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Top of the morning to you. A warm and shiny sun is enveloping the Pharmalot campus, where the short person has since left for the local schoolhouse and we are quietly going about our business. Although there is a lot that requires attention. No doubt, you can relate. So time to quaff a cup of stimulation and get cracking. As always, we have assembled a few items of interest for you. Hope you have a smashing day and do keep in touch …

Valeant Pharmaceuticals is about to overhaul its board, the Wall Street Journal reports. The move was actually disclosed Wednesday by Bill Ackman, who heads Pershing Square Capital Management and is a Valeant director, during his Senate testimony on drug pricing. Five long-standing board members are expected to leave and will be replaced with people who have substantial experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

A federal judge in New Jersey granted preliminary approval for a lawsuit accusing Merck of underpaying female sales reps to proceed as a collective action. The lawsuit, which seeks $250 million in damages, alleges the drug maker systematically discriminated by paying the reps less than their male counterparts, denying them promotions, and subjecting them to sexual harassment. The lawsuit also claims pregnant employees were often pressured to leave.

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Pfizer finalized an agreement to pay $784 million to settle litigation with the federal government and several states that alleged its Wyeth unit overcharged state Medicaid programs for the Protonix heartburn drug. As we noted previously, the 14-year-old litigation is being settled for substantially less than the $2 billion in liability that the US Department of Justice contended the drug maker faced.

Abbott Laboratories agreed to buy St. Jude Medical for $25 billion to bolster its heart and neurological devices business, Reuters writes.

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After a decade, an experiment by the European Medicines Agency to increase access to medicines in low- and middle-income countries is seeing limited success, Regulatory Focus tells us.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals reported disappointing sales of its expensive Orkambi cystic fibrosis drug, because 15 percent of patients stopped taking the medicine within three months due to side effects, the Wall Street Journal writes.

Mylan Laboratories and Biocon are fuming over restrictions an Indian court placed on their ability to sell biosimilar versions of Roche’s Herceptin cancer treatment, the Economic Times says.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved a long-acting, abuse-deterrent painkiller from Collegium Pharmaceutical, according to Reuters.