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Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. We hope the weekend respite was invigorating, even if it did fly by too quickly. This means, of course, that the usual routine of meetings, deadlines and what-not has returned, a daunting notion, yes? This calls for a few cups of needed stimulation. And why not? No prescription is required. So please join us as we indulge. Meanwhile, here are some tidbits. Have a smashing day and do stay in touch …

The federal government obtained more than $3.5 billion in judgments and settlements from civil cases involving fraud and false claims in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, according to a US Department of Justice statement. Drug makers accounted for $96 million. The charges include paying kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to use of medicines, or overcharging government health care programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

Doctors who prescribe fewer antibiotics rate lower on patient satisfaction, according to a study in the British Journal of General Practice. The research found a 25 percent lower rate of antibiotic prescribing by a general practitioner corresponded to a 5 percent to 6 percent drop in a patient satisfaction survey. The findings suggest more work is needed to reduce patient perception about the use of antibiotics to avoid developing resistance to the meds.


Heart UK is demanding the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence reverse a decision not to cover Amgen’s cholesterol-lowering drug Repatha for use on the National Health Service, Pharma Times reports. The charity argues high-risk patients will be in danger of suffering heart attack or stroke. The cost-effectiveness watchdog rejected the drug because there were no clinical trials to measure its direct effect on cardiovascular events.

Mylan received a subpoena from the US Department of Justice seeking information on communications with other drug makers about the marketing and pricing of the doxycycline antibiotic, Bloomberg News reports. The other companies were not named, but Allergan, Endo International, Par Pharmaceutical, Impax Laboratories, and Lannett over the past year have made similar disclosures about subpoenas.


After voluntarily recalling all Auvi-Q epinephrine injections in October due to potentially inaccurate dosage delivery, Sanofi has redeployed the sales force, including 80 reps who were assigned to market the new Praluent cholesterol treatment, according to a memo. A Sanofi spokeswoman confirmed the move, which comes as the drug maker and its marketing partner, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, battles with Amgen for dominance in the PCKS9-inhibitor market.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes wants to disrupt the business of providing lab data, but “needs to do more than just defend the integrity of her company’s data if she wants to remain relevant,” writes Forbes contributor Steve Brozak. “She should also undertake an independent comparative study of its testing system, submit it to a peer review journal, and get it accepted by a medical journal. You say you want a revolution? Start one.”

Price increases for several medicines are scheduled to be the subject of a congressional hearing later this week, The Wall Street Journal reminds us.

Merck KGaA will not pursue regulatory approval for a cancer drug after the medicine failed to help patients with pancreatic cancer or soft-tissue sarcoma in the last stage of clinical tests, Bloomberg News says.

An experimental Novartis drug for blood cancer demonstrated positive results in a phase II trial, positioning the drug maker to win a race for approval for precision T-cell drugs, Pharma Times reports.

Johnson & Johnson’s and AbbVie’s Imbruvica cancer drug significantly reduced the risk of death and disease progression compared with chemotherapy in certain leukemia patients, Reuters reports.

Eli Lilly halted plans to develop a diabetes treatment after ongoing questions about changes in liver fat that emerged during late-stage testing, The Indianapolis Business Journal writes.

The Food and Drug Administration said that SGLT2 diabetes drugs, such as Jardiance and Invokana, need new warnings about the risks of urinary tract infections, among other illnesses, MedPage Today tells us.

Epizyme new chief executive Robert Bazemore has a personal stake in seeking treatments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a life-threatening blood cancer, because he survived the disease, The Boston Globe says.

For the third time in as many years, Cipla, which is India’s third-largest drug maker, has reshuffled its senior management team, The Economic Times informs us.