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Top of the morning to you. And a fine one it is here on the noisy Pharmalot campus, where a shiny sun illuminates the ongoing road work in front of our otherwise peaceful quarters. Such is life, as they say. We are forging ahead, of course, with the help of some cups of stimulation. And as always, we invite you to join us. Meanwhile, here is the latest list of interesting items assembled for your perusal. Have a great day and do stay in touch …

A controversial plan to sell hepatitis C treatments for a vastly reduced price in Egypt is being closely watched as a test case for providing cutting-edge medicines in poor countries, The New York Times reports. The move comes amid protests over high prices for the same drugs in the US, parts of Europe, and elsewhere. Chastened by bruising fights over AIDS drugs, drug makers are imposing tight restrictions in order to protect lucrative markets in the West.

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence decided that Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo is not a cost-effective treatment for non-small cell lung cancer after chemotherapy, Pharma Times says. Meanwhile, after two years of haggling, the UK’s NICE issued a final guidance that Roche’s Kadcyla breast cancer treatment is too expensive to recommend to the National Health Service, according to Bloomberg News.


With specialty drug spending soaring 60 percent over the past five years, large health systems are increasingly turning to specialty pharmacies to gain some control over these costly medicines, Modern Healthcare says. Separately, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which is one the nation’s biggest health care buyers, says specialty drug costs rose 32 percent last year to $438 million, The Los Angeles Times informs us.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority is investigating complaints about television ads run by Reckitt Benckiser for its Nurofen painkiller, The Wall Street Journal writes.


AstraZeneca will pay $575 million to buy Takeda Pharmaceutical’s respiratory business, Reuters says, and also plans to invest more than $800 million in China over the next 10 years, Reuters adds.

The Food and Drug Administration is seeking comment on a draft guidance that outlines its thoughts on what comprises a manufacturing site change, InPharma Technologist reports.

And the nominees for the best biotech CEO in 2015 are … you can read the list at TheStreet, which will soon publish its annual compendium.

Merck won US approval to market Bridion, an injectable drug to speed up a patient’s recovery following surgery, six years after the treatment was first rejected, Pharma Times writes.

A California jury added $70 million in damages to the $9.8 million awarded last week to a woman who claimed a Johnson & Johnson hemorrhoid stapler was defective and caused her anus to be stapled shut, MassDevice says.

The Indian government plans to boost domestic production of active pharmaceutical ingredients in response to dominance by Chinese suppliers, The Economic Times tells us.

Arsia Therapeutics struck a $100 million deal to help reformulate Biogen’s two hemophilia drugs that were launched last year, according to The Boston Business Journal.