The last 12 months may have not seen record level M&A like 2015 or show stopping biotech IPOs, but that doesn't mean there weren't big headlines. From the never ending story of drug pricing and company restructuring to Donald Trump and Brexit, 2016 will be known both in and out of the pharma industry as a year of immense change. Here are a few of the biggest stories from a year that was rife with political and economic upheaval:
What a Trump win means for pharma
Donald Trump's unexpected victory on Nov. 9 doused the U.S. economy with uncertainty. Drug companies arguably faired the best amongst the chaos, with many seeing spikes in stock prices. The question remains, however, what the President-elect's administration has in store for the pharmaceutical industry.
Sanofi to cut US diabetes staff
A new business model prompted Sanofi to axe a fifth of its U.S. diabetes and cardiovascular business staff in early December. The decision was largely a result of an increasingly competitive insulin market, which Sanofi previously dominate due to its former blockbuster Lantus.
How Mylan ended up with an EpiPen monopoly
Mylan became infamous for its EpiPen price hikes, but fewer know how it developed the monopoly that precluded them. The downfall of main competitor Auvi-Q, a strong brand image and the lifesaving nature of its product allowed Mylan to control more than 85% of the epinephrine injector market.
Why certain drugs don't make the formulary
Tucked into the ongoing controversy that is drug pricing are pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), who function as a middle man between pharmaceutical developers and consumers. There are many nuances and a lack of transparency, however, surrounding negotiating tactics that make PBMs such as CVS Health, Express Scripts and UnitedHealth so powerful.
Novartis splits drugs unit, pharma chief to depart
In an effort to further bolster its leading position in immuno-oncology, Novartis broke out its oncolgoy unit from the rest of the pharmaceutical division. While largely a cosmetic move, David Epstein, the veteran head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, chose to leave the company.
Brexit vote creates new uncertainty for UK, EU pharma industry
If there was one event that rivaled the effect Trump's win had on global economies, it was the U.K.'s decision this summer to leave the European Union. Industry experts lamented that the Brexit held "immediate challenges," for the pharmaceutical industry, including unprecedented regulatory challenges and maintaining ties with the European Union's 500 million patients.
Crestor tumbles off patent cliff as first generic copy approved in US
Watson Pharmaceutical's drug copying AstraZeneca's Crestor became part of a group of generic statins to make it to the U.S. market after the Food and Drug Administration approved it in late April. While the approval was sure to hurt AstraZeneca's bottom line, the company has held strong against generic competition in the past, and has worked to beef up its offerings in other disease areas to compensate.
Merck trims research jobs at three sites, shifts drug discovery focus
Like many drugmakers this year, Merck moved to streamline its R&D efforts. In July, the company announced 360 jobs at labs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey would be affected by the restructuring. Jobs that were impacted included discovery, pre-clinical and early drug development.
Novartis explains why it canned the cell therapy unit
Investors took a double-take in August when Novartis revealed it would bring its Cell & Gene Therapies unit back into the fold of its larger pharmaceutical division. The company claims that it can put greater resources behind the drugs in the division that way, but speculation abounds that Novartis is backing out of its CAR-T program.
Former FDA official, 3 others charged in insider trading probe
Gordon Johnston, a former FDA official, was charged in June for insider trading that netted $32 million for one hedge fund manager at Visium Asset Management. Four people were slapped with charges related to the shady dealings.