Good morning, everyone, and how are you today? We are just fine, thank you, and chugging along, as usual. The shortest of the short people has left for the local schoolhouse, the official mascots are snoozing on the official office furniture, and we are brewing another cup of stimulation in our coffee kettle. There will be plenty of brewing today since there is much to be done. No doubt, you may relate. So time to get cracking. Here are a few items of interest for you to peruse. Hope your day is a success and, of course, do keep in touch. We enjoy your notes …
Walmart, which is the world’s biggest retailer, is teaming with McKesson (MCK), the largest pharmaceutical distributor in the US, to purchase generic drugs, a move that will allow the companies to use their collective size to get better prices, Bloomberg News explains. Walmart has about $20 billion of annual pharmaceutical sales, including about $4 billion from generics, according to an investor note from Evercore ISI analyst Ross Muken.
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation awarded a $3.6 million grant to Bioethics International so the nonprofit can expand its Good Pharma Scorecard, which tracks clinical trial transparency. The first edition of the scorecard, released last year, ranked the 20 largest drug makers and their new medicines based on the degree to which clinical trial results were disclosed. “The process involves setting standards, benchmarking performance of the drugs and companies against those standards, recognizing best practices and providing incentives for reform,” says Jennifer Miller, who heads the nonprofit.
AstraZeneca’s plans to rebuild its product portfolio received a boost with positive study results for an experimental biotech drug for severe asthma, Reuters reports. Benralizumab, which may become available next year, was well-tolerated and succeeded in reducing asthma attacks in two pivotal late-stage clinical trials. AstraZeneca hopes the drug will become a $2 billion seller.
A who’s who of hedge funds are abandoning Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which was once a highly popular Wall Street bet, according to Bloomberg News. At the same time, short seller Andrew Left, whose scathing report on Valeant accounting practices last fall set off an investor tizzy, has taken a long position in the stock. “I don’t think they’re going to make any decisions that are going to torpedo their company,” he told TheStreet.
A Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors vote on a proposal to require drug makers to fund a take-back program is facing its fourth postponement since its introduction last year, KPCC reports. A county supervisor, who sponsored the local ordinance, asked the board to delay until June 14 a vote that was scheduled for Tuesday in order to provide more time for all sides to reach an agreement. The pharmaceutical industry opposes the proposal.
A newly published study showing Novartis’s Ultibro Breezhaler outdid GlaxoSmithKline’s Seretide on reducing COPD flare-ups could challenge current reliance on inhaled corticosteroids, Pharma Times tells us.
Zoetis (ZTS) is shipping the first prescription drug to help dogs cope with anxiety over loud noises, the Associated Press writes. The anxiety is linked to property destruction, dogs running away from home, and life-threatening injuries.
Jazz Pharmaceuticals received a subpoena from the US attorney in Massachusetts asking for documents about its support of charitable organizations providing assistance to Medicare patients, according to a regulatory filing.
The Indian health ministry asked drug and device trade associations to share their views on easing the drug regulation in the country, but other trade groups criticized the move, The Economic Times says.