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Good morning, everyone, and how are you today? We are doing just fine, thank you, helped along by the usual cups of stimulation and the unusually serene atmosphere on the Pharmalot campus. The shortest of short people is already at the local schoolhouse, and the official mascots are happily snoozing nearby. As for us, we are busy foraging for interesting developments. Meanwhile, here are some tidbits. Have a smashing day and do stay in touch …

Valeant Pharmaceuticals named former board member Howard Schiller as interim chief executive while Michael Pearson is hospitalized with severe pneumonia, The Wall Street Journal notes. Schiller is a former Goldman Sachs banker and was a key deputy and instrumental in helping Pearson turn the drug maker into a high-flying stock. He had stepped down as chief financial officer last June.

As for Michael Pearson, the ailing Valeant chief executive would lose two potential payouts if he resigns for medical reasons, Bloomberg News tells us. His employment contract says that if he steps down for “good reason,” such as a demotion, he would be entitled to a $9 million cash severance. But the payout is not triggered if he departs for a medical reason, and he could lose out on a bigger potential payout later on, according to the contract.


Generic drug makers are pushing the Senate Special Committee on Aging to support a bill that stops their brand-name rivals from using the Food and Drug Administration’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies programs to delay generic competition, Drug Store News says. In a letter sent to the committee, the generic trade group argues the measure would cut federal health care spending by about $2.4 billion in 10 years.

IMS Health Holdings paid its chief executive officer Ari Bousbib a $23.5 million stock award, more than the entire compensation packages given the heads of much larger drug makers, Bloomberg News says. For instance, Ian Read, the Pfizer chief executive, was awarded total compensation of $22.8 million in 2014. And John Lechleiter, the Eli Lilly chief executive, received $22.3 million.


A review of government databases, scientific studies, and court documents found more than 850 dietary supplements illegally contain hidden ingredients, such as banned drugs, various pharmaceuticals, and other synthetic chemicals that were tested on humans, according to Vox. Bogus supplements caused 23,000 emergency department visits each year nationwide and more than 2,000 hospitalizations.

Johnson & Johnson licensed rights from Sino Biopharmaceutical to drugs that spur the immune system to help fight various diseases in a bid to find a cure for chronic hepatitis B, Reuters reports.

Flatiron Health, a startup that uses a cloud-based platform to gather and analyze data on cancer treatments, raised $175 million in funding from investors led by Roche, The New York Times writes.

India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade has delayed implementation of track-and-trace requirements for drug exports to April 1, 2016, The Economic Times tells us.

Merck signed a deal with Quartet Medicine to advance an experimental, first-in-class pain treatment and possibly acquire the biotech company for $575 million, Pharma Times says.

PharMerica agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle allegations it illegally promoted the Aranesp anemia drug, according to Louisville Business First.

Drug makers are expected to market more biosimilars this year in Canada, where biologics accounted for 24 percent of the pharmaceutical market in 2014, according to The Financial Post.