Company news: ComScore, Pfizer, J&J

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A recent report by ComScore shows that HCP-centric websites, like MedScape, reach 81% of polled physicians, compared to other health sites, such as those offered by an association or a pharmaceutical company. ComScore also came up with this factoid: a yearlong study of how high-prescribing doctors surf the web showed a "strong correlation“ between share of visits to Medscape properties among high-prescribing physicians and the number of pharmaceutical ad impressions to which they were exposed.” The company cautioned readers that it can't definitively link the ads to prescription rates, but wrote it “indicates the possibility of online ad exposure driving prescription activity.”

Pfizer's focus on primary care physicians is changing: the company is laying off sales staff, many of which are projected to be among those who usually court United States PCPs, reported Pharmalot Friday. Pfizer wasn't able to move past the traditional opaque responses to MM&M's queries, but did not deny Pharmalot's account, which included that employees will know December 20 whether they will soon be eligible for unemployment benefits.

William Weldon and Johnson & Johnson are officially separating. The former CEO and current chair of the pharma giant is backing away from the board as of the end of this year, reported the New York Times. Alex Gorsky, who took over as CEO in April, will be chairman and CEO as 2012 becomes 2013. The Times reported that Weldon will retire during the first quarter of the new year, after which he will be eligible for $95.1 million in deferred and long-term compensation, in addition to $48 million in pension payments. Weldon's 41 years at J&J have been marked by recalls in recent years of J&J consumer products, hip implants and contact lenses. When Weldon's CEO exit was announced in February, Michael Santoro, a Rutgers professor of business ethics, told MM&M that Weldon's  “legacy will be marred by the fact that he presided with little apparent sense of the urgency over an extraordinary decline in the J&J brand.”

Teva Pharmaceuticals shared its expectations for 2013 Friday and the news was that investors should reframe their opinions and look for a lower success threshold. The company said it expects 2013 net sales to be between $19.5 billion and $20.5 billion, with the US accounting for between $10 billion and $10.6 billion and generics netting around $10.3 billion to $10.7 billion worldwide. The company also projected Copaxone sales, which Credit Suisse analyst Michael Faerm wrote Monday accounts for about 41% of Teva's operating profit, will run just shy of $4 billion, while other branded products will likely have sales in the millions. Faerm wrote in his December 3 research note that the guidance was “well below consensus and our expectations,” but welcome because the company has established “a new makeable bar,” and  “has shown increased transparency in its guidance.” The company's 2013 plans also include finding efficiencies among its recent acquisitions, which will provide savings across categories, including cost of goods, SG&A and R&D.
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