Drugmaker hit hard by patent battles, Japanese imports, German safety!

The world’s largest drugmaker, Pfizer, is hitting tough times – and they’re looking for help from the federal government!

At issue: Pfizer’s Zytiga — a well-known prostate cancer drug in its patent wars with Johnson & Johnson. The issue is that the European Union used a loophole to bend drug patents so Pfizer was unable to limit the number of combinations of Zytiga for the treatment of prostate cancer. As a result, some 20 men were denied access to the drug in Europe.

Now the German government says Pfizer should be forced to carry out a vaccine “prescription.” Right now, Germany imports the drug from the U.S. The drug is not in short supply there, nor does it cost much. The only restriction here is that it’s for one year.

Pfizer isn’t happy about this. Here’s what it says about the German demands on the company:

“For a private company to restrict the sale of medications to its patients, it needs the consent of the German medical society, ABM (Association of German Medical Practitioners). We believe that this is unjustified.”

However, EU pharmaceutical regulators refused to back down. The agency made clear that the Germans would need to get approval from Pfizer before being able to import the drug.

This is just the latest setback for Pfizer. As more customers tire of the drug, sales are expected to decline. The company says that U.S. sales of Zytiga were roughly $1.4 billion in 2017. And in 2016, its sales were $2.9 billion.

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