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Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the middle of the week. Somehow, we all made it this far, so why not celebrate with a cup or three of stimulation? After all, there is much more to be done and, unlike the official Pharmalot mascots, we cannot break for a nap. No doubt, you can relate. So to help you along, here are some tidbits. Hope your day is productive and, as always, do keep in touch …

Novartis has stopped making tuberculosis drugs in Pakistan over a pricing dispute, prompting fears of a health crisis due to a shortage of drugs, Reuters reports. The drug maker, which is one of just four companies selling treatments in a country with the world’s fifth-largest TB rate, maintains pricing caps have not been significantly raised since 2001. “It’s an emergency in the making,” said Naseem Salahuddin, an infectious disease doctor in Karachi.

A Food and Drug Administration panel recommended that a Valeant Pharmaceuticals drug for psoriasis should be approved, Reuters writes. The panelists believe there is a need for new drugs, despite a suicide risk associated with this medicine. To mitigate that concern, they suggested including a boxed warning and a patient registry to collect patient data and more clearly assess suicide risks among patients.


Owen Smith, who is battling for leadership of the UK’s Labor party, headed corporate communications and public affairs at the British division of Amgen while the biotech company was being investigated for illegal marketing, the Guardian says. After working at Pfizer, he moved in 2008 to Amgen, which was ultimately fined $762 million for illegally promoting the Aranesp anemia drug to cancer patients.

Zafgen is suspending the development of its beloranib obesity drug and cutting its workforce by about 34 percent, MarketWatch writes. The move, which sent its stock down 42 percent in extended trading Tuesday, came after the FDA last December asked the company to halt all tests on the drug after a second patient died from an artery blockage in the lung.


Activists attending the 2016 International AIDS Conference held in South Africa presented a huge greeting card addressed to President Obama from the pharmaceutical industry to US Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, thanking the US government for “doing big pharma’s bidding all over the world.”

Valeant Pharmaceuticals received FDA approval for Relistor tablets to treat opioid-induced constipation for patients with non-cancer pain, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Legal loopholes and poor enforcement let criminals in China divert pharmaceutical ingredients for illegal drug production, InPharma Technologist reports, citing a US congressional committee.

Novartis is not in a rush to sell its 36.5 percent stake in a consumer health joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline before an agreed trigger date in 2018, according to Reuters.

Pfizer plans to add up to 350 new jobs as part of a multimillion dollar expansion of its Grange Castle campus in Dublin, the Irish Times reports.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories argued in court that India’s National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority wrongfully revised the ceiling price of its amlodipine high blood pressure tablet, the Economic Times says.

The FDA expanded use of Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly’s Synjardy to include treatment-naïve adults with type 2 diabetes, PharmaTimes tells us.