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Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. However, this is already an abbreviated session on this side of the pond, thanks to a federal holiday. We hope the respite was rewarding, because this means there is twice as much to do today, thanks to an accelerated schedule of meetings, phone calls, and the like. So the time has come to get cracking. As always, here are some tidbits to get you started. Have a smashing day and do stay in touch …

Johnson & Johnson plans to cut about 3,000 jobs, or 4 percent to 6 percent of the positions in its medical devices unit, over the next two years. The move, which is designed to save between $800 million and $1 billion, would affect the orthopedics, surgery, and cardiovascular businesses, according to a statement. The health care giant employs about 127,000 people, including roughly 60,000 in the devices unit, which generated $27.5 billion in sales last year.

Wockhardt says that problems at a plant that were noted in an FDA report are not “critical” and should be resolved over the next two months, The Economic Times reports. The generic drug maker says none of the issues at the Shendra facility, which produces various capsules and tablets for the United Kingdom and Ireland, were related to data integrity. Two other plants are banned from shipping products to the US market.


The Brazilian government plans to provide funding to a research center that will work on developing a vaccine against the Zika virus, the Associated Press reports. Brazil is currently experiencing the largest known outbreak of the virus, which has been linked to a recent surge in birth defects, including microcephaly.

Zika virus, which can be transmitted by mosquitos, has exploded onto the world stage in recent weeks. Alex Hogan/STAT

In an unusual move, Sarepta Therapeutics filed yet another briefing document in advance of an FDA advisory panel meeting to be held on Friday to review its drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Although the drug maker already submitted its briefing documents, the new nine-page filing was made after the FDA posted a negative review of the drug on the agency web site late last week.


The Indian government is considering a proposal to limit drug price margins to 35 percent, according to The Economic Times. The move is in response to claims that some wholesalers and retail pharmacies are charging excessive prices of as much as 3,000 percent, in some cases. India already caps the price of 680 drugs on its National List of Essential Medicines.

Acorda Therapeutics agreed to pay $363 million to buy Biotie Therapies and gain access to a Parkinson’s drug, The Street reports.

The Harvoni hepatitis C drug made by Gilead Sciences is about to become available in Egypt at a discounted rate, according to The Egypt Independent.

New research from Johns Hopkins University found a compound that could treat symptoms of depression within hours, part of a wave of research into fast-acting antidepressants, STAT writes.

Biogen and Samsung Group won European Commission approval for their biosimilar version of the Enbrel rheumatoid arthritis treatment sold by Amgen, The Boston Globe reports.

The number of prescriptions dispensed in England for medications that are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease has jumped sixfold from a decade ago, Pharma Times writes.

A Philadelphia judge added nearly $800,000 to a $12.5 million verdict that was awarded in a case last month in which Johnson & Johnson failed to properly warn about the risks of its pelvic mesh, The Legal Intelligencer says.