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Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. Like many on this side of the pond, we are returning from an extended weekend respite, which we hope was invigorating and relaxing, thanks to a holiday. Now, though, the time has come to return to the usual routine of deadlines, meetings and online calls. But what can you do? The world, such as it is, keeps spinning. So time to give it a nudge in a better direction with a cup of delicious stimulation. Our choice today is an old standby, hazelnut creme. Please feel free to join us. Meanwhile, here is the latest list of interesting items for you to digest. We hope your day is meaningful and productive. And of course, do keep in touch. …

A growing number of cystic fibrosis patients and their families are getting caught in the middle of a grinding, behind-the-scenes struggle that is taking place between pharmaceutical companies and health insurers across the U.S. in response to the rising cost of prescription medicines, STAT explains. At issue are copay accumulators, which insurers use to blunt copay assistance offered by drug companies. In response, Vertex Pharmaceuticals reduced its annual copay assistance for its cystic fibrosis treatments — from approximately $100,000 a year to $20,000 — apparently the first time that a pharmaceutical company has taken such a drastic step.


An experimental antibody that delivers lethal radiation directly to the bone marrow improved the outcomes of stem cell transplants for older patients with relapsed leukemia — and may change the way transplant medicine is practiced, STAT tells us. The antibody-radiation treatment, called Iomab-B, is being developed by Actinium Pharmaceuticals. In the results of a Phase 3 clinical trial, 22% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia who were administered Iomab-B to prepare their bone marrow for transplants had durable remissions lasting six months or more. None of the patients in the study who received conventional care prior to transplant achieved durable remissions.

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