Hello, everyone, and welcome to the middle of the week. Although this is often a slow time of year, it has been a busy few days, lately, yes? Well, that can only mean one thing — time for another cup of stimulation. The neurons need a little help, you know? So feel free to join us. Meanwhile, we have, once again, gathered some tidbits to help you on your own journey. Hope this is a productive day and do keep us in mind when something fascinating occurs …
The US Food and Drug Administration approved the first biosimilar version of Enbrel, which is sold by Amgen (AMGN) and used to treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, among other things. However, commercial availability may be delayed until March, because US courts have ruled companies must wait 180 days after winning FDA approval before sales can start. The biosimilar version will be called Erelzi and marketed by Sandoz, the generic unit of Novartis (NVS).
A UK charity called the National AIDS Trust is turning to crowdfunding to finance a legal challenge against the National Health Service, Pharmaphorum says. The NHS refused to cover the HIV prevention pill known as Truvada, which is sold by Gilead Sciences (GILD), because the agency believes local authorities have responsibility to pay for such treatments. NAT argues the NHS should do so because HIV infection is increasing among gay men in England.
An increasing number of elderly patients nationwide are on multiple medications to treat chronic diseases, raising their chances of dangerous drug interactions and serious side effects, Kaiser Health News informs us. In fact, older adults account for about 35 percent of all hospital stays, but more than half of the visits are marked by drug-related complications.
Express Scripts will be starting a program in March that is designed to cap the costs that diabetes patients incur for treatment, according to The St. Louis Business Journal. The pharmacy benefits manager believes that the per-patient spending cap will cut rising costs in half for members in participating health plans and also boost medication adherence rates for enrolled patients by 5 percent.
Teva Pharmaceuticals is a closing a Pomona, N.Y., R&D facility and eliminating 236 jobs, according to a notice filed with state officials. A spokeswoman says only 80 employees will be affected and some jobs may be shifted elsewhere.
A drug called Niclocide, which is already on the market to treat worm infections, and another being tested against liver diseases may also help treat Zika virus infections, NBC News informs us.
Cancer Research UK initiated a first-of-its-kind clinical trial to explore whether pancreatic cancer cells can be made make more responsive to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, PharmaTimes says.
Impax Laboratories issued a voluntary recall for one lot of its Lamotrigine orally disintegrating tablets due to incorrect labeling of its blister packs, InPharma Technologist writes.
Rigel Pharmaceutical said its experimental drug, fostamatinib, met the primary endpoint in a Phase 3 study of patients with an autoimmune platelet disease, TheStreet reports.
Vectura Group said its Flutiform therapy failed to meet the primary endpoint in a late-stage trial for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, Reuters says.