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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. Once again, our agenda is rather modest. We plan to spend time with our shortest person, promenade with the official mascots, and enjoy a few naps. And what about you? Tax time is nearing. And spring is springing, so this may be an opportunity to tidy up around the castle. Or maybe you can take a moment to take stock, as they say. Whatever you do, have a grand time, but be safe. See you soon …

Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Texas federal jury to pay $498 million to five plaintiffs who claimed they were injured by Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants made by the company’s DePuy unit, Reuters writes. This was the second federal trial involving the Pinnacle device. In that first case, which occurred in 2014, J&J was cleared of liability. The health care giant intends to appeal the verdict.

Michael Pearson, the embattled chief executive officer at Valeant Pharmaceuticals, sent employees a memo to reassure them the drug maker is not going bankrupt and to apologize for the recent turmoil, Bloomberg News reports. Valeant shares plunged this week amid lowered financial guidance, government probes, and new disclosures about disappointing performance among key product lines. The news service notes that Valeant is struggling to turn the Addyi female sexual dysfunction pill into a winner due to its high price and limited efficacy.


GlaxoSmithKline chief executive officer Andrew Witty may be retiring at this time next year, but he insists his strategy for guiding the drug maker is unchanged, Reuters says. “I can tell you the board is unanimously committed to the strategy and the structure of the group,” he tells the news service. Witty swapped the cancer unit to Novartis for a vaccine business and is growing consumer health products.

The more money that doctors are paid by drug makers, the more they tend to prescribe brand-name medicines, according to a ProPublica analysis. For instance, physicians who received more than $5,000 from industry in 2014 typically had the highest rate of brand-name prescribing. Among internists who received no payments, the average brand-name prescribing rate was 20 percent, but 30 percent for those who were paid more than $5,000.


Wall Street analysts do not issue a sell rating very often for drug stocks, Bloomberg News informs us. Only about 5 percent of the ratings on 1,778 US companies worth at least $1 billion are rated as a sell, and for drug companies, just 2.5 percent are rated that way. “‘Sell’ is a four-letter word,” Lawrence Brown, an accounting professor at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, tells the news service.

Walgreens struck a deal with OptumRx, the pharmacy benefits unit at UnitedHealth Group, to provide more services to OptumRx members at its stores, the Wall Street Journal says.

An Indian court awarded a reprieve to two more drug makers — Wockhardt and Laborate Pharmaceuticals — from a government ban on 344 fixed dose combination drugs, Live Mint tells us.

Roche and Kite Pharma will collaborate on a combination cancer therapy involving their PD-L1 and CAR-T therapies, respectively, according to Bloomberg News.