And so, another working week will soon draw to a close. Not a moment too soon, yes? This is, as you know, our treasured signal to daydream about weekend plans. Our agenda is, as usual, rather modest. We hope to catch up on our reading, take a few naps, and escort Mrs. Pharmalot to the latest installment of our “Let’s-see-them-before-they-die” concert series. And you? If you crave excitement, you could prepare your taxes or handicap the voting for presidential candidates. Perhaps, instead, this is an opportunity to make time to seek out someone special. Whatever you do, have a grand time, but be safe. See you soon …
Bayer has infuriated doctors in New Zealand for withdrawing free supplies of its Xarelto blood thinner after failing to win a state subsidy, Radio New Zealand reports. Last December, the drug maker gave three months warning and then withdrew free supplies to 1,500 patients. PHARMAC, the state agency, said companies supplying medicines for free have an ethical obligation to continue the practice as long as patients benefit.
Scientists at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have identified a gene known as PRMT5 that may be a promising target for drugs to knock out cancer cells, The Boston Globe writes. “This is an exciting new research target,” Bill Sellers, global head of oncology at Novartis Institutes, told the paper. “If we can make the right therapy, it would selectively kill tumors.”
Unlike most private insurance plans, which are required to cover recommended vaccines at no cost to patients, most Medicare beneficiaries do not have the same coverage, Drug Store News writes, citing research from Avalere Health. Just 12 percent of people enrolled in Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans were eligible to receive 10 recommended vaccines without having to pay out-of-pocket costs, up from 5 percent last year.
The Food and Drug Administration will allow Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical to supply an ingredient for chemotherapy to the US due to a shortage, even its other products were recently banned due to quality issues, Regulatory Focus says. The import ban took place last fall after the agency issued a warning letter.
The European Commission has granted marketing authorization for two AstraZeneca medicines — Brilique for heart attack patients and Zurampic for gout, MarketWatch reports.
Novartis received a breakthrough therapy designation from the Food and Drug Administration for an experimental treatment being developed to combat acute myeloid leukemia, Reuters says.
Teva Pharmaceutical made several concessions to the European Union in order to win approval of its deal to pay $40.5 billion for the Allergan generics business, Bloomberg News tells us.
IBM Watson Health agreed to pay $2.6 billion to buy Truven Health Analytics, which provides data to US federal and state government agencies, hospitals, employers, and drug makers, MedCity News writes.
Hemispherx dumped its longtime chief executive and vowed to adopt a strict policy against nepotism, Fierce Pharma informs us.