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And so, another working week is about to come to a close. And this was a particularly long one for us, since we were traipsing around the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference the past few days. What better way to recuperate, though, than to daydream about weekend plans? Our agenda is quite modest. We look forward to spending time with Mrs. Pharmalot and our shortest of short people, and take a few naps. And you? The long weekend may be a good time to catch up with friends, tidy around the castle and simply enjoy life. Whatever you do, have a grand time. But be safe. See you soon …

One person is brain dead and five others are seriously ill after participating in a clinical trial for an unnamed drug company at a clinic in France, The Guardian reports. The French health ministry said the six patients were in good health until taking the pill. Another report said the drug was a painkiller containing cannabinoids, an active ingredient found in cannabis plants.

More companies that make hemophilia drugs, as well as specialty pharmacies that dispense the treatments, are hiring patients and their relatives in hopes of gaining access and boosting sales, The New York Times writes. “There are a lot more patients that work in industry now than ever before,” Michelle Rice, vice president for public policy and stakeholder relations at the National Hemophilia Foundation, told the paper.


Merck agreed to pay $830 million to resolve a long-running, class-action lawsuit that accused the drug maker of hiding the risks of its Vioxx painkiller. The drug maker withdrew the pill in 2004 after a clinical trial indicated an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Three years later, Merck agreed to pay $4.85 billion to settle lawsuits brought by patients. The company expects that insurance will cover about $150 million of the latest settlement.

The Italian Medicines Agency reached a deal with drug makers that sets payment for cancer treatments based on how well patients respond, Bloomberg News reports. And in situations in which a medicine does not help patients, a drug maker is obligated to offer a refund. More than 90 such contracts were signed in 2014, compare with fewer than 20 in 2012.


The US Patent and Trademark Office denied petitions filed by Amgen to review two patents on Humira, which could set back its efforts to sell a biosimilar version of the best-selling AbbVie drug, Reuters says.

Five years after a partner at the Reed Smith law firm stepped in front of a train, his widow moved closer to trial accusing GlaxoSmithKline of hiding the suicide risks of its Paxil antidepressant, The American Lawyer says.

More than 62,000 bottles of Azithromycin tablets manufactured by Wockhardt, one of India’s largest generic drug makers, are being recalled by PD-Rx Pharmaceuticals in the US, The Economic Times reports.

A federal appeals court upheld a lower-court ruling that found Eli Lilly did not discriminate against three former female employees, The Indiana Lawyer writes.

Philidor Rx Services, the specialty pharmacy that Valeant Pharmaceuticals had used to boost its sales, is letting go of 264 employees in the Phoenix area, The Phoenix Business Journal says.

Giving healthy gay men HIV drugs before they are exposed to the virus could prevent many cases and significantly reduce incidence of the disease, Pharma Times tells us.