Health care stocks started the week mixed amid a smattering of earnings, trial data and other news.
said Monday that its heart drug Brilinta worked better than
blockbuster blood-thinner Plavix in a study.
According to U.K.-based AstraZeneca, the drug was more effective at preventing serious cardiac events such as myocardial infarction, stroke and cardiovascular death than clopidogrel, or Plavix, in a stage III trial. The company said it plans to submit the drug to regulatory authorities in the fourth quarter of 2009.
AstraZeneca shares were up 5.6% to $38.15. Bristol shares were down 0.5% to $20.29, and Sanofi-Aventis slipped 1% to $29.86.
The Wall Street Journal
is reporting that the deaths of two patients in Delaware who took
blood-thinner heparin have spurred concern of a contamination akin to one in 2008. A third patient also had medical problems, according to
A representative for Baxter told the paper that the drug involved in the deaths contained bulk material supplied by
. Pfizer couldn't be reached for comment by
. In the approximately 80 deaths that were linked to tainted heparin last year, the bulk material came from China, Baxter said.
"We are not pointing fingers at Baxter," Wallace Hudson of Beebe Medical Center, which confirmed the deaths, told
. "We don't know what's going on, but heparin is the only commonality that we were able to see ourselves." The heparin is being tested, but so far no problems have been found, the report said.
Baxter shares were up 0.2% to $50.36. Pfizer shares were down 1.7% to $14.15.
Elsewhere in the sector:
has reportedly agreed to pay a
$9 million fine
in an Iraqi kickback scheme in which the company admitted it paid Saddam Hussein's government more than $1 million for contracts. Shares of the company closed down 0.2% to $48.86.
shares rose 4.4% to $9.09 after its
surpassed analysts' projections.
Johnson & Johnson
was down 1.6% to $54.11.
fell 1.7% to $35.35.