November 12, 2003
Things Fall Apart
Robert Mallett, Pfizer's senior vice president for corporate affairs, said that the decision to back out of the deal was "mutual" and based on "clinical drawbacks" of the drug, which is taken three times daily, compared with other drugs that are easier to administer with once-daily or twice-daily doses, the Journal reports. "While we are intrigued by the model, we concluded that this was not the right product," Mallet said, adding, "[S]o we don't want to do it. There are better drugs out there." Rescriptor is sold in the United States and some other countries, including Canada, although the drug has never been widely used, according to the Journal. Some supporters of the deal said that the decision not to pursue the program was not mutual and that dissolving the deal "hampers their efforts to make essential medicines invented in developed countries available at low cost in the developing world," according to the Journal. Concept Foundation CEO Joachim Oehler said that the drug's "limitations were known from the beginning," adding, "This is hypocrisy." Michael Friedman, a former executive at Pharmacia and president of the City of Hope cancer center which helped construct the deal, said, "We knew the conduct of this experiment would depend on the enthusiasm, support and leadership of Pfizer staff. I hoped that we had addressed their questions" (Wall Street Journal, 11/12).
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