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Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. We hope the weekend respite was refreshing and invigorating because that familiar routine of meetings, deadlines and whatnot has returned. You knew this would happen, yes? To cope, as always, we are downing several cups of delicious stimulation and, of course, invite you to join us. Meanwhile, here are some tidbits. Have a smashing day and do keep in touch …

Some Pfizer shareholders may face large tax bills thanks to the deal to buy Allergan, The Day writes. Pfizer shareholders will be forced to exchange their shares for stock in the company that will be domiciled in Ireland, which means investors in the highest tax brackets will be required to pay a 20 percent capital gains tax. And other federal and state taxes could require affluent shareholders to 30 percent or more.

Merck chief executive Ken Frazier says that prices fund R&D, but the industry must do a better job of explaining value, The Wall Street Journal writes. “I still think there’s a challenge we have in the industry with respect to pricing and annual price increases that we’re going to have to think through,” he tells the paper. “We’re going to have to find new and better ways to link what we charge for the drug to the value that it actually creates in the marketplace.”


The US Senate plans a procedural vote today on whether Dr. Robert Califf should become commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, STAT tells us. However, some senators, who continue to oppose Califf, plan to talk “at length” about how the agency needs to do more to thwart the opioid crisis in a last-minute bid to convince their colleagues not to support him. But if Califf wins support, he is likely to win a full confirmation vote tomorrow.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin blamed the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry for the opioid crisis, not South American drug dealers, MedPage Today says.


Amgen and UCB say that a late-stage study of an experimental bone-forming drug found fewer new spinal fractures following months of injections in women with osteoporosis compared with those on placebo, TheStreet reports.

The European Commission approved Bayer’s Kovaltry, a hemophilia A drug, for treating of patients from all age groups, according to Reuters.

The FDA agreed to review a Sanofi diabetes treatment that combines its Lantus insulin and Lyxumia GLP-1 receptor agonist for adults with type 2 diabetes, Pharma Times writes.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed updates that include steps to limit drug spending in Part D plans and to curtail opioid abuse, BioCentury reports.

Children in one Chinese province are widely exposed to antibiotics from tainted drinking water and food, which may harm long-term health, Reuters reports, citing new research.