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Best of the Blogs, Biotech: How Much Money Do the Top Pharma CEOs Make?


Merck and Novartis are also in the news.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful biotech news from around the Web every Thursday.
Fierce Pharma
"This year's look at the biggest paychecks in pharma marks the end of quite a few eras in the industry. Top earner William Weldon, of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), is gone from the CEO seat, and the same goes for Mylan's (MYL) Robert Coury, Novartis' (NVS) Daniel Vasella, Amgen's (AMGN) Kevin Sharer and Pfizer's (PFE) Jeffrey Kindler." (For related content, see Pfizer, Gilead Sciences, Arena Pharmaceuticals Face Big Dates in May.)
New York Times: Motherlode
Link: The Dilemma of the Pregnant Addict
"Compare and contrast: in the Science section on Tuesday morning, Pam Belluck reports on a study showing that the rates of pregnant women addicted to opiate drugs, and the number of babies born with withdrawal, have risen dramatically over the last decade.'The study estimated that every hour a baby is born in the United States with symptoms of withdrawal from opiates - roughly 13,500 babies a year.'"

Link: Novartis Plagued By Plant Problems In Austria, Too
"Over the past few months, Novartis has struggled with a string of problems at several manufacturing plants. Notably, a facility in Nebraska suffered embarrassing gaffes involving over-the-counter meds and animal health drugs (see this and this). And the FDA sent a warning letter last November for "significant violations" at two other US plants – Broomfield, Colorado and Wilson, North Carolina. A Sandoz plant in Quebec, Canada, meanwhile, has since halted some production (see here and here)." (Also read: Regeneron Shares Jump on Strong Sales of Eye Drug.)

Wall Street Journal: Health Blog
Link: Studies Shine Light on How Vioxx Raises Heart Risks
"In 2004, Merck (MRK) pulled the popular pain medication Vioxx from the market, after a study showed it doubled the risk of heart attack or stroke. Now we know more about what caused these side effects, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. Their conclusion: In trying to relieve pain, these drugs also suppress the production of enzymes that play a key role protecting the heart." (Also read Merck's $950 Million Settlement Sheds More Light on Rogue Pharma Practices.)

Pharm Exec Blog
Link: Heady Ideas for Digital Health Marketing
"If you really want to know what's on a patient's mind, it's best to skip the small talk and go straight to the brain waves, as demonstrated by Neuro Insight CEO Pranav Yadav in the lead-off presentation yesterday at Chandler Chicco's Pioneers in Digital Health conference. 'Traditional market research about advertising is often wrong,' said Yadav, noting that his experience as an ethnographer put the fundamental tool of social science – self-reporting – into question."
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