Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. After the blizzard that enveloped the Pharmalot campus — and millions of other homes — we are more than happy to return to the usual routine of meetings, deadlines, and whatnot. Of course, after digging out from the snow, this means digging into the to-do list. So no time like now to get moving. Please join us for a cup of stimulation as we prepare. As always, here are some tidbits to get the process underway. Have a great day and do keep in touch…
Roche has begun an internal investigation after reports its Avastin cancer drug was used to treat certain eye ailments and damaged the vision of 15 patients, The Economic Times reports. The medicine is widely used off-label to combat age-related macular degeneration, although the drug maker has repeatedly warned over the years that physicians should not do so. Indian authorities issued a health alert and blocked the sale of all batches, meanwhile.
The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found serious deficiencies at a Theranos laboratory in Northern California that were “far more severe” than the problems noted at the same lab in a December 2013 inspection, according to The Wall Street Journal. The specific problems are not yet known, but the details are expected to be released shortly.
The UK’s National Health Service could have saved $77 million last year if an ongoing patent case had not restricted use of generic versions of Pfizer’s Lyrica, Pharma Times tells us. Pfizer obtained an additional patent protecting the drug as a pain treatment until July 2017, and argued generics would inevitably be used for the indication and infringe its patent. A court disagreed, but Pfizer is appealing. The NHS, meanwhile, has had to pay the brand price.
Drug shortages in emergency rooms across the United States increased by more than 400 percent between 2001 and 2014, The Washington Post says, citing a study published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals released a memo from chief executive Michael Pearson, who is on medical leave, saying he is recovering but his return is uncertain.
Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline joined with three UK universities, including the University of Cambridge, to fund a $57 million early-stage drug development effort, The Economic Times writes.
Catabasis Pharmaceuticals released trial data showing three different doses of its drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy were generally safe in an early-stage trial of 17 boys, The Boston Business Journal reports.
Five Indian drug makers, including Aurobindo, Cipla, and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, are in talks to buy Sagent Pharmaceuticals, an injectables maker, The International Business Times says.
Novo Nordisk plans to expand operations in Iran now that economic sanctions have been lifted, according to The Tehran Times.
The Food and Drug Administration expanded use of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo cancer drug for use to treat metastatic melanoma, MedPage Today tells us.