Hello, everyone, and nice to see you again after an extended weekend. Of course, playing catch-up is now a challenge, so we are fortifying ourselves for the big scramble with several cups of stimulation — our flavor, once again, is Pumpkin Spice, for those keeping track. As always, here are some items of interest as we motor along. We would like to note that we will be off tomorrow for a day of reflection. Meanwhile, we hope all goes well in your world …
Pediatricians in Texas say there is a dramatic rise in parents asking about making do-it-yourself EpiPens as a way of saving money, according to NBCDFW.com. Doctors say families are asking them to create a do-it-yourself EpiPens for them, which pediatricians generally won’t do for liability reasons. And they warn a big risk in doing it yourself is getting the dose of epinephrine wrong, because too much of the drug could cause cardiac arrest in a child.
The prices for insulin are rising, but drug makers, including Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk, are collecting about the same or less revenue than they did several years ago, the Wall Street Journal writes. The prices, which have more than doubled since 2011, reflect the growing role of middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers who negotiate rebates and fees based on list prices.
Dermatologists received “substantial” payments from the pharmaceutical industry, according to a study in JAMA Dermatology that analyzed the OpenPayments federal database. The researchers identified 8,333 dermatologists who received 208,613 payments totaling more than $34 million. The top 10 percent received 90 percent of the payments, which exceeded $31 million. The top 1 percent each received at least $93,600.
Nevada prison officials say they will have to explore options to carry out executions after not receiving any bids from drug makers to supply medicines for lethal injections, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The state issued 247 requests for proposals on Sept. 2 after its stockpile of at least one drug used in executions had expired, but not one response was received.
Patients with advanced lung cancer who were given Merck’s Keytruda immunotherapy as a first treatment lived longer on average than those given chemotherapy in a study, the Wall Street Journal says. The results could portend a big shift in treatment and help Merck gain ground on Bristol-Myers Squibb, which released its own study data showing its Opdivo medicine failed to significantly prolong survival beyond chemotherapy.
Hanmi Pharmaceuticals is being investigated by South Korea’s financial authorities into reports the drug maker leaked information on terminating its licensing partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim before making an official disclosure, the Korea Herald reports. The Financial Service Commission said Friday that it has confiscated smartphones from Hanmi officials as part of the investigation.
France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products recommended that drugs containing ingredients made at a Nandu Chemicals Industries site in Hubli, India, should be recalled after uncovering “serious” problems during an inspection in August, according to this report. The regulator cited instances of data falsification, and it remains unclear how many products will be affected.
India’s drug regulator proposed scrapping the renewal of licenses and approvals for manufacturing and selling drugs as part of an effort to remove hurdles for industry, the Economic Times writes. The regulator is also considering upgrading manufacturing practices so they are on par with the World Health Organization guidelines. But some consumer groups say the change in licensing would affect the quality of medicines.
Statements made by GlaxoSmithKline about a price increase for its Panadol Osteo painkiller and its removal from the Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme were “ambiguous” but not misleading, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission concluded. The drug maker late last year told wholesalers the price would rise by 50 percent, one month after the drug was to be removed from the list, because it was also available over the counter.
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals says a Phase 3 trial for one of its drugs will continue, which may ease after another trial was stopped last week after patient deaths, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The US Food and Drug Administration rejected an eye drug developed by Nicox because of manufacturing problems at its ingredients supplier, InPharma Technologist says.
Celgene’s Otezla is being backed for routine use on the National Health Service in England and Wales to treat psoriatic arthritis, according to PharmaTimes.