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Ending 2016 with Storms and Celebrations

As the year comes to a close, it is a traditional to reflect on what has gone before and to look towards the New Year. 2016 has certainly given the pharma industry much to reflect on. On the business side of the industry, a storm is about to break; the long argument over the high costs of some medicines is at crunch point. Although the results of the US election initially bolstered pharma stocks, Donald Trump brought them crashing down in early December after declaring that he will bring drug prices down (1).

Meanwhile in the UK, Pfizer is already hearing the thunder after being fined £84.2 million by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for overcharging the National Health Service (NHS) for an anti-epilepsy drug (2). A distributor, Flynn Pharma, has also been fined £5.2 million. Pfizer sold the UK distribution rights to the drug to Flynn Pharma in 2012, which then hiked up the prices by 2600 percent. The CMA claims that the companies “deliberately exploited the opportunity offered by de-branding to hike up the price” and the UK’s Department of Health is now seeking to better control high prices of generic medicines with the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill, which is currently progressing well through UK Parliament.

Medicine cost is a subject we covered in the November issue of The Medicine Maker (3) – and you can expect more insight from the author, George Chressanthis, on this topic early in 2017.

But it’s not all bad news... Looking back on articles published in The Medicine Maker, it’s clear that some phenomenal advances are taking place in the industry. Some particular highlights for me include the fantastic advances in “new biology” (4), Cell therapies, and bioprocessing (5), as well as the advent of novel technologies to improve manufacturing from apps (6) to augmented reality (7).

At The Medicine Maker, we like to end the year on a note of celebration. You’ll find our annual Innovation Awards here – and I think you’ll agree that it highlights truly ground-breaking manufacturing technologies that have been released onto the market this year alone.

It’s true that the industry will face challenges in 2017, but there will be many more success stories too. I look forward to reporting on both the good and the bad. You can also look forward to more celebration in the form of our annual Power List in April 2017 – remember that nominations for this prestigious list close on February 1, 2017 (8).

Stephanie Sutton

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  1. Bloomberg, “Trump’s Vow to Control Drug Costs Alerts Another Industry”, (2016). Available at: Accessed December 8, 2016.
  2. GOV.UK, “CMA fines Pfizer and Flynn £90 million for drug price hike to NHS”, (2016). Available at: Accessed December 8, 2016.
  3. G Chressanthis, “The Potential Pitfalls of Price Controls”, The Medicine Maker, 24 (2016). Available at:
  4. Jonathan Bones, “Know Your Process, Know Your Product”, The Medicine Maker, 20 (2016). Available at:
  5. M Thunecke and P Ceccato, “Biopharma’s Brave New Biology”, The Medicine Maker, 15 (2016). Available at: http://
  6. G Mashini, “Pharma Manufacturing?There’s an App for That”, The Medicine Maker, 20 (2016). Available at:
  7. A Stracquatanio, “Harnessing Augmented Reality”, The Medicine Maker, 24 (2016). Available at:
  8. S Sutton, “The Power List 2017”, The Medicine Maker, 21 (2016). Available at:
About the Author
Stephanie Vine

Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ expertise is presented as a seamless and enjoyable reading experience, whether in print, in digital or on social media. I’ve spent fourteen years writing and editing features for scientific and manufacturing publications, and in making this content engaging and accessible without sacrificing its scientific integrity. There is nothing better than a magazine with great content that feels great to read.

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