And so, another working week will soon draw to a close. Not a moment too soon, yes? This is, as you know, our treasured signal to daydream about weekend plans. And our agenda is rather modest. We expect to spend hours raking millions of leaves from the Pharmalot grounds, taking a well-deserved nap, and catching up on our reading. And what about you? This may be a good time to boost the economy by starting your holiday shopping. You could make time for someone special. Or try to predict the future, which looks quite interesting. Well, whatever you do, have a grand time, but be safe. Enjoy, and see you soon …
Allergen chief executive Brent Saunders believes President-elect Donald Trump “will be more vicious and more focused on taking down” drug makers over pricing. “I worry pharma has a false sense of relief or security because of a Trump administration or Republican-controlled Congress. We have to realize drug pricing issue is a populist issue and the American people are angry,” he said at the Forbes Healthcare Summit on Thursday. “If you think Trump is not a populist and he won’t jump on the next scandal … you’re fooling yourself.”
Representative Tom Price, the nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services, may have his own conflicts of interest, STAT tells us. The orthopedic surgeon has a stock portfolio that includes investments in drug and device makers, as well as health insurers. As part of the nomination process, his holdings will be reviewed by the White House counsel’s office, the Office of Government Ethics, and the ethics division at HHS.
Andrew Witty reflects on his tenure as prepares to retire from GlaxoSmithKline. “Where is some of the discontent [toward companies] coming from? Some of that I think is coming from the perspective that … companies aren’t necessarily doing as much as ‘the people’ would like to see done on broader societal issues, whether that’s environmental, whether it’s access to medicine — there are a number of these themes,” he tells the Guardian.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals asked Ireland’s health minister to directly negotiate with Ireland’s HSE, which is the national health service, to provide coverage for its Orkambi cystic fibrosis treatment, the Journal reports. The HSE appears ready to reject Orkambi because Vertex failed to reduce the price after five months of negotiations. The National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics estimates the drug would cost about $415 million over five years.
A federal court jury in Dallas ordered Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary to pay more than $1 billion in damages Thursday for “despicable and vile conduct” in selling Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants that they knew were seriously defective, the Dallas News reports. The trial was the third in a series of bellwether cases, and more than 8,900 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson across the county.
File this under “how ironic.” The European Medicines Agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee is reviewing injectable medicines that are used for treating severe, rapidly developing allergic reactions because they contain lactose, which may contain traces of cow’s milk proteins. The problem is that the some patients may be allergic to the proteins themselves, according to this notice.
A deal in which Valeant Pharmaceuticals hoped to sell its Salix unit to Takeda Pharmaceuticals fell apart, adding new pressure on the drug maker to pay down about $30 billion in debt, Bloomberg News notes. At the same time, the Securities and Exchange Commission released correspondence with Valeant showing the drug maker will have to revise the way it disclosed some earnings measures. The agency raised questions about its accounting methods.
The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence endorsed the Keytruda to treat non-small cell lung cancer after Merck provided added data and reduced the price, PharmaTimes says. At the same time, NICE reversed an earlier decision and agreed to recommended a GlaxoSmithKline drug called Nucala for asthma after the company cut the price and provided new data on cost effectiveness, PMLive writes.
India’s Delhi High Court set aside a government notification that last March banned 344 fixed dose combination medicines, the Economic Times tells us. Those combinations included several therapeutic areas like cough and cold syrups, respiratory formulations, and topical dermatological medicines. The government banned the combinations on the grounds they were not approved elsewhere in the world or not required in India due to better alternatives.
A multiple myeloma treatment, which is being developed by Bluebird Bio and Celgene, helped patients who previously were not helped by repeated treatments in a nine-patient study, Reuters writes.
Boehringer Ingelheim is cutting more than 240 jobs, including 120 involved in small molecule discovery research in Connecticut, about five months after chopping 725 US jobs, Endpoints says.