PHARMACY

Pfizer braces for the future, despite stellar sales in 2009

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Pfizer had some impressive results in the earnings report it released Wednesday, but the company is bracing for tough times.

The world’s largest drug maker had $50 billion in sales in 2009, compared with $48.3 billion in 2008, along with profits of $8.6 billion, compared with 2008’s $8.1 billion. The results come in the wake of the company’s acquisition of Wyeth, which helped boost its pipeline and boost its range of products.

Still, the company plans big cuts in research and development. Pfizer and Wyeth spent a combined $11 billion on R&D in 2008, according to published reports, but Pfizer said it would reduce that to between $8 billion and $8.5 billion by 2012.

And Pfizer isn’t alone. According to published reports, AstraZeneca will lay off 3,000 R&D employees by 2013, while GlaxoSmithKline will cut costs by around $394 million.

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PHARMACY

WellCare Today tackles medication adherence with HealthAssist

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. A company that develops applications for smartphones has launched a new one that it hopes will help tackle a problem that costs the country billions of dollars a year.

WellCare Today announced Tuesday the launch of HealthAssist, an application for medication adherence and health management available for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. The application is available for free from Apple’s app store.

The program includes features such as a scheduled text reminder for each medication a user takes, refill alerts, news alerts and a storage system for electronic medical records.

Medication non-adherence costs the U.S. economy $100 billion and claims 125,000 a year, and according to the New England Healthcare Institute, one-third to half of all patients don’t take their medications properly.

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King Pharmaceuticals launches PainBalance

BY Alaric DeArment

BRISTOL, Tenn. A drug maker has launched a Web-based educational resource for healthcare professionals and others who provide care for patients with pain.

King Pharmaceuticals announced Wednesday the launch of PainBalance, which provides information, tools and other resources, centered around a Web site, www.painbalance.com.

Around 50 million Americans live with chronic pain, and uncontrolled pain costs an estimated $100 billion in the United States each year.

“Patients with chronic pain often needlessly suffer because they are not getting appropriate treatment,” said Lynn Webster, co-founder and medical director of Salt Lake City-based Lifetree Clinical Research. “It is time to change that by helping healthcare professionals better understand the proper pain management that can allow more patients to enjoy quality, pain-free lives.”

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