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Good morning, everyone, and nice to see you again. We are scrambling a bit after a late-night return from the STAT headquarters, but happy to be ensconced once again in the cozy confines of the Pharmalot campus, where we are quaffing cups of stimulation. Our flavor this week is Cinnamon Dolce. Feel free to join us. Remember that no prescription is required. Meanwhile, here are your tidbits. Have a wonderful day and please keep in touch …

Novo Nordisk plans to cut 1,000 jobs, or 2 percent of its workforce, as the company faces a price war in the diabetes market. The cuts, about half of which will occur at its headquarters in Denmark, will include an unspecified number of R&D staffers. The move comes after its top-selling NovoLog insulin was excluded from the national formulary maintained by Express Scripts, the largest US pharmacy benefits manager.

Hillary Clinton wrote this in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine: “I will work to remove barriers to competition by streamlining approval of high-quality biosimilar and generic drugs. That includes proposals to ensure that drug companies justify their prices, eliminate ‘pay to delay’ practices, and allow Medicare to directly negotiate for better prices. I will also create a new Federal consumer response team charged with identifying excessive price spikes in long-standing, life-saving treatments, and give them effective new tools to respond.”


The EpiPen device that has caused a ruckus in the US due to constant price hikes and its $608 cost is available for just $69 in the UK, Bloomberg News writes. Why? The UK government and the industry negotiate deals that set a limit on the health services spending and require drug makers to repay any amount that exceeds the fixed cap. Most companies do so, which is how the price of EpiPen and its two local rivals was set.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals lowered full-year revenue estimates for its newest cystic fibrosis drug, confirming fears that sales are not taking off as hoped, the Boston Business Journal writes. The drug maker now expects Orkambi sales to end up anywhere from $950 million and $990 million, but earlier this year indicated sales would be anywhere between $1 billion to $1.1 billion.


Despite 30 years of research and a bigger pipeline than ever, only a small number of gene therapy trials have completed late-stage testing or are currently in late-stage trials, MIT Technology Review writes. In fact, the majority of gene therapies are in Phase 1 trials and probably won’t reach patients for many years, and only six late-stage gene therapy trials are actively open or recruiting patients.

Sarepta Therapeutics and Catabasis Pharmaceuticals will test a combination of their drugs to determine whether muscle damage in boys suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy can be slowed.

China’s Food and Drug Administration withdrew more than 1,100 drug registration applications following a recent yearlong government investigation into clinical trials in the country, Outsourcing Pharma tells us.

Cipla, which is India’s third-largest drug maker, is trimming costs by freezing pay for 300 to 400 of its top managers, according to the Economic Times.

GlaxoSmithKline named Brian McNamara as chief executive of its consumer health care division, succeeding Emma Walmsley, who was named to succeed Andrew Witty next March as head of the drug maker.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, increase risk of heart failure by 19 percent in elderly patients, the Guardian writes, citing a study in the BMJ.

Sanofi will receive $43.2 million in funding from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop a Zika vaccine, the European Pharmaceutical Review says.

Cheng Fong Chemical addressed problems at a troubled plant, but still needs to identify the source of foreign matter found in its ingredients, according to a warning letter issued by the US Food and Drug Administration.