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7/31 Watson is Watching
CVS And IBM's Watson Cloud Pursue Ways To Predict Patient Health .... CVS said IBM's Watson Health technology can work to predict a patient's declining health so doctors, pharmacists and other providers can use that information to be more proactive .... Forbes

7/31 "Data Exclusivity" for Biologics a Major Issue in Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations
Patent Protection for Drugs Puts Pressure on U.S. in Trade Talks .... United States law protects data collected during the development of biologic medicines for 12 years.... Negotiators for the United States say they are obligated to defend American law, even though President Obama has been pushing to shorten the patent protection to seven years .... NY Times

7/31 Patients Happy with Afrezza, But Sales Lag
Sales of MannKind's inhaled insulin continue slow start .... Sanofi, the French pharmaceutical company that's selling Afrezza in a partnership agreement with MannKind, said it sold just $2.2 million of the drug in the quarter that ended June 30. That means that in its first five months, sales have reached just $3.3 million .... LA Times

7/31 No One Has a Good Patient Census, But Everyone Agrees MS Market Growing Quickly
How many multiple sclerosis patients are in the U.S.? No one knows. .... Estimates of the total size of the market in coming years range from $18 billion to $21 billion a year worldwide. The vast majority of that revenue is expected to come from the U.S., where prices are four to five times higher than in Europe .... Boston Business Journal

7/31 Drug Names Too Similar
Brilinta? Brintellix? FDA warns of drug name mix-ups .... The agency says it has received 50 reports of medication errors, including cases where doctors prescribed the wrong drug or pharmacies dispensed the wrong one .... AP/Yahoo

7/31 If you hear "the role of compliance is not to interfere with the business-related needs of the company," you'd better watch out
Former Teva Employee Blames Firing on Helping Feds With Bribery Probe .... Keisha Hall, a one-time Teva certified fraud examiner and director of finance for Latin America, claims she was eventually fired for disagreeing with supervisors and helping U.S. officials with their investigation .... Pharmalot

7/31 AstraZeneca 2Q Results
AstraZeneca Earnings Beat Estimates as New Drugs Take Hold .... Revenue from Brilinta was $144 million for the quarter, up 23 percent, while Bydureon, a diabetes medicine, recorded $140 million in sales, a 25 percent increase. Some older drugs did better than analysts expected, with cholesterol drug Crestor raking in $1.31 billion versus the average analyst prediction for $1.28 billion .... Bloomberg

7/31 "Discount Program" Called Rip-Off
CVS Health Accused in Suit of Overcharging for Generic Drugs .... CVS Health Corp. was accused in a lawsuit by pharmacy customers of intentionally overcharging for generic prescription drugs by submitting claims for payment to third parties at inflated prices .... Bloomberg

7/31 GLP-1 Receptor Agonists REMS Updated
FDA Modifies REMS for Tanzeum, Trulicity .... The modifications will be reflected in the REMS document and the following REMS appended materials: REMS Letter for Healthcare Providers, REMS Letter for Professional Societies, REMS Factsheet, and the REMS Webpage .... MPR

7/31 Deep Dive into Drug Price Trends
"Sharp" Rise in Rx Spending In 2014 Makes Headlines; Will "Subside Somewhat" In 2015 .... The overall trend is clear: with an 82% generic dispensing rate in 2014, CMS notes that there is very little room left for generic penetration to continue to moderate growth in brand spending. .... RPM Report/First Take

7/31 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Obese patients face long odds against returning to a healthy weight
Reuters
CareFirst doubles cost savings by sharing rewards with U.S. doctors
Reuters
Synergy Hits Mark on Second Trial, Eyes Approval For Constipation Drug
xconomy
HIV flushed out by cancer drug
BBC
Prostate cancer can be categorized into five different types
Medical News Today


7/30 The Top Drug Launches Of All Time


Click on image or here for full story
.... The top drug launches of all time, compiled by pharma analysts at investment bank Evercore ISI and ranked by peak sales .... Forbes/Matthew Herper

7/30 90% of US Adults Exceed Sodium Intake Guidelines; Many Will be Rewarded with Hypertension
High sodium diet may predict high blood pressure to come .... At the start of the study, the participants were consuming an average of 4,200 milligrams of dietary sodium per day. Those who would go on to have high blood pressure were eating an average of 4,500 milligrams per day .... Reuters

7/30 Big PBM Starts Anti-PCSK9 Campaign
Express Scripts says costly new cholesterol drugs could 'wreak havoc' .... Glen Stettin, a senior Express Scripts executive, said an estimated 70 million Americans have high cholesterol but that fewer than 10 percent of them should qualify for Praluent .... Reuters

7/30 Coming Back After a Career-Destroying Tragedy
Doctor Whose Drug Killed Teen Returns as Gene Tech Booms Again .... Wilson said the technology is substantially better than it was 16 years ago and he is certain that safe, successful treatments will be found .... Bloomberg

7/30 LixiLan Combines Lantus and Lyxumia; Combo Beats Either Alone
Sanofi's LixiLan for Diabetes Meets Goal in Late-Stage Trial .... In a trial among 1,170 diabetes patients, LixiLan reduced blood glucose more than Lantus or Lyxumia on its own over three months .... Bloomberg

7/30 His Practice Failing, Doc Partners with Pagans to Deal Opioids
The Motorcycle Gang Behind Philly's Biggest Pill Mill .... How a Philadelphia doctor and a notoriously violent motorcycle gang joined forces to sell mass quantities of prescription pills. .... Daily Beast

7/30 Estimated 7% of All US Adults Have Depression; USPSTF Wants to Find Them All
Should all adults be screened for depression? USPSTF thinks so. .... The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a draft recommendation that primary care providers (PCPs) screen all adults for depression at standard clinic visits, whether or not a PCP is able to provide care or support for the condition. .... Advisory Board

7/30 GSK 2Q Report
Glaxo Earnings Beat Estimates on AIDS Drugs, Cost Reductions .... The company reported second-quarter earnings that declined less than analysts had estimated as AIDS medicines and efforts to reduce costs offset slumping revenue from Advair, its best-selling asthma drug .... Bloomberg
See also: Advair revenue down again, but GSK looks to next-gen for replacement revenue  Triangle Business Journal
See also: Glaxo Aims for Next Wave of Cancer Drugs After Missing First  Bloomberg

7/30 Neulasta Goes on TV with New Injector Technology
Last blast? New Amgen TV ad spotlights Neulasta delivery just months before patent expiration .... The new delivery method--in which patients wear Neulasta's On-Body Injector to deliver the drug the day after chemotherapy, negating a repeat visit and ensuring correct timing--is worth pushing as a differentiator .... Fierce PharmaMarketing

7/30 AbbVie, BMS, and Merck Soon Jumping Into Hep C Market
Eyeing big returns, drugmakers ready new hepatitis-C drug launches .... Gilead isn't the only drugmaker seeking new patient populations or attempting to bring newer, more advanced treatments to market. The FDA last week approved AbbVie's Technivie (ombitasvir, paritaprevir and ritonavir), to be used in combination with ribavirin to treat genotype-4 infections in patients without scarring and cirrhosis. .... MM&M

7/30 Novartis Sets Up a Skunk Works for Drugs in Development
Novartis Spinoff Shows Alternative to Big Drug Makers .... Novartis, Switzerland's $275 billion market-cap drug giant, will inject three drugs in development into a start-up called Mereo, run by former Nomura employees .... NY Times/DealBook

7/30 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Depomed rejects Horizon Pharma's latest bid
Reuters
Serious Risks About Existing Drugs Aren't Given to Trial Participants
Pharmalot
Eisai's Lenvima breakthrough therapy for new indication
Pharma Times
New Drug Lowers Levels of Triglycerides
WebMD


7/29 Prescription Drug Spending Up 12.6% in 2015
By 2024, health spending will be nearly a fifth of the economy .... In 2013, prescription drug spending grew just 2.5 percent compared with the previous year, whereas in 2014, drugs spending shot up 12.6 percent. The effects of those drugs on 2015 spending are expected to be tempered by rebates offered by the pharmaceutical companies. Prescription drug spending growth is projected to increase 7.6 percent in 2015. .... Washington Post

7/29 Pfizer Firing on All Cylinders in 2nd Quarter
Pfizer Profit Beats Estimates as Cancer Drug Sales Increase .... The drug Ibrance, approved in February for use in advanced breast cancer, generated $140 million in sales, compared with the $95.3 million projected by analysts. Ibrance will be a $3.39 billion drug by 2018, according to estimates .... Bloomberg (autoplay video)

7/29 Oncology Market Overview
Therapeutic Focus: Oncology .... The oncology market, has reached $32 billion in US sales in the 12 months ending May 31, up 17.7% over the year-ago period, according to IMS Health. While Roche's Genentech has dominated the category for several years, competition might be just around the corner .... MM&M

7/29 Lipitor OTC Effort Ends; Patients Couldn't Self-Monitor
Pfizer Quits Over-the-Counter Lipitor Program After Trial Fails .... The trial looked at whether patients would check their cholesterol after starting the drug, and take the right medical action after getting the results. The tests found that they couldn't .... Bloomberg

7/29 Overview of Jazz Pharmaceuticals: Sales Breakdown, Pipeline, Outlook
Wakefulness Drug Xyrem Keeps Jazz Pharmaceuticals Up .... Xyrem's net sales in the first quarter grew 33% over the prior year to $212.7 million, accounting for 69% of the $309.3 million in total revenue, which was up 25% .... Investor's Business Daily

7/29 Strong Sales of Sovaldi/Harvoni Set New Record
Gilead Profit Tops Estimates as Hepatitis C Drug Sales Surge .... Sales of Sovaldi were $1.29 billion, beating analysts' estimates of $969 million. Sales of Harvoni, a combination of Sovaldi and another drug called ledipasvir, were $3.61 billion, compared with analysts' estimates of $3.5 billion .... Bloomberg

7/29 Biosimilars Bite Merck
Merck Earnings Hurt by Arthritis Drug Knockoffs .... Merck, which handles Remicade marketing in Europe, said the company's sales of the drug declined 25% to $455 million for the quarter, as European doctors prescribed copycat versions that cost up to 45% less than the branded drug .... $$WSJ

7/29 Pfizer Wallet Out, Looking for Promising Drugs
Pfizer Eyeing Deals of Any Size in Quest to Find New Blockbuster .... Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Ian Read said he's on the hunt for an acquisition to build up the company's collection of innovative drugs, five months after agreeing to a $17 billion deal to bolster the unit that sells older products .... Bloomberg

7/29 Reshape Medical Balloon OK'd
FDA approves stomach-filling balloon for weight loss .... In company trials, patients treated with the balloon lost about 7 percent of their total body weight over six months, compared with 3.3 percent weight loss in patients who didn't get the balloon. But six months after the devices' removal, patients in the balloon group regained more than two-thirds of the weight they had lost. .... Medical Xpress

7/29 PR Campaign Could Push FDA to Drug Approval
Will marketing make the difference in approval of Sprout's 'pink pill' for women? .... A less concrete--but potentially significant--influence this time around, though, has been the voice of a persuasive advocacy group called "Even the Score." It's a coalition of women and healthcare groups founded in 2014 after the second rejection of flibanserin .... Fierce Pharma Marketing

7/29 Gadolinium Accumulation from MRIs
FDA Examines Whether MRI Drugs Accumulate in Brain Tissue .... Normally, gadolinium is largely eliminated from the body via the kidneys following the drug's injection. As such, patients are screened to ensure they do not have kidney disease. But the recent studies found that gadolinium can remain in the brain even in patients whose kidneys function normally .... Pro Publica

7/29 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Americans report improved health, better healthcare
Reuters
Centene considers snapping up Medicare Advantage plans from rivals
Reuters
Healthcare improving for older Americans
Reuters
Regeneron's George Yancopoulos Becomes Pharma's First Billionaire R&D Chief
Forbes/Matthew Herper


7/28 Fast Takes
EU suspends sale of 700 generic drugs made in India
AFP
How anti-vaxxers have scared reporters away from covering vaccine side effects
VOX
Allergan To Buy Antidepressant Maker For $560 Million With Hopes Of Preventing Suicides
Forbes
Teva Pharmaceuticals Stands To Lose Around $300 Million On Walking away From Mylan Deal
Forbes
Upsher-Smith's ANDROXY™ (Fluoxymesterone Tablets, USP) CIII Now Available
Company Press Release
Sanofi paying AZN up to $300M for rare thyroid cancer drug
AP


7/28
Allergan (Formerly Actavis, Formerly Watson) CEO Sets Sights On Deal
- Will use the $40 Bln he made from selling the generics business to Teva
- Uber dealmaker, 45 year old CEO Saunders, on the hunt again with $40 bln war-chest
Allergan: Pharma's Biggest Dealmaker Is On The Hunt Again … already pulled off something like $150 billion worth of deals. Now he's going to get ready to do it again … Last year alone Saunders was credited with an amazing $97 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions - sometimes as buyer, sometimes as seller…. smart money's ideas: buy Biogen, or AbbVie, or merge with Pfizer …[Forbes]
Allergan CEO, fresh off one deal, sets sights on others … expand into new therapy areas and pursue larger deals … declined to discuss any specific targets, a list Wall Street that analysts speculated may include Biogen, AbbVie and Amgen …  Allergan will focus on after the generics sale, four areas with the strongest opportunities in terms of unmet medical care: aesthetics, eye care, central nervous system therapies and gastrointestinal  …[Reuters]
Related: This Giant Drug Firm Won't Invent Medicines. Investors Are Cheering … The idea that to play in the big leagues you have to do drug discovery is really a fallacy … We're not the Borg; we don't go in and assimilate companies … [Forbes]

7/28
Pharma Supposed To Report Serious Adverse Side Effects But Frequently Don't Do So Quick Enough
- Some serious drug side effects not told to FDA within 15 days
Delays found in drugmakers reporting of serious adverse reactions … reporting delays should never occur, as they mean that more patients are exposed to potentially avoidable serious harm, including death … US regulations require drugmakers to report such incidents to the Food and Drug Administration within 15 days … found they delayed doing so in about one in 10 cases …[AFP]

7/28
New IV Cholesterol Drugs More Expensive Than Investors Theorized
- Payers' hair on fire, drug companies underwhelmed; stage for showdown set
New heart drugs come in more expensive than expected … high prices have also prompted rising sales forecasts, but they may provoke clashes with the providers …  high official price would allow the companies to offer generous rebates in what is expected to be a competitive market, resulting in a net price that could be discounted by 30-50 percent over time …  setting a high price is a gamble as it could drive healthcare providers to put restrictions on Praluent's use …[Reuters]

7/28
Similar Drug Almost Bankrupted Pfizer But Lilly Will Move Forward
Lilly continues test of HDL cholesterol drug, on panel's advice … Evacetrapib is meant to sharply raise HDL cholesterol, while lowering LDL cholesterol, and thereby reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems … similar treatment from Pfizer Inc called torcetrapib was scrapped in 2006 after safety problems arose, including deaths associated with the medicine …[Reuters]

7/28
Patients With Rare, Genetic Form Of Very High Cholesterol Think Praulent Is A Good Buy
- Cost is in the eye of the beholder; patients certain to die young from cholesterol think $15K per year looks good
Praluent Looks Cheap to Those With Extreme Cholesterol … other drugs that might help -- lomitapide (costing $250,000 a year) and mipomersen ($176,000) -- but her insurer has refused to pay for them. … total cholesterol level was 435 … a twentyfold increased risk of heart disease. Men who are not treated have a 50 percent chance of having a heart attack by age 50. Untreated women have a 30 percent chance of having a heart attack by age 60 … [NY Times]

7/28
Analysts Expect More Tie-Ups in Generic Drug Business
Analysts Expect More Tie-Ups in Generic Drug Business …  Mylan, which had resisted Teva's advances for three months, is pressing ahead with its offer for Irish drug and ingredients maker Perrigo … Akorn, Sagent Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Impax Laboratories Inc. may also get their own chances to grow …[AP]

7/27
Fast Takes
Dr. Oz made $1.17 million off a hemorrhoid treatment he promoted in his column
VOX
AbbVie Sales Fall Short of Estimates as Biggest Drug, Humira, Misses
Bloomberg
FDA OK's Odomzo from Novartis for common skin cancer type basal cell carcinoma
AP

7/27
Teva Drops Mylan Takeover Plans Makes Move On Allergan (Formerly Actavis; formerly Watson) Generic Drugs Business
Teva nears deal for Allergan's generic drugs unit: source … following a thus far unsuccessful effort to acquire peer Mylan NV <MYL.O>, according to a person familiar with the matter … had offered to buy Mylan for $40 billion, is now close to an agreement to acquire Dublin-based Allergan's generic drugs unit for between $40 billion and $45 billion, the person said on Saturday …[Reuters]

7/27
FDA Grants Final Approval For Praluent (alirocumab); Sanofi Jab For Severe Cholesterol
- First in a new class of injectable cholesterol-lowering drugs
FDA approves Praluent to treat certain patients with high cholesterol … approved for use in addition to diet and maximally tolerated statin therapy in adult patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) or patients with clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks or strokes, who require additional lowering of LDL cholesterol … Praluent is an antibody that targets a specific protein, called PCSK9, which works by reducing the number of receptors on the liver that remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. By blocking PCSK9's ability to work, more receptors are available to get rid of LDL cholesterol from the blood and, as a result, lower LDL cholesterol levels….[FDA Press Release]
Editor's  Note(s): The medicine, administered by pen injection device is said to cost nearly $15K per year.  Sanofi had been hoping for a heart attack prevention indication but didn't get it.   Amgen's similar drug called Repatha is also under FDA review with an Aug. 27 decision deadline.

7/27
FDA Grants Final Approval For Bristol Hepatitis C Pill: Daklinza (daclatasvir)
- Used in combo with Sovaldi to treat genotype 3 HCV
FDA approves new treatment for chronic hepatitis C genotype 3 infections … Daklinza (daclatasvir) for use with sofosbuvir to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 3 infections. Daklinza is the first drug that has demonstrated safety and efficacy to treat genotype 3 HCV infections without the need for co-administration of interferon or ribavirin, two FDA-approved drugs also used to treat HCV infection …[FDA press Release]
FDA Gives Nod to Daklinza …  treatment led to cures in 90% of treatment-naοve and 86% of treatment-experienced patients, where cure was defined as no detectable HCV RNA 12 weeks after the end of therapy (SVR12). The cure rates reached 96% in patients without cirrhosis …[MedPage]

7/27
Get Ready For Cholesterooooooooooool  Drug Ruuuuuuuuuumble
- Analysts expect 4-way dogfight between Amgen & Sanofi; insurance companies and out-of-pocket paying patients
- Analysts expect insurance companies to make it very hard to get prior authorization to use these drugs
Battle coming for blockbuster cholesterol drugs … could cost an estimated $7,000 to $12,000 per year for each person using the drug … price tag is generating worry that the costs will add to the increasing burden of drug costs borne by government health programs such as Medicare, as well as private insurance plans. Also of concern is the potential out-of-pocket costs to patients from the new drugs …[CNBC]
The FDA Approves A Potent And Pricey Cholesterol-Lowering Shot … analyst  found that they [doctors] would use the drug in 30% to 40% of patients who had already had heart attacks.  He wrote that 2020 sales of Praluent could be as high as $4.8 billion … patients will need to have medical records documenting that they have already taken statins. Those not taking statins would need a blood test confirming that a statin caused elevations in muscle or liver enzymes, not just complaints that they were achy …[Forbes]
Editor's Note: CNBC report includes a video.  The price tags are make believe.  Hardly nobody pays full retail price for drugs.  Corey expects a price war between Sanofi and Amgen; a race to the bottom modulated by angry insurance companies.  Patients can benefit by hopscotching from one drug to the other like the way consumers jump back and forth between cable companies or cell phone carriers.  Lets see who has a better coupon!

7/27
Beneficial Genetic Mutations Are Worth Billions; Gold Rush Has Begun
- Mutant genes make people immune to pain, broken bones
- Drug companies are exploiting rare mutations that make one person nearly immune to pain, another to broken bones …  congenital insensitivity to pain, caused by two different mutations, one inherited from each parent. On their own, the single mutations were benign; combined, they were harmful … "a gift from nature," says Andreas Grauer, global development lead for the osteoporosis drug Amgen is creating. "It is our obligation to turn it into something useful."…[Bloomberg]
Editor's Note: Obligation to turn it into something useful?  Awww I'm getting all choked up. Not. What a load of bullshirt.  He means it's a golden opportunity to make perverse sums of money. None of these new biotech drugs come cheap.  Plus - I doubt they will be paying the medically genetic freaks anything for their genetic material used to develop the drugs.


7/24 Drugs Guaranteed to Work or Your Money Back
UnitedHealth's OptumRx Seeks Refunds When Expensive Drugs Fail .... OptumRx is negotiating similar performance-based deals with makers of drugs for high cholesterol -- known as PCSK9 inhibitors -- and medications for multiple sclerosis treatments and rheumatoid arthritis medicines .... Bloomberg

7/24 Cancer Doctors Blast High Prices
Cancer experts call for curbs on rising drug prices .... In 2014, the physicians noted, every new drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration was priced at more than $120,000 per year. And the cost for each additional year lived by a patient has skyrocketed from $54,000 in 1995 to $207,000 in 2013 .... Washington Post

See also:
7/24 Do We Need a Federal Drug Price Board?
115 Doctors Propose This Solution For Terrifying Cancer Drug Prices .... Here's the best idea they propose: An independent, government-chartered group that evaluated the value of drugs would give insurance companies a powerful new negotiating tool. .... Forbes/Matthew Herper

7/24 Hypertension-Induced Renal Damage Exacerbated by NSAIDs, Study Reports
NSAIDS may increase kidney risks with high blood pressure .... People with hypertension who'd been taking NSAIDs for at least three months were 32 percent more likely to have chronic kidney disease than participants who didn't use the pills .... Reuters

7/24 Steady Job Growth at Biotechs and Smaller Pharma Co's; Giants Tend to Merge and Cut Back
Drugmakers like Gilead, Mylan and Novo--not Big Pharma--are job creators .... Ranking fourth among those in boosting their employment last year was Novo Nordisk, which added 3,014 people to reach a total of 41,450. The remaining 5 are all biotechs, Celgene, Gilead Sciences, Biogen, Regeneron and Alexion .... Fierce Pharma

7/24 Opdivo Off to Strong Start
BMS US sales are down, despite growing Opdivo adoption .... In squamous lung cancer, about two-thirds of new second-line patients with squamous lung cancer are taking Opdivo (Evercore ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum) .... MM&M

7/24 Marketer Buys Community
Physicians Interactive acquires Quantia .... The move toward a value-based reimbursement model, the consolidation of physician practices into integrated delivery networks and the decline of the traditional pharmaceutical strategy of marketing blockbuster drugs to the masses are three factors contributing to the demand for tailored online marketing to healthcare providers .... MM&M

7/24 No Results, No Review: FDA Turns Away Vosaroxin
FDA seeks more clinical evidence on Sunesis Pharma cancer drug .... The drug, vosaroxin, failed a late-stage trial in October as it did not significantly improve the overall survival of patients compared with a placebo. The FDA wanted the additional evidence before Sunesis files its marketing application .... Reuters

7/24 Cardiologist Estimates that 10–15% of Patients Will End Up on Praluent or Repatha
Dawn of a New Era? A Cardiologist Takes Stock of PCSK9 Inhibitors .... At what LDL level do you think patients should be considered PCSK9 inhibitor candidates? "Except for patients with the familial high cholesterol, I'd say an LDL of around 70" .... HCP Live

7/24 Roche Results and Prospects
Roche readies new drugs in two-year window before copycats hit .... Roche is the world's largest maker of cancer drugs and investors are banking on its ability to stay ahead as it advances into the hot new field of immunotherapy .... Reuters

7/24 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Peanuts Ejected from Some Baseball Games
HCP Live
Bevacizumab Safe, Stable for Multiple Dosing From Single Vial
HealthDay News
High Soda Intake May Boost Diabetes Risk, Even Without Obesity
HealthDay News
Generic Drug Duo More Effective Against Breast Cancer Than Tamoxifen
Healthline
One big myth about medicine: We know how drugs work
Washington Post/Wonkblog
Younger Adults With Alzheimer's Are Key To Drug Search
NPR


7/23 First Wave of Biosimilars Will Flatten Top-Selling Drugs
Biosimilars will cut top 10 vulnerable biologics almost in half by 2020 .... AbbVie stands to lose the most, the analysts wrote, with biosimilars descending on key moneymaker Humira--a drug that brings in 60% of revenue. Roche and Amgen will each have a trio of drugs--Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin, and Neupogen, Neulasta and Epogen, respectively--under biosimilar attack .... Fierce Pharma Marketing

7/23 Better Get Sick Now, Don't Wait
Main fund for Medicare program to run out of money in 2030 .... Depletion of the Medicare and Social Security trust funds does not mean that all benefits would stop. At the current rate of payroll tax collections, Medicare would be able to pay about 86 percent of costs in 2030, declining to 80 percent by 2050 .... Reuters

7/23 No Home Runs (Or Even Solid Hits) at Alzheimer's Meeting
Alzheimer's Trials Offer Few Answers for Investors, Patients .... Lilly's trial showed that patients who had been taking its drug longer did better on a cognitive test than those who hadn't. Biogen reported data that further muddied the question of what dose of its drug is most effective. .... Bloomberg

7/23 Roche Stays the Course on Alzheimer's
Roche steps up work on two experimental Alzheimer's drugs .... Crenezumab will move into late-stage Phase III development and the company will also aim to run fresh clinical trials using higher doses of gantenerumab .... Reuters

7/23 Dextromethorphan/Quinidine Combo Finds New Use for Agitation
Drug Helps One of Worst Alzheimer's Symptoms – Agitation .... It's hard to measure improvements in behavior, but on a scale that measures agitation, patients who got the drug improved from a 7 on the scale to about 3.5 .... NBC News

7/23 Smart Devices Attach to Inhalers, Provide Monitoring and Feedback
FDA Clears 2 New Propeller Health Devices That Track Respiratory Meds .... The devices, which snap on to medication inhalers, can note the time and location for each use, information that is stored and wirelessly transmitted to a user's smartphone or a base station .... xconomy

7/23 Decision-Day for Praluent July 24
Praluent's FDA review looms, but questions persist .... PBM Prime Therapeutics estimates that if the drugs are made available to all statin-intolerant people regardless of their cardiovascular risk—which would be the drug's broadest approved label—this could add $6.71 to "commercially insured coverage costs" per member per month .... MM&M

7/23 Drug Companies Seek Out "Freaks of Nature" to Develop New Therapies
These Superhumans Are Real and Their DNA Could Be Worth Billions .... Drug companies are exploiting rare mutations that make one person nearly immune to pain, another to broken bones .... Bloomberg

7/23 Big Money Managers Taking Close Interest in Clinical Trial Reporting
Funds Join Campaign to Pressure Pharma to Disclose Trial Data .... The investors, which collectively manage about $3.8 trillion, plan to meet with drug makers in which they invest to ensure that trials are registered and results are reported .... Pharmalot/WSJ

7/23 No Spending Relief in Sight
Billion Dollar Drugs: America's 10 Top Selling Medications .... Total spending on medication increased 10.3 percent for the year to $373.9 billion, according to the IMS Institute.... Brand-name drug prices increased by an average of 5 to 7 percent, after discounts and rebates .... Fiscal Times

7/23 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Hospitals overestimate speed of giving clot-busting drugs
Reuters
The most in-demand doctors—and why
Advisory Board
AstraZeneca suffers setback as drug fails in eye cancer
Reuters
Xoma crushed as lead drug flunks a PhIII challenge
Fierce Biotech
Common Diabetes Meds Tied to Lower Risk for Parkinson's
HealthDay


7/22 ICER Intends to 'Ice' High Drug Prices with Value Estimates
New drug assessment program to offer value-based price benchmark .... ICER will produce public reports on new drugs that have the potential to significantly change patient care and health system budgets... Each report will include a full analysis of a drug's comparative effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and potential budget impact. .... Medical Xpress
See also: Rising U.S. Drug Prices Are Focus of Research Grant [WSJ]

7/22 Zarxio Must Wait Six Months After Approval to Market
Drugmaker Novartis blocked from selling Neupogen copycat until Sept 2 .... The court said that federal law governing close copies of biologic drugs required Sandoz to wait six months after the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug to begin to market it .... Reuters

7/22 Pills by Drone
In a first, drone delivers drugs to patients in Virginia .... It can often take more than an hour for health care workers to navigate the roads and get medicine and supplies to the residents of rural Wise County, but drones could make the same trip in five minutes .... Advisory Board

7/22 First PCSK9 Inhibitor Approval; Repatha in EU
Europe approves Amgen's first-in-class cholesterol drug .... The European Commission cleared Repatha for patients with dangerously high cholesterol levels, including those with inherited conditions that drive up levels of the wax-like substance. The injectable drug may also be used by patients who cannot control their cholesterol with older statin drugs, or cannot tolerate them due to side effects .... AP/Yahoo

7/22 Prevnar 13 is the Leading Vaccine in Sales; Pfizer Wants to Add Others
Pfizer is expanding its vaccine portfolio, developing others .... The company has four vaccines approved in the U.S. and other countries. It's testing others against deadly bacteria spread in hospitals and the community, a virus that's common in young adults, and against cancer and severe high cholesterol in older patients .... AP/Yahoo

7/22 Bigger Health Plans Have More Leverage Over Pharma
Novartis CEO Says U.S. Insurance M&A to Crimp Drug Prices .... Novartis AG Chief Executive Officer Joe Jimenez said the consolidation spree among U.S. health insurers is making it harder for drugmakers to increase prices .... Bloomberg

7/22 Migraine Therapies a $4–8 Billion Market; New Class on the Way
The Pharma Industry Thinks It Finally Has a Fix for Migraines .... An early look at the drugs Teva, Amgen, Lilly, and Alder Biopharmaceuticals have developed shows they work for about half of migraine victims tested, snuffing out some of the episodes that wreck their lives .... Bloomberg (autoplay video)

7/22 Outcry over Staggering Prices for CF Drugs
Doctors challenge Vertex over high price of cystic fibrosis drug .... [Cystic Fibrosis researcher and patient Paul M.] Quinton said he is particularly upset about Vertex's board awarding more than $53 million in one-time bonuses to a dozen senior executives. The payouts would not come until the end of 2017 at the earliest, and only after the company posted profits for the previous four quarters. .... Boston Globe

7/22 Your Grandpa Lived to a Ripe Old Age? Google is Very Interested
Google Is Scouring Ancestry.com to Find Out What's in Your Genes .... Google's Calico, a biotechnology firm created by the search-engine giant to study aging and related diseases, will delve into the genetic database amassed by a unit of Ancestry.com to look for hereditary influences on longevity .... Bloomberg

7/22 OpEd by Lily CEO John Lechleiter
Fact: Pharmaceutical Companies Do Not Conduct Clinical Trials .... A recent Tufts study put the average cost to develop a new medicine at more than $2.5 billion. Many people don't realize that 60% of those costs are in clinical trials .... Bloomberg

7/22 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Exelixis Scores Much-Needed Kidney Cancer Study Win to Boost Drug Sales
The Street/Adam Feuerstein
Kids with psychiatric problems may face struggles as adults
Reuters
Bristol-Myers says drug for treatment-resistant HIV gets incentives to speed up development
Star Tribune
How Device Makers Lose When Medicare Bundles Knee, Hip Surgery Fees
Forbes
FDA Closing In on November Expert Panel Date for BioMarin, Sarepta Drugs
The Street/Adam Feuerstein


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