Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. Although this will be an abbreviated stretch due to the impending holiday. Nonetheless, we are as busy as ever. After all, the world continues to spin. This calls for a cup or more of delicious stimulation, and we hope that you will join us. Remember, no prescription is required. So time to dig in, and here are some tidbits to get you started. Hope you have a smashing day and do stay in touch …

University of Minnesota employees with cancer face a cost-saving new rule under their health plan called “split fill,” The Wall Street Journal says. If they start an expensive drug, they get just a two-week supply instead of a month’s supply, so a nurse can confirm they are doing well enough to receive the full prescription. The idea is to avoid paying for medicines that go unused.

Even after considering discounts and rebates, US prices for seven of eight top-selling drugs exceeded prices that were examined in most other countries, according to Bloomberg News. Although brand-name drug prices in the US are typically higher than in other developed countries, the pharmaceutical industry regularly argues that list prices are misleading because these fail to include discounts and rebates.

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Sun Pharmaceuticals, one of India’s largest drug makers, was issued a warning letter by the Food and Drug Administration for manufacturing problems at a plant in Halol, Gujarat, The Economic Times writes. The facility is among the largest the company runs and is used to ship multiple formulations to the United States. The plant was inspected by the FDA in September 2014 after agency identified numerous violations of standard manufacturing practices.

The FDA is formally investigating complaints by two ex-Theranos employees, which claim the company told workers to keep testing patients with its tests despite knowing about serious errors, and that a herpes study submitted to the FDA was tainted, according to The Wall Street Journal. The FDA and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have interviewed at least one of the complaining employees.

A Novartis (NVS) exec says that drug makers must move to a different pricing model in which the benefits of new medicines involve sharing more of the benefits with health systems and insurers, according to Reuters.

Shire plans to sweeten its all-stock, $20 billion offer for Baxalta with a possible $8 billion cash payment in hopes of convincing its rival to accept a deal, City AM reports.

Bayer (BAYRY) and CRISPR Therapeutics have struck a $335 million deal to discover and develop drugs for blood disorders, blindness, and congenital heart disease, Xconomy tells us.

Amgen (AMGN) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) denied a rumor posted on an industry forum that the FDA is investigating side effect reports of serious brain infections in patients taking PCSK9 inhibitors, CardioBrief writes.

The pharmaceutical industry and law enforcement organizations are clashing over plans in Indiana to require a prescription to buy cold medicines also used to make methamphetamine, the Associated Press writes.

Threshold Pharmaceuticals plans to lay off up to 25 people, or nearly 40 percent of its staff, after an experimental cancer medicine failed two late-stage studies, The San Francisco Business Times says.

Almost half of all manufacturers have reported production downtime as a result of barcode labelling problems, writes InPharma Technologist, citing a new survey.

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