genuinely a do-gooder or just good at PR?

Alcon's Minority Shareholders Face Double-Whammy

Novartis is finally closing the deal on its pursuit of eye-care firm Alcon. But there's a twist: The price per share it's paying for Nestle's majority stake is far better than it's giving minority shareholders. And to add insult to injury, they face negative tax implications, too.