Good morning, everyone, and welcome to yet another working week. We hope the weekend respite was relaxing and refreshing, because that familiar routine of meetings, deadlines, and the like has now returned. But you knew this would happen, yes? Well, what can you do except reach for an invigorating cup of stimulation — our choice today is Blueberry — to help you along. On that note, here are some tidbits, too. Have a smashing day and do stay in touch …
The shares of many drug makers, wholesalers, and pharmacy benefit managers were hit last Friday amid new evidence disclosed in corporate earnings reports that pharmaceutical companies are declining to ratchet up prices as sharply as in previous years, the Wall Street Journal writes. “There is tremendous concern in the marketplace about structural change to pricing,” Goldman Sachs analyst Jami Rubin said on a conference call with AbbVie.
Price hikes on EpiPen has added millions to US Department of Defense spending since 2008 as the agency covered more prescriptions for the lifesaving allergy device at near-retail prices, Reuters reports. Pentagon spending rose to $57 million over the past year from $9 million in 2008 — an increase driven both by volume and by price hikes. Nearly half of the spending was at retail pharmacies, where the DoD most recently paid an average of $509 for EpiPen and $528 for EpiPen Jr. two-packs — three times higher than its discounted rate, data shows.
Drug makers will leave the United Kingdom unless the government starts paying for breakthrough drugs, an AstraZeneca official tells the Telegraph. “It’s depressing and demoralizing that our latest drugs that are discovered here are not being used in the UK,” says Dr. Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of AstraZeneca’s innovative medicines and early development biotech unit. “Companies will leave and others will not come to the UK to invest.”
Merck KGaA is exploring a sale of its biosimilars unit, which could fetch as much as $1 billion, according to Reuters. Merck’s biosimilar business includes a drug in advanced clinical trials that would be a competitor to AbbVie’s widely prescribed Humira rheumatoid arthritis treatment, and the unit also has several early-stage compounds. The sale is contemplated as the US Food and Drug Administration has now approved a fourth biosimilar.
UK drug makers are set to meet in late November with UK government ministers to press their case for government support in advance of formal talks on quitting the European Union, City AM reports. Over the summer, the UK industry trade group issued a report seeking a consistent regulatory framework, access to European talent, easy cross-border trade, as well as the loss of substantial funding provided by the European Union.
The European Medicines Agency is probing Wanbury Pharma, one of the largest exporters of the metformin diabetes drug, the Economic Times writes. The move comes after Indian regulators last week launched an investigation into whether the company illegally relabeled drugs exported to Brazil, Mexico, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Two weeks ago, India’s drugs controller general issued an export certificate to Wanbury to supply drugs to the European Union.
Novo Nordisk stock plunged last Friday by the most in more than 14 years after slashing long-term profit-growth forecasts by half because of pressure on prices in the US, Bloomberg News informs us. The estimate was pared to 5 percent from the 10 percent projected in February, before the world’s biggest insulin maker lost key contracts, saw some products excluded from insurance coverage, and promised large rebates in the US on 2017 prices.
Astellas agreed to pay up to $1.4 billion to acquire Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, which is developing a new class of cancer drugs, the Chicago Tribune tells us.
GlaxoSmithKline unveiled new data for its Shingrix shingles vaccine from trials assessing its coadministration with the flu vaccine, dosing schedule, and quality of life, PharmaTimes says.