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3/31 OptumRx Combination with Catamaran Creates New Mega-PBM
UnitedHealth Pays $12.8 Billion for Catamaran's Drug Clients .... UnitedHealth Group has agreed to buy Catamaran Corp. for about $12.8 billion, bulking up its drug-benefits business to get better negotiating power in talks with pharmaceutical companies over prices .... Bloomberg

3/31 Pfizer Spends More on Ads Than Abbvie, Lilly, and AstraZeneca Combined
It's Like Viagra for Pharma Ads: Pfizer's $1.4 Billion Marketing Blitz .... Pfizer had seven of the top 10 most-advertised drug brands, according to data from Nielsen, with ads for erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, blood-thinner Eliquis and arthritis drug Xeljanz all in the top five .... Bloomberg

3/31 Teva Buys Auspex; Shopping for More
Teva finally joins the M&A fray with $3.2B Auspex buyout .... Auspex is developing SD-809, a late-stage treatment for Huntington's disease that the company expects to roll out in the U.S. next year. That drug is also in Phase III testing for tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder, and in Phase I for Tourette's syndrome--indications that would widen Teva's CNS footprint beyond multiple sclerosis star Copaxone .... Fierce Pharma

3/31 APhA Wants Members to Not Supply Execution Drugs
U.S. pharmacists group asks members not to provide execution drugs .... The move by the American Pharmacists Association, which has about 62,000 members, sets out ethical standards for the profession but has no authority to halt the activities of the main suppliers of drugs for executions, lightly regulated compounding pharmacies that can mix chemicals .... Reuters

3/31 The Latest Thinking on Rep Visits: iPads, No-See Docs, and the 90-second Call
Engaging HCPs: Rep and a Hard Place .... The introduction of the smart tablet, particularly the dominant iPad, has changed the detailing game—or, at least, has the potential to change it .... MM&M

3/31 Jadenu, New Formulation of Exjade, Approved
Novartis announces FDA approval for Jadenu to simplify treatment administration for patients with chronic iron overload .... Jadenu oral tablets can be taken in a single step, with or without a light meal, simplifying administration of treatment for chronic iron overload .... Company news release

3/31 Ravicti and Buphenyl Maker Acquired
Horizon to Buy Hyperion for $1.1 Billion, Gain Orphan Drugs .... The deal will give Horizon two drugs to treat urea cycle disorders, inherited ailments that can cause a build-up of ammonia in the body. Horizon makes products to treat arthritis, inflammation and rare illnesses .... Bloomberg

3/31 Merger Monday Wrap-up
Busiest Day for Health-Care Deals Is Set to Spawn More .... There's talk of at least one more mega-merger -- from Pfizer, to make up for its failed run at AstraZeneca Plc last year .... Bloomberg

3/31 Amgen's Kyprolis Gets Review for Expanded Use
FDA Priority Review Granted to Kyprolis in Myeloma .... Under the priority review, the FDA will evaluate data from the phase III ASPIRE trial, in which carfilzomib, lenalidomide, and low-dose dexamethasone reduced the risk of disease progression by 31% compared with lenalidomide and low-dose dexamethasone alone in patients with relapsed multiple myeloma .... Onclive

3/31 Cancer Report Shows Gains
U.S. cancer incidence, mortality largely stable or decreasing .... The organizations found decreases over the past 20 years in the number of new cases for several of the major cancers diagnosed among men, including prostate, lung, colon, stomach, brain and throat cancers. There were also decreases among colon, ovary, cervix, oral and stomach cancers among women .... Reuters Health

3/31 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Has a Duke scientist found a 'miracle' cure for cancer? His patients think so
Advisory Board Daily Briefing
J&J, Glaxo settle U.S. lawsuit over allergy ads
An Apple a Day Keeps the Pharmacist Away
Merck Serono and Intrexon sign $941m CAR-T deal
Pharma Times
Temporary Reshuffle at FDA's Office of Generic Drugs as Leader Takes Medical Leave
Regulatory Focus

3/30 Fast Takes
NTE's: Specialty Generics: Why Are They Getting More Attention?
Market Realist
Gilead Sciences: Harvoni Going Strong, Sovaldi Not So Much
3 Little-Known Biotechs Working On Potential Blockbusters
Motley Fool

Teva Hints It's Make Major Acquisition Coming Soon
- Looking to fill hole generic Copaxone will make
Teva Is on the Prowl and Its Stock Investors Are Taking Notice …  has over $10 billion in debt capacity to spend on acquisitions and could go after Mylan which agreed to buy Abbott Laboratories' generic drug unit last year, or St. Louis, Missouri-based Mallinckrod …[Bloomberg]

Legal Boo Boo Costs Purdue $1Bln
- Umm, we forgot to file the papers in time, my bad
Billion-dollar verdict rests on disputed missed deadline … What does it cost to miss a deadline? For the company that makes the prescription painkiller Oxycontin, the answer could be more than $1 billion …[AP]

Hep C Drugs, Specialty Drugs, Compounded Drugs Drove Rise In Overall 2014 Drug Spend
The Drugs That Cost 743 Percent More In 2014 Than 2013 …  next highest cost increase in 2014 after hepatitis C drugs --128 percent -- was for compounded medications, which are individually prepared combinations to meet a patient's unique treatment needs. … Brand prices were up more than 15 percent on average, while generic drug costs went down by 20 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year … [Yahoo Health]

Reuters:  Sanofi To Launch Lantus Replacement Toujeo Monday
- Who will prevail in battle for long acting insulin  supremacy
Sanofi to launch Toujeo diabetes drug in U.S. on Monday …  according to a source familiar with the matter … Toujeo was approved for use in the United States on Feb. 25 and was recommended for approval by European regulators two days later  …[Reuters]

WSJ: Novo Ready To Resubmit Tresiba Application Sooner Than Expected
- Hypoglycemic benefit verbiage on label could trump Sanofi's Lantus replacement
Novo Nordisk's Insulin Move Is Right Medicine … To really strengthen its hand, Novo still needs to get data on hypoglycemic benefits included on Tresiba's U.S. label, something Sanofi failed to do with Toujeo. That would give the Danish company an advantage and a marketing strategy less reliant simply on price …[WSJ]
Novo Nordisk Soars on Plan to Resubmit Insulin Drug in U.S. …  FDA rejected Tresiba in 2013 over concerns it may increase heart problems … As of next year, U.S. diabetics could potentially have access to five basal insulins, with the addition of Toujeo, Basaglar and now Tresiba …[Bloomberg]

Aetna Makes Amends For Placing Almost All HIV Meds In Cost Sharing Basket
- Move was seen as discriminatory scheme by HIV advocacy groups
Aetna to Lower Costs for Most HIV Drugs After Complaint … will move the drugs into a category that will charge patients $5 to $100 after deductibles are met … Aetna put almost all HIV drugs in its highest category of cost sharing, asking patients to pay as much as half the expense of high-priced medicines  … concerned that insurers could construct benefit packages discouraging sick people from picking their products.… [Bloomberg]

West Virginia Repeals Draconian Pharma Marketing Disclosure Regs
West Virginia Prescription Drug Advertising Expense Reporting Rule REPEALED … required pharmaceutical manufacturers doing business in the state to disclose all expenditures for advertising and direct promotion of prescription drugs to consumers, prescribers, pharmacies, and patient support or advocacy groups …[]

Drug Rep Stars In Kooky Reality Show Married St First Sight
- Is she hard up or what?
'Married at First Sight': Meet the three couples who married at first sight …  Davina is a pharmaceutical sales rep, and Sean is an ER nurse. They are the oldest couple in the experiment …[Examiner]
Total strangers get married on reality show 'Married at First Sight' … Hundreds of singles were interviewed, many went through intense personality tests, and matchmakers determined Sean and Davina would make a lasting married couple …[PIX]

Psychopath Who Murdered Dirty Pharmacist Sentenced To Life Without Parole
Mom to Murderer: You're 'Going Straight to Hell' … brutally beat Kerkowski to compel him to reveal the location of tens of thousands of dollars the pharmacist kept in his house, then used plastic flex ties to strangle him  … [NY Times]

3/26 Eylea Now Approved for Diabetic Retinopathy
FDA again expands usage of Regeneron eye drug Eylea .... The FDA decision marked the fourth approval for Eylea, an injectable medicine that had sales of $2.78 billion in 2014 .... Reuters

3/26 Anthrasil Approved, Being Added to U.S. Strategic Stockpile
FDA approves Emergent BioSolutions' inhaled anthrax treatment .... The treatment is a sterile solution that neutralizes toxins of Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium behind the infection .... Reuters

3/26 DeCode Can Predict Which Icelanders Will Die Of Cancer
Genome Study Predicts DNA of the Whole of Iceland .... Large genome databases are starting to reveal critical health information—even about people who have not contributed their DNA. .... MIT Technology Review

3/26 CEO's Philosophy at Novatis: "Getting Bigger or Getting Out"
From Snitch Pill to Xbox Sensors, Novartis Goes Digital .... Jimenez is barreling down untested paths at the frontier of biology and digital technology to prepare for a future in which the use of smartphones and other digital devices to monitor health will be the key to getting paid .... Bloomberg

3/26 New Crop of Psoriasis Drugs Aim to Grab Stelara's Market
Psoriasis data wars heat up at AAD with Novartis, Boehringer studies .... Novartis, which trumpeted a head-to-head win for Cosentyx over the J&J drug last December, kept the ball rolling with results showing that at 16 weeks, its med improved skin clearance in significantly more plaque psoriasis patients than Stelara did .... Fierce Pharma Marketing

3/26 Are Gut Bacteria the Link Between Diabetes and Antibiotics?
Greater Use of Antibiotics Tied to Higher Odds of Diabetes .... Two to five courses of a penicillin increased the risk of diabetes by 8 percent, while more than five courses increased the risk by 23 percent .... Health Day News

3/26 Quadracel for Tetanus, Pertussis and Polio
FDA OK for Sanofi's Quadracel vaccine .... US regulators have approved Sanofi's Quadracel vaccine for active immunisation against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and poliomyelitis in children aged between four and six years old .... Pharma Times

3/26 Congress Starts Asking Questions About 340B
New Rules Seen for Drug Discount Program .... Hospitals are not required to divulge how they use the savings from the program, which was created in 1992 to aid medical facilities that serve as “safety nets” in less affluent communities. Some hospitals may use savings instead for general purposes .... Roll Call

3/26 After August Inspection, FDA Stops Aarti Imports
FDA Bans Shipments From Indian Drug Maker Aarti .... In a 2012 inspection, the FDA found that a quality-control analyst had recorded completion times for lab analyses that had not yet occurred, and there were failures to account for unexplained discrepancies in test-result data .... WSJ

3/26 Printed PI Advocates Have Their Say
FDA's Electronic Drug Labeling Proposal Comes Under Fire .... In 2013, US patients filled 3.9 billion prescriptions for prescription drugs at retail pharmacies. The number of package inserts that must be printed has given rise to a multimillion-dollar industry, complete with its own advocacy organization .... Regulatory Focus

3/26 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Obama ready to sign bipartisan fix for Medicare doctor payments
Adequate sleep tied to women's sexual function
Study finds why drug for type II diabetes makes people fat
Georgia State University
Celladon Heart-Failure Study Looms Large as Next Big Test for Gene Therapy
The Street
Otezla Disappoints in RA
MedPage Today

3/25 Study Demonstrates Survival Benefit for First-Line Use of Keytruda
Merck says melanoma drug meets goal; study halted .... Patients taking Keytruda showed meaningful improvement in overall survival and in delayed progression of disease, compared with those taking Yervoy .... Reuters

3/25 Grab a Bag of Popcorn and Watch the Best TV Drug Commercials
Ten Best DTC Ads of 2014 .... The great, the good and everything in between .... MM&M

3/25 With More Access to Doctors, More Diabetes Found
More diabetes cases diagnosed after Medicaid expansion .... The findings suggest that expanding Medicaid, the government-run health insurance for the poor, allows people with diabetes to be diagnosed earlier than before, which may improve outcomes later on .... Reuters

3/25 37 New Cancer Drugs in Past 5 Years; Compared to 19 in Previous 5 Years
Faster FDA Spurs Cancer Breakthroughs .... Drug development for cancer and rare diseases have benefited from both the new FDA policies and advances in gene scanning that allow researchers to target drugs to patients most likely to benefit. Much of the foundational research was sponsored by the government, which tripled funding of the National Institutes of Health to $30 billion in the 15 years through 2008, and has kept it at about that level since .... Bloomberg/Yahoo

3/25 More Jobs Gone at GSK
GlaxoSmithKline tags 180 sales-and-admin jobs for cutting in NC .... The British pharma giant plans to cut 180 sales, managerial, operations, marketing and support staff roles--some in the field and some in-house .... Fierce Pharma

3/25 Many CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid Employees Earn < $9.00/hour
After Target wage hike, labor groups turn to drugstore chains .... Labor activists said the wage hikes by big retailers will give them greater leverage with drugstore operators, who make up one of the fastest-growing and most profitable areas in retail .... Reuters

3/25 States Debate Broader Access to Naloxone
Amid crisis, states expand access to opioid rescue drug .... Government figures show opioid overdoses now claim the lives of about 120 people each day in the United States. Overdoses were the leading cause of injury death in 2012, killing more 25- to 64-year-olds than motor vehicle crashes .... USA Today

3/25 Geriatrics Journal Article Blasts "Low-T" Prescribing
Why All Those Testosterone Ads Constitute Disease Mongering .... Prescriptions for testosterone nearly doubled in the three years ending in 2013, to 2.3 million.... That drove sales of topical testosterone drugs like AndroGel and Axiron $2 billion a year, with AbbVie taking more than 65% of the market.... the FDA reports that a quarter of the men who received testosterone prescriptions never even had their hormone levels tested .... Forbes

3/25 New Thinking on Diabetes: Goals Should Differ for Different Patients
2015 Diabetes Standards Focus on Individualized Tx Approach .... Therapeutic decisions for diabetes should be individualized, considering factors such as ethnicity and cardiovascular risk, according to a new ideas and opinions piece in Annals of Internal Medicine .... HealthDay News

3/25 New Theory of Alzheimer's Tosses Years of Research Out the Window
Study Reveals Tau as Driver of Alzheimer's Disease .... Researchers at the Mayo Clinic's campuses in Jacksonville, Florida, and Rochester, Minnesota, have found that the progression of dysfunctional tau protein drives the cognitive decline and memory loss seen in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Amyloid, the other toxic protein that characterizes AD, builds up as dementia progresses but is not the primary culprit .... PTCommunity

3/25 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Merck increases share buyback program by $10 bln
New study shows non-invasive imaging tests can detect coronary artery disease long before it strikes
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
FDA grants orphan drug status to Treeway's ALS treatment
Many Doctors Who Diagnose Alzheimer's Fail To Tell The Patient
Get Your Priority Review Voucher, While They Last
RPM Report/First Take

3/24 Which Are the Next Blockbuster Drugs?
11 Promising New Drugs Expected to Make Billions in Sales .... The number of potential drug blockbusters is a significant jump from 2014, in which three drugs were predicted to have more than $1 billion in annual sales eventually .... The Street

3/24 DTC TV Spending Hit $4.5 Billion in 2014
It's true: drug companies are bombarding your TV with more ads than ever .... Other highly advertised drugs included Humira, a rheumatoid arthritis treatment; Lyrica, a treatment for pain caused by nerve damage; and Eliquis, an anticlotting drug approved in December 2012 .... Washington Post

3/24 Argument for "Deprescribing"
Statins can be stopped toward the end of life .... Among people without active heart disease who were expected to live no more than a year, stopping the drugs didn't increase the number of deaths within 60 days, but did improve quality of life .... Reuters

3/24 VX-661 Not as Effective as Hoped
Vertex Falls as Cystic Fibrosis Drug Disappoints in Trial .... After four weeks of treatment, patients who took Vertex's VX-661 with Kalydeco saw a 4.4 percentage point increase in the amount of air they could exhale in 1 second, a measure of pulmonary function. At 12 weeks the improvement fell to 3 percentage points .... Bloomberg

3/24 Cuts at Daiichi Sankyo Hit Sales Force
Daiichi Sankyo starts layoff drive with 16% cuts at HQ .... Sales reps in the field are set to find out their fate in mid-April, with cuts of 30% or more expected .... Fierce Pharma

3/24 Tanezumab Back in Testing
FDA removes the brakes on Pfizer and Lilly's pain drug .... A once-halted pain candidate from partners Pfizer and Eli Lilly now has the green light to resume late-stage testing, as the FDA has lifted a clinical hold tied to some serious safety concerns for the whole class of drugs .... Fierce Biotech

3/24 Dropping 'Idec', Biogen Goes for Short and Sweet
Biogen shortens name as it prepares to focus on Alzheimer's drug .... With a new website as of today, the state's largest drugmaker is shortening its name to simply Biogen and adopting a new logo. .... Boston Business Journal

3/24 FDA Looks Into Deaths After Zyprexa Relprevv Injections
Results of FDA review of injectable Zyprexa, two deaths inconclusive .... "The study suggested that much of the drug level increase could have occurred after death, a finding that could explain the extremely high blood levels found in the two patients who died 3 to 4 days after receiving injections of appropriate doses of Zyprexa Relprevv" .... Healio

3/24 New Combo From BI and Lilly — Jardiance + Trajenta
US launch for BI/Lilly diabetes combo Glyxambi .... Glyxambi is the first treatment in the US to marry the dual mechanisms of action of a sodium glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor and a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor in a once-daily pill. .... Pharma Times

3/24 Marketing and Popular Appeal Count More for Sales than Rigorous Testing
10 popular products not endorsed by the FDA .... Despite none of these products being FDA-approved, they're hugely popular online. There are all kinds of products, homeopathic and otherwise, that continue to be sold on Amazon and other websites .... SF Gate

3/24 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
FDA approves Abiomed's blood pump device
Obamacare subsidies likely expanded insurance coverage
This Is The Drug In The Rolling Stones' Song "Mother's Little Helper"
Gene-Altered Apples and Potatoes Are Safe, F.D.A. Says
NY Times
Everyday Health buys rare-disease agency Cambridge BioMarketing
Is Google working on a cure for cancer?

3/23 Aducanumab: First Drug to Significantly Slow Cognitive Decline
Biogen's Alzheimer's drug slows mental decline in early study .... It marks the first time an experimental drug demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in amyloid plaque as well as a slowing of clinical impairment in patients with mild disease .... Reuters
See also: Biogen Reports Its Alzheimer's Drug Sharply Slowed Cognitive Decline NY TImes

3/23 Another Hedge Fund Challenging Pharma Patents
Hedge Funds Found a New Way to Attack Drug Companies and Short Their Stock .... Taking advantage of new rules created by Congress three years ago, hedge funds have increasingly been filing challenges to pharmaceutical patents. Some may be angling for payouts to drop their claims, while others are shorting the stock .... Bloomberg

3/23 Amiodarone–Sovaldi Warning
Gilead Warns After Hepatitis Patient on Heart Drug Dies .... Gilead Sciences Inc. said nine patients taking its hepatitis C drugs Harvoni or Sovaldi along with the heart treatment amiodarone developed abnormally slow heartbeats and one died of cardiac arrest .... Bloomberg

3/23 No 'Rush to the Exits' for Employers
Employers Warm To Obamacare, Stick With Coverage .... Just three percent of employers are now likely to terminate health plans for active employees, according to Mercer, one of the largest employee benefits consultancies .... Forbes/Bruce Japsen

3/23 Can Soriot Deliver the Growth He Promised?
AstraZeneca Lags in Cancer Race Where Losing May Spur Buyout .... If AstraZeneca can't show revenue progress, its shares, carrying a high relative valuation, could slump to the point where the company becomes vulnerable to another takeover bid .... Bloomberg

3/23 Lack of BCG Threatens Bladder Cancer Patients
Cancer drug shortage sends patients on grim search .... BCG is currently sold by just one company, Merck, which doesn't expect to churn out enough of the life-saving drug until next year .... NY Post

3/23 New Cholesterol Injectables Could Top $2 Billion in Sales in 2016
New Type of Cholesterol Drug Could Prove Costly .... [Analyst Richard Evans] estimates 11.6 million people with heart risks need more than a statin to lower their cholesterol, but argues it is unrealistic to assume all would switch to PCSK9 inhibitors. Using a 25% discount, he sees annual patient costs of $3,000 to $4,000 .... WSJ/Pharmalot

3/23 Data Slideshow: Top 10 Biotechs
The Top 10 Biotech Companies In The U.S. .... Market value, sales, and 5-year average sales growth .... Forbes

3/23 "Evergreening" Protects Lucrative Insulin Market
Why People with Diabetes Can't Buy Generic Insulin .... A generic version of insulin, the lifesaving diabetes drug used by 6 million people in the United States, has never been available in this country because drug companies have made incremental improvements that kept insulin under patent from 1923 to 2014 .... Johns Hopkins Medicine

3/23 "Too Much of a Bother — I'll Just Skip It"
More than 25 percent of acne patients fail to get prescribed medications .... Those who were prescribed two medications had the highest rate of primary non-adherence — not getting a medication or not using it — at 40 percent, followed by those prescribed three or more medications (31 percent) and those prescribed just one (9 percent) .... Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

3/23 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Why drug names are so increasingly weird
Chicago Tribune
Before Judges, the Godfathers Become Sick Old Grandfathers
NY Times
Esperion grooms cholesterol-cutting drug with new data ahead of phase III
Bio World
Japanese filing for Amgen's PCSK9 inhibitor Repatha
Pharma Times
Blue Shield Of California Loses Exemption From State Taxes

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