And so, another working week will soon draw to a close. Not a moment too soon, yes? The usual pace, however, is already slowing down, because many stock markets are closed today for a holiday. This gives us an opportunity to daydream about weekend plans. Our agenda includes escorting Mrs. Pharmalot to a show, catching up on some reading, and taking a few naps. And what about you? Need we remind you that taxes will soon be due? Meanwhile, you could tidy up around the castle now that spring is here. Or you could connect with someone special. Whatever you do, have a grand time. But be safe. See you soon …

A federal jury in California ordered Gilead Sciences to pay Merck $200 million for infringing two Merck patents in a case involving Gilead’s two blockbuster drugs for treating hepatitis C. Earlier this week, the same jury upheld the validity of the patents. The damages, however, are much less than the $2 billion that Merck sought. A separate trial will decide whether Merck should also receive 10 percent in royalties on sales of Gilead’s Sovaldi and Harvoni drugs.

William Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital hedge fund is one of the biggest investors in Valeant Pharmaceuticals, has been asked to supply information to the US Senate Special Committee on Aging, which is probing price hikes in the pharmaceutical industry, Reuters reports. A letter the committee sent did not specifically mention Valeant. In any event, Ackman indicated that he will cooperate.

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Robert Goldfarb, the head of Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb, the investment firm with the largest stake in Valeant Pharmaceuticals, is retiring after his firm took huge losses from its bet on the drug maker, the Associated Press says.

India’s National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority may settle disputes with drug makers over penalties for allegedly charging too much for medicines, The Economic Times tells us.

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The person now at the center of an illegal vaccine scandal in China had been sentenced for similar crimes but was then allowed to resume his activities after being given a suspended sentence, Reuters says.

Poland’s ruling conservatives plan to reinstate a prescription requirement for the “morning after” emergency contraceptive pills, reflecting Catholic Church pressure, according to Reuters.

Forum Pharmaceuticals plans to lay off up to 89 employees after a late-stage trial of its lead drug for Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia was halted by the Food and Drug Administration, The Boston Business Journal writes.

Respironics agreed to pay $34.8 million to settle US Department of Justice claims it paid kickbacks to induce suppliers to buy its masks for patients suffering from sleep apnea, Reuters reports.

A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day in science and medicine

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