A rough day for European pharmaceutical companies (Morning Read)

Current medical news from today, including AstraZeneca, Novartis and Genzyme face setbacks, legislators disagree about the doc fix in Washington, and FDA pushes for more women in medical device trials.

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A rough day for European pharmas. AstraZeneca, Novartis and Sanofi’s Genzyme, some of the biggest names in the Euro pharma world, all faced setbacks Tuesday. Two of AstraZeneca’s experimental drugs performed poorly in trials, a bad sign to investors near the end of the year. Novartis halted a trial of its high blood pressure drug after it increased unwanted side effects in a trial. And Genzyme’s MS pill didn’t show superiority in a comparison study with Merck’s KGaA.

Doc-fix drama. The House is set for a series of votes today on the Senate-amended payroll tax bill that would freeze Medicare reimbursement to physicians for two months. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the plan was to motion to reject the Senate bill and go to a conference, as Republicans want a two-year extension on the freeze.

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Battle of the sexes in medical device trials. Women are under-represented in new medical device trials, said the FDA as it released draft guidance on increasing the number of women in trials.

I-Corps. Twenty-one teams picked to be part of the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program gathered at Stanford University last week. Wade Roush was there and lived to tell all about it.

What would it take for you to “like” or follow a pharma company? Pfizer Inc. has the most Twitter followers, but Johnson & Johnson has more likes on Facebook. New data from Cegedim Strategic Data compares drug companies’ social media traction and activity and shows that drug companies aren’t always rewarded for their social media efforts, in terms of numbers.

Amgen-Watson partnership for generics. Amgen and Watson will tag-team an effort to make cheaper generic versions of several biologic cancer drugs (speculation is that those will include Herceptin, Rituxan and Avastin). The announcement comes just two weeks after Biogen Idec. and Samsung announced a similar agreement to produce biosimilars.