Healthcare Recap: Pfizer Market Share, WebMD Shares Slammed

Novartis (NYSE:NVS) is recalling 1,645 lots of its Excedrin, NoDoz, Bufferin and Gas-X medicines, produced from a plant that was shut down last month. The Food and Drug Administration says they could contain stray pills from other products or chipped tablets.

Merck’s (NYSE:MRK) goal says Roger Pomerantz, is to be a leader in the treatment of hepatitis C, and the company is going to pursue whatever deals to make that possible. Mr. Pomerantz is the Merck’s global head of licensing and acquisitions.

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WebMD (NASDAQ:WBMD) announces the resignation of Wayne Gattinella as CEO, President, and member of the Board of Directors and also warns its 2012 revenue may be 2% to 8% lower than 2011. The firm CFO Anthony Vuolo will serve as interim Chief Executive Officer.

Health Management Associates (NYSE:HMA) is embroiled with a lawsuit. Unsettled shares of HMA owned by a whistleblower that alleges that he was fired for reporting repeated Medicare overbilling issues, which adds to concerns over federal subpoenas the firm received earlier this year. However, Susquehanna’s A.J. Rice sees opportunity in the panic selling – telling clients an “extraordinary buying opportunity” exists.

Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) has resurfaced from the weakness caused by Life Technologies‘ (NASDAQ:LIFE) product announcement. As the day progressed the smaller rival Complete Genomics‘ (NASDAQ:GNOM) bloodletting worsened. The company announced it delivered 300 fewer genomes in the fourth quarter than previously expected. This news caused a downgrade from Oppenheimer.

Pfizer’s (NYSE:PFE) Lipitor cholesterol drug is holding onto around 37% to 38% of the overall United States market as it competes with generic versions, as some patients are encountering resistance at pharmacies wanting to fill prescriptions with a generic. CEO Ian Read says, we are “basically where we expected to be.” However, he says it would be difficult for Pfizer to hold more than its current share.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Tanya Harding at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at