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And so, another working week will soon draw to a close. Not a moment too soon, yes? This is, you may recall, our treasured signal to daydream about weekend plans. Our agenda is highlighted by a significant milestone for our shortest person, who turns another page in the book of life. And so, we will spend some time kvelling when not raking leaves or catching up on our reading. And what about you? The election is drawing a closer: Is your seat belt secured? If distractions are needed, you can spend time searching for the Great Pumpkin. Trick or treat, indeed. If this is not appealing, you can simply close your eyes, wiggle your nose, and wish you were someplace else. Well, whatever you do, have a grand time, but be safe. Enjoy and see you soon …

Reducing prescription drug costs is the public’s biggest priority for the next president and Congress when it comes to lowering overall health care costs, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds. Seventy-four percent believe that high-cost meds for chronic conditions should be affordable and 63 percent want the government to take action to lower drug costs.

As the election nears, the health care industry is playing a classic blame game over the rising cost of prescription medicines, Bloomberg News writes. Drug makers are blaming insurers. And insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, and hospitals are blaming drug makers. The finger-pointing will continue after the election, when you can expect to see more advertising campaigns from all sides, as well as lobbying in Washington, D.C., which will not be so visible.


Johnson & Johnson lost a third straight trial over claims its talcum powder can cause ovarian cancer as a jury awarded a California woman more than $70 million, Bloomberg News reports. J&J is accused in about 1,700 lawsuits in state and federal courts of ignoring studies linking its baby powder and talc products to ovarian cancer and failing to warn of the risks. The previous verdicts against the company were for $72 million and $55 million.

AstraZeneca suspended enrollment into two large clinical trials on head and neck cancer while it investigates whether the treatment is causing patients to bleed, the Wall Street Journal says. The drug maker observed bleeding in some patients as part of routine safety monitoring and halted recruitment to analyze those incidents. The drug, durvalumab, is being tested alone or in combination with other AstraZeneca drugs.


Landon Eckles, a former sales manager for Warner Chilcott, now owned by Allergan, was sentenced to one year’s probation and a $10,000 fine for directing sales reps to access confidential patient data, his lawyer tells us. He had pleaded guilty to violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act by filling out prescription prior authorization forms on behalf of doctors.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is planning a restructuring and, while few details have been released, changes to manufacturing and administration appear likely, PMLive tells us. The company needs to invest in biologics production and simplify its small-molecule supply network and may focus resources on core brands, suggesting that sales of older products may be pursued.

Sanofi will accept any blame attributed to it by a French court over the harmful effects of its Depakine epilepsy treatment on unborn babies, Reuters reports. In 2014, the European Medicines Agency advised the drug should only be prescribed when other treatments failed, but that was years after evidence about risks began mounting. The French government later criticized French regulators and Sanofi for not acting faster to warn about the risks.

An FDA approval decision that had been expected Friday for a drug that Sanofi plans to market may be delayed due to “deficiencies” found during a manufacturing site inspection in France, the Boston Business Journal says. Sanofi hopes to sell sarilumab to treat patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis who are not helped by AbbVie’s Humira, which is the best-selling drug in the world.

Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which recently paid $7.2 billion to acquire Sweden’s Meda Pharmaceuticals, is eliminating nearly 100 jobs from the Swedish company’s US offices in New Jersey, according a notice filed with state officials.