Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Pfizer Regrets Viagra's Pharmacy Payola Scheme Violated Chinese Law

Pfizer Regrets Viagra's Pharmacy Payola Scheme Violated Chinese Law | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Pfizer  has been fined 100,000 yuan($15,570) by Shanghai's market supervision authorities for paying four drugstore chains torecommend its market-leading erectile dysfunction drug, Viagra. 

Pfizer signed two agreements with China National Medicines Corporation Ltd in 2004 toexclusively distribute and sell Viagra, according to a statement by authorities. 

Between 2011 and 2013, Pfizer had signed agreements with the four drugstore chains tohave them display the drug in Shanghai to boost sales. 

The agreements required the stores to display Viagra as a recommended product, and ensurethe product was given what the authorities called a centralized, fixed position on prescription-drugs counters, with a certain quantity of display and specific space. 

Shanghai's Pudong market supervision and management department said Pfizer paid nearly930,000 yuan for such displays which they said violated drug management rules. 

Officials said the rules prohibit drug manufacturing and operating companies and medicalbodies during the buying and selling of drugs of giving or receiving kickbacks or otherbenefits, in what it called under-the-counter deals. 

The authorities have asked Pfizer to correct the illegal behavior, and confiscated allegedincome of nearly 2.96 million yuan, as well as imposing the 100,000 yuan fine. 

Pfizer said it had accepted the administration penalty decision made by the Pudongauthorities. 

"Due to some lapses in supervision, the display agreements were not executed accurately inthese pharmacies," Pfizer said in a written reply to China Daily. 

"Once this matter was brought to the attention of Pfizer's leadership in China, we tookimmediate action to investigate the matter and cooperated fully with Chinese authorities. 

"We deeply regret that certain conduct may have violated Pfizer's policies and the laws inChina. Pfizer regularly reviews our processes and we have already incorporatedimprovements in our policies and practices related to pharmacies, to ensure that we complywith all laws that apply to our business activities in China and throughout the world," said thecompany. 

Pfizer has a dominant share of the Chinese erectile dysfunction medicine market with itspatented Viagra.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Meanwhile, in Japan hand-held fans like the ones shown here -- emblazoned with Viagra commercial messages and logos -- are popular when it gets hot. 

According to  RocketNews24, "while many applauded the creativeness of these fans, many net users wrote it off as 'gay' or 'just for fujoshi.'" According to wikipedia, fujoshi is a self-mockingly pejorative Japanese term for female fans of novels that feature romantic relationships between men.

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FDA Bans Chinese Heparin Because it was Made from Cow Intestines. Doesn't address real issue: Contaminants

FDA Bans Chinese Heparin Because it was Made from Cow Intestines. Doesn't address real issue: Contaminants | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |
The FDA has taken steps against a Chinese heparin maker it says is using potentially tainted raw supplies and which refused to let inspectors get a good look at its plants or records so that it could find out for sure.

the FDA said test results confirmed the presence of ruminant DNA in one of two samples of porcine crude heparin produced by Shunxin and obtained from one of its Chinese customers. FDA rules require heparin be manufactured only from pig intestines because when "ruminant" animals like cattle are used, there is a chance the raw material could be contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

FDA inspectors didn't get a chance to find out the extent of potential problems because the company "repeatedly" refused to let inspectors into the production area or to review records. The FDA said products from Shunxin will be barred from the U.S. until the FDA can inspect its plant and its records and determine if its manufacturing meets FDA standards.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Cow, pig, whatever! The real problem is the adulteration of the heparin with lethal contaminants used to increase profits, just like street drug dealers do. How is FDA protecting us from that these days considering Chinese companies may refuse to allow FDA inspections?

From a 2010 Pharma Marketing Blog post (see "Unsafe Drugs: Is It Counterfeiters or the Supply Chain That's the Problem?"):


"Up to 149 Americans died in 2007 and 2008 after taking heparin, a blood thinner, contaminated during the manufacturing process in China," according to the 2010 "Drug Safety and Accountability" bill recently introduced in the Senate by US Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat (find that bill here).

It wasn't the active ingredient in Heparin that caused the problem, it was a contaminant that was deliberately added to heparin batches that were processed in China from pig's intestines by the American pharmaceutical firm Scientific Protein Laboratories. The contaminant mimics the in-vitro properties of heparin, but is much cheaper than heparin, which is obtained from pig intestine. It seems that there was a shortage of pigs in China at the time, perhaps due to efforts to curtail swine flu.

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