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Texas Justice and the Industry's Image

Executive Summary

With its $253 million judgment against Merck & Co. Inc. (reduced to $26.1 million under Texas law), the jury "sent a message" about what it perceived as the pharmaceutical industry's culture of greed. Ironically Merck's liability gives it a rare opportunity to right the ship. But will industry's tarnished image impede the approval and use of Merck's most important upcoming product, the HPV vaccine Gardasil?

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Why Plan B Matters

While Barr's attempt to switch the emergency contraceptive Plan B to over-the-counter status is immaterial to the company, the rest of the drug industry can't afford to ignore the controversy, which could jeopardize the renewal of crucial legislation that supports fast and predictable reviews of all new drugs. Moreover, FDA may be reopening old controversies, like whether third parties can force an OTC switch against a brand company's wishes.

The HPV Vaccine Race

GlaxoSmithKline has some catching up to do in the race for what promises to be the world's biggest dollar-volume vaccine market. The company's human papilloma virus vaccine, Cervarix, is a year behind Merck's Gardasil in clinical development. The outcome of the race is by no means a foregone conclusion, however; development strategies, and how the social-conservative card plays out--will decide the winner in the newest vaccine market.

The HPV Vaccine Race

GlaxoSmithKline has some catching up to do in the race for what promises to be the world's biggest dollar-volume vaccine market. The company's human papilloma virus vaccine, Cervarix, is a year behind Merck's Gardasil in clinical development. The outcome of the race is by no means a foregone conclusion, however; development strategies, and how the social-conservative card plays out--will decide the winner in the newest vaccine market.

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