Top of the morning to you. And a fine one it is here on the Pharmalot campus, where the short person has left for the local schoolhouse and we are planning another busy day. In fact, our posting schedule will be quite light as we depart for an interesting event. Nonetheless, we will continue to forage for interesting items. So please keep us in mind if you hear of anything fascinating. Meanwhile, we hope you have a productive day …

Drug makers are boosting sales in India through screening programs billed as corporate social responsibility, BMJ reports. At “health camps” across the country, drug reps and technicians have tested millions of Indians for chronic diseases, with doctors prescribing their products in return. These testing services have raised concerns about the impact on public health and prompted questions about violating national regulations.

Prescription drug spending in the US grew rapidly last year, reaching 12.2 percent compared with 2.4 percent in 2013, partly due to costly new treatments for hepatitis C, cancer, and multiple sclerosis, according to new government statistics published in Health Affairs. Overall, US health care spending increased 5.3 percent to $3 trillion in 2014. The added spending was largely due to coverage expansion attributed to the Affordable Care Act.

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New Jersey lawmakers are looking to sever state contracts and incentives for US companies that use tax inversions to shift headquarters to countries with lower taxes, Bloomberg News writes. The move comes shortly after Pfizer (PFE), which is headquartered in New York, agreed to a $160 billion merger with Allergan, which is incorporated in Ireland, but has operations based Parsippany, N.J. The state would become the first to take such a step.

A US appeals court refused to reconsider a decision invalidating a Sequenom patent for prenatal DNA tests, Reuters reports. The court explained that the patent was not eligible for legal protection because it was covered under a US Supreme Court rule that natural phenomena should not be patented. The decision cast doubt on the validity of many medical and biotech patents.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) delayed the Japanese launch of a male-pattern baldness drug after a production halt at a French facility operated by Catalent (CTLT), which is a contract manufacturer, InPharma Technologist reports.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted against recommending approval for the Gepirone antidepressant, which has already been denied three times by the agency, MedPage Today writes.

AstraZeneca (AZN) plans to close its active pharmaceutical ingredient unit in India due to low demand for products outside the country, The Economic Times tells us.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency cleared a Wockhardt facility in India for shipments, two years after quality-control problems prompted a ban, InPharma Technologist says.

The European Commission approved GlaxoSmithKline’s asthma biologic for severe refractory eosinophilic asthma, a difficult-to-treat form of the illness, Pharma Times writes.

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