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Good morning, everyone, and how are you today? We are doing just fine, thank you, despite an unusually busy start to the new year. To cope, naturally we are firing up the coffee kettle to brew multiple cups of stimulation. Our choice today is peppermint mocha, since it offers a little zing. Meanwhile, we have assembled the usual menu of tidbits to help you get started yourselves. Hope today is as productive as possible and you conquer the world. And, as always, do keep in touch …

In a blockbuster deal, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) plans to buy Celgene (CELG) for $74 billion, joining two of the largest players in oncology at a time when both have faced setbacks, STAT writes. Bristol-Myers pioneered the use of cancer medicines that work by priming the immune system, but its flagship blockbuster drug, Opdivo, has been surpassed by a rival medicine from Merck, especially in the market for lung cancer. Celgene, meanwhile, has faced a string of clinical and regulatory disappointments over the past year.


President Donald Trump expects to see a tremendous decrease in drug prices even as nearly two dozen drug makers have taken steps to raise prices starting this month, Reuters notes. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tweeted that price hikes this month were fewer and lower than at this time a year ago. A Goldman Sachs analysis found prices were raised this week on about 27 percent of the top 500 branded drugs, down from 47 percent last year, and the average list price increase was 4 percent, half what it was in 2018, Bloomberg News notes.

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