Viagra goes generic: then what?

Jim Edwards asks a question that many Big Pharma watchers are asking, too: “What will happen when Viagra goes generic?”  The BNET pharmaceutical writer and former managing editor of Adweek offers this best guess in an AccessRx column:

“When the drug giant Pfizer loses its patent protection for its erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, any drug company will be able to make and sell a cheap generic version of the blockbuster drug. Doctors and lawyers believe that the expiration of Pfizer’s monopoly on the drug will be good news for patients, as it will force competition between Pfizer’s Viagra and the new generic versions, dramatically driving down the price not only of Viagra but also of Eli Lilly’s Cialis and Bayer’s Levitra.

“However, increased options and cheaper prices for patients will lead to some confusion in the marketplace as Pfizer defends the reputation of its original brand and pharmacies become flooded with copycat pills, many of which may be made in China Continue reading

Do you want to take medications made in China?

Let’s say you are a heart attack survivor like me, who must now take a fistful of cardiac drugs every day.  And let’s say one of them is Crestor, a drug manufactured by the U.K – Sweden based pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca. But today you learn that AstraZeneca plans to move all drug production of its “active pharmaceutical ingredients” from the U.K. to China.

Next, you find out that the world’s biggest drug company, Pfizer – manufacturer of both Norvasc (your calcium channel blocker drug) and Accuretic (your ACE inhibitor) – is doing the same thing.

Pfizer plans to close its Connecticut plant and expand operations in Wuhan, China, where hundreds of new jobs will be added.  Pfizer is also expanding in Shanghai.

The list gets longer. The drugmaker Novartis (creator of many ‘over the counter’ drugs like Maalox, ExLax, Buckley’s, Bufferin, as well as generic prescription drugs like amoxicillin and fentanyl) has just announced a $1 billion investment that will create China’s largest pharmaceutical plant. Eli Lilly (makers of many diabetes drugs, plus Cymbalta, Prozac, Cialis) has just axed 5,500 North American jobs, and is adding 2,000 jobs at its China plants. Contract drug sales rep firms are ramping up in China to serve these companies.

Outsourcing to China is part of a disturbing Big Pharma trend. Drug companies with massive Western operations are shutting them down and moving them to China to reduce costs. The question you should be asking now is: “How will our government regulators monitor drug safety if all the factories are in China?” Continue reading