News

Pharmaceuticals

Edward Kim | Equities.com |

Merck & Co Inc will help make rival Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine in a partnership set to be announced on Tuesday by U.S. President Joe Biden, a White House official said.

J&J’s vaccine production has been slower than promised. Under its contract, the company was supposed to deliver 12 million doses by the end of February, but had less than 4 million ready to ship when the vaccine was authorized on Saturday.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Eli Lilly and Co said on Tuesday Chief Financial Officer Josh Smiley resigned after an independent investigation found inappropriate personal communication with some Lilly employees.

Lilly said it was recently made aware of allegations of an inappropriate personal relationship between Smiley and an employee, and the company immediately hired external counsel to conduct an independent probe.

The investigation revealed consensual though inappropriate personal communications between Smiley and certain Lilly employees, and behavior that Lilly leadership thought exhibited poor judgment by Smiley, the company said.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday forecast 2021 profit above Wall Street estimates and promised data from its widely watched coronavirus vaccine trial soon, as the healthcare conglomerate races to develop a potential single-dose vaccine for COVID-19.

Separately, J&J chief financial officer told CNBC that the company was expecting data sometime next week and was optimistic that it would be robust.

Public health officials are increasingly counting on ...


Reuters | Equities.com |

U.S. drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen Corp said on Wednesday it would buy Walgreens Boots Alliance’s distribution business for $6.5 billion to expand in Europe as well as to compete better in the U.S. healthcare sector.

The deal will help Walgreens focus more on core pharmacy unit and its retail business, where sales have tanked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a nearly 30% slump in shares in 2020.

AmerisourceBergen will get access to Alliance Healthcare, one of the largest distributors in Europe that has weathered the impact of the global health crisis.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Drugmakers including Abbvie Inc and Bristol Myers Squibb raised U.S. list prices on more than 500 drugs to kick off 2021, according to an analysis by health care research firm 46brooklyn.

The hikes come as drugmakers are reeling from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reduced doctor visits and demand for some drugs. They are also fighting new drug price-cutting rules from the Trump administration, which would reduce the industry’s profitability.

They include more than 300 price increases from companies like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline reported by Reuters late last week.


AP News | Equities.com |

JD Health International Inc made one of the strongest public market debuts for a major Hong Kong initial public offering on Tuesday, with its shares closing up 56%.

The rise gives JD Health, which specializes in online medical consultation and pharmaceutical sales, a market value of more than $40 billion.

JD Health, a subsidiary of ecommerce giant JD.com, was among the platforms offering consultation for COVID-19 symptoms at the height of China’s coronavirus outbreak this year.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Canada on Saturday blocked bulk exports of prescription drugs if they would create a shortage at home, in response to outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to allow imports from Canada to lower some drug prices for Americans.

“Certain drugs intended for the Canadian market are prohibited from being distributed for consumption outside of Canada if that sale would cause or worsen a drug shortage,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement.

“Companies will now also be required to provide information to assess existing or potential shortages, when requested, and within 24 hours if there is a serious or imminent health risk,” the statement said.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Amazon.com Inc on Tuesday launched an online pharmacy for delivering prescription medications in the United States, increasing competition with drug retailers such as Walgreens, CVS Health and Walmart.

Called Amazon Pharmacy, the new store lets customers price-compare as they buy drugs on the company’s website or app. Shoppers can toggle at checkout between their co-pay and a non-insurance option, heavily discounted for members of its loyalty club Prime.

The move builds on the web retailer’s 2018 acquisition of PillPack, which Amazon said will remain separate for customers needing pre-sorted doses of multiple drugs.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc said on Monday it has begun investing in the stocks of four large drugmakers, betting on an industry that could benefit when the world begins emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.

In a regulatory filing detailing its U.S.-listed stock holdings as of Sept. 30, Berkshire disclosed $5.7 billion of new healthcare stakes, including more than $1.8 billion each in Abbvie Inc, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, Merck & Co and $136 million in Pfizer Inc.

Shares of the drugmakers rose in after-hours trading.

The filing signals where Buffett and his portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler see value. Buffett normally handles large investments for Berkshire’s $245.3 billion stock portfolio himself.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Amgen Inc on Wednesday said its third-quarter adjusted profit rose 17% due to stronger sales of drugs including the osteoporosis treatment Prolia and recently-acquired psoriasis medication Otezla.

The higher-than-expected results were partially offset by lower drug prices and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biotechnology company said that more patients had resumed interacting with their doctors in the th...