And so, another working week will soon draw to a close. Not a moment too soon, yes? This is, you may recall, our treasured signal to daydream about weekend plans. Our agenda is rather busy. We plan to escort Mrs. Pharmalot to a rent party, accompany one of our short people on a charity mission, and catch up on our reading. And what about you? This is a fine time to enjoy the great outdoors or visit someone special. Perhaps you need to tidy up around your castle. Whatever you do, have a grand time. But be safe. See you soon …
A lobbyist warned that it will be challenging to uphold a tax break that allows drug makers to write off money they spend on advertising and marketing, Medical Marketing & Media reports. A Senate bill was proposed in March to end the deduction and it will be “one of the hardest things to defend,” Jim Davidson, chair of the the Advertising Tax Coalition, told an industry conference.
Harvard Medical School is loosening some conflict-of-interest rules that currently prevent research scientists from doing work on clinical trials for companies in which they have a financial interest, at least in some situations, according to STAT. The school is raising thresholds on how much income or equity researchers have in a public company before they are barred from doing clinical research.
A California ballot initiative designed to cap drug prices may or may not save money, California Healthline writes. If passed in November, the measure would prohibit the state from paying more for medicines than the lowest price paid by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. But a preliminary report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office says it is “highly uncertain” how much will be saved, since VA cost data isn’t known and drug makers could raise prices.
John Hendrickson, who succeeded Joe Papa as Perrigo chief executive, skewered the drug maker’s performance under his predecessor, Bloomberg News says. He told analysts the “recent track record of performance against our own expectations is unacceptable.” Said Piper Jaffray analyst David Amsellem: “Basically, Joe Papa just high-tailed it out of Perrigo, and kind of left the company in shambles.” Papa is now running Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
A database created by ProPublica to track physician prescribing habits is being used by some people to shop around for doctors more likely to give them addictive painkillers. “This is not a new problem for journalists, or others whose business is providing or sharing information. In another era, burglars would read the obituary pages so they could target the homes of people who had just died,” ProPublica editor Stephen Engelberg wrote in a statement.
The US Food and Drug Administration is requiring boxed warnings about serious and sometimes disabling side effects caused by a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. The side effects can involve damage to tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and the central nervous system. Most are sold as generics, but well-known brand names include Bayer’s Cipro and Johnson & Johnson’s Levaquin.
Ranbaxy whistleblower Dinesh Thakur plans to join a public interest lawsuit filed by a consumer advocate who wants three manufacturing plants banned, the Economic Times says. The reason for proposed ban? The plants allegedly supplied adulterated drugs. Meanwhile, Sun Pharmaceutical, which acquired Ranbaxy two years ago, it in 2014, insists it is not aware of any current problems at the plants.
Several dozen groups wrote the FDA to ditch its plan for naming biosimilars, arguing that specific suffixes attached to each drug name would be easier for physicians.
Chiasma may dispute an FDA rejection last month of its rare disease drug that targets acromegaly, which causes a patient’s feet, hands, and internal organs to become enlarged, the Boston Business Journal says.