Good morning, everyone, and how are you today? The sun is struggling to peek through the dense clouds covering the Pharmalot campus, where one of the short people and the official mascots are sleeping in. We, however, are pursuing our usual routine of foraging for interesting items. Toward that end, we have collected a few for you. So grab a cup of stimulation as you digest. Meanwhile, hope you have a smashing day and do stay in touch …
Sanofi is ready to raise its $9.3 billion offer to buy Medivation and its Xtandi prostate cancer drug and threatened to launch a hostile bid. “If you are not prepared to engage with us, we have no choice but to go directly to your shareholders,” Sanofi chief executive Olivier Brandicourt wrote to Medivation. “… If the Medivation board continues to refuse to engage with us, then we intend to commence a process to remove and replace members of the board.”
A US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel endorsed mandatory training for doctors who prescribe opioid painkillers, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We need to teach people to use these drugs sparingly,” said Jeanmarie Perrone, a professor of emergency medicine and toxicologist at the University of Pennsylvania, who was one of the panel members. Some physicians have complained FDA education requirements are insufficient.
US drug makers dominated an annual global ranking of the top 10 large-cap stocks with the best five-year returns, writes Reuters, citing an analysis by the Boston Consulting Group. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which had an average annual total share return of 75.3 percent, was the top performer. Companies with over $4 billion in market cap were considered for the list and ranked based on share gains and dividend yields between 2011 and 2015.
The cost of prescription painkillers has been gradually decreasing for patients, as insurers now assume a growing share of the costs, The Hill tells us, citing research in Health Affairs. The average out-of-pocket price for 100 milligrams of morphine fell to 90 cents in 2012, down from $4.40 in 2001. And out-of-pocket spending on prescription painkillers made up about 53 percent of the total $2.3 billion market in 1999.
Vanda Pharmaceuticals has bought more than $29 million worth of airtime in the past two years for a TV ad blitz aimed at raising awareness of a rare sleep disorder for which the company makes the only drug approved by regulators, STAT writes. However, the audience at which the ads are aimed are unable to see the campaign, because they are completely blind.
While Massachusetts hepatitis C patients await a more affordable price for expensive treatments, one of their congressional representatives held stock in Gilead Sciences that totaled between $180,000 and $450,000 as of 2014, Open Secrets reports. That was the most recent year for which data was available. Gilead caused a ruckus with its high price tags. A spokeswoman for Representative Joseph Kennedy III said his holdings are managed independently by a financial adviser.
Too many preschoolers with ADHD are being put on drugs before behavior therapy is tried, the Associated Press reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 3 in 4 young children diagnosed with ADHD were put on medicines, and the trend continued, even though research shows behavior therapy is just as effective, but does not cause stomachaches, sleep problems, or other side effects.
The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is allowing another eight weeks of talks to finalize an access program for a Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug from PTC Therapeutics, according to Pharma Times. The drug, called Translarna, was recommended last week, but its approximately $320,000 cost requires a managed access agreement.
Sanofi suffered a setback in introducing its dengue vaccine in India after a top health ministry committee rejected its request to waive additional clinical trials, the Economic Times writes. Meanwhile, Sun Pharmaceuticals plans a partnership with the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, a nonprofit, to develop a botanical drug to fight the dengue virus.