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Tweet of the Day

3/16 Cigna in Court over Clawback Case
Drug pricing lawsuit proceeds against Cigna as lawmaker calls for a closer look at Express Scripts deal .... A complaint filed by several members in October 2016 accused Cigna of violating ERISA and RICO Act by charging members more than 10 times the amount the insurer paid the pharmacy for certain drugs .... Fierce Healthcare

3/16 Your Drugstore Will Give You a Lyft to Come Pick Up Your Meds
Blue Cross, Lyft, Walgreens and CVS partner to help patients get their scripts .... The BCBS Institute will test the pharmacy rides at select Walgreens locations in Chicago and select CVS locations in Pittsburgh. Patients in both cities will also be able to get rides to their primary care physicians .... CNBC

3/16 Alexion's New Drug Not Inferior to Soliris
Alexion's second rare blood disorder drug could fortify future revenue .... The drug could eat into Soliris sales as the experimental drug's dosing schedule is designed to reduce the number of times it needs to be administered to six per year from about 26 with Soliris .... Reuters

3/16 Congressional Battle Heating Up on 340B
Dems, Republicans split on 340B drug pricing program in Senate hearing .... The dividing line between Senate Democrats and Republicans on the 340B drug pricing program was set, with Democrats siding with the hospitals, saying the savings from the program is desperately needed for the poorest populations, while Republicans took the side of drugmakers, saying the program is being abused and needs to be reformed .... Endpoints

3/16 Tech Giants Getting Into Health Care; Mostly in AI
Microsoft, Alphabet, Apple bet big on health with 300+ patents since 2013 .... These and other advances are spurring medtech and biopharma companies to form digital partnerships and pilot programs of their own .... BioPharma Dive

3/16 Courts Ordering States to Provide Hep C Treatment for Prisoners
Hepatitis C Drugs Save Lives, but Sick Prisoners Aren't Getting Them .... One in seven state inmates are believed to be infected... but a 2015 survey found that fewer than 1% were being treated .... NY Times

3/16 New CEO Wants Novartis to Think and Move Like a Software Company
Swiss Pharma Gets a Taste of Silicon Valley .... The Basel-based company is embracing mobile apps, scrums, virtual reality and partners like QuantumBlack, a data-crunching firm that started out helping Formula One drivers gain an edge .... Bloomberg

3/16 Board Sweetens the Pot for Read
Pfizer Lifts CEO's Pay 61% to $27.9 Million With Retention Bonus .... The board approved the award because it's a "compelling incentive" for him to keep running the firm, even though he's eligible to retire .... Bloomberg

3/16 A 'New Kind' of Pharmacy Benefit Manager (Cloud-Based) Gets Big Insurer Partner
Ex-Apple chief says Centene partnership with pharmacy start-up will drive better care with lower costs .... Centene and RxAdvance will work more closely to coordinate medical and prescription benefits for Centene's Medicaid and Obamacare members with chronic conditions, and share in the savings .... CNBC (autoplay video)

3/16 Americans Pay Double What Other Rich Countries Do for Health Care. Two Thirds of the Difference Explained by: Many Costly Procedures; Administrative Costs, Imaging, and Drug Prices
Drug Costs May Not Solely Drive Increasing US Health Care Spending .... In the United States, administrative costs accounted for $752 per-capita compared with $208 in the Netherlands, according to the study .... Specialty Pharmacy Times

3/16 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
FDA takes fresh step towards curbing U.S. nicotine addiction
New class of menopause drugs reduces number and severity of hot flushes
Science Daily
Ionis Sends Nerve Drug to Spinout Akcea as Battle with Alnylam Looms
Eli Lilly gets a date with FDA experts for once-rejected rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib
Endpoints News
If you think you are at high risk for colon cancer, a simple, painless test could let you know
CNBC (autoplay video)

3/15 State Bill Would Ban Midyear Coverage Switching
Daughter's epilepsy controlled by drug — then insurer stopped covering it. Bill would ban such midyear changes. .... The proposed bill would prohibit commercial health insurers from modifying coverage of a drug during the plan year if it has previously approved the drug for a medical condition. It would not prevent plans from requiring pharmacists to give generic substitutions or from adding new drugs for coverage .... Chicago Tribune

3/15 Biggest DTC Advertisers Cut Back in 2017
Here's a DTC shocker: Pharma ad spend actually fell in 2017 for first time in years, Kantar says .... Spending cuts among four of the top five pharma ad spenders—Pfizer, AbbVie, Allergan and Merck—dragged down the total, Kantar reported. Only Eli Lilly upped its ad budget .... Fierce Pharma

3/15 Paging Dr. App
From app store to drug store, digital health is redefining pharma's pipeline .... These products, known broadly as digital therapeutics, deliver treatment to patients through video games, smartphone apps, and sensors buried in pills or attached to medication dispensers. They are designed to stimulate changes in behavior — and in some cases brain function — to help patients control a variety of illnesses .... Stat

3/15 Theranos: $700 Million of Fraud
The SEC Says Elizabeth Holmes' Fraud Was Worse Than Anyone Thought .... To settle the charges, Holmes is giving up 18.9 million Theranos shares, losing voting control of the company, paying a $500,000 fine and will be barred from running a public company for 10 years. She will, however, continue as the chief executive of Theranos .... Forbes/Matthew Herper

3/15 OpEd in Favor of "MyRxCloud" — A Database of All of Patient's Meds Accessible to Them and Their Caregivers
Many Drugs and Many Doctors Lead to Many Mistakes .... a cloud-based, free, ad-free, voluntary, nonprofit mobile app (also available online) that can exchange information with existing electronic health records and does nothing more than keep accurate lists of all patient medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, implants, nutritional supplements, IV solutions and injectables, such as insulin and heparin .... NY Times

3/15 Dead-of-Night Right-to-Try Bill Stopped
House Fails to Pass 'Right-to-Try' Bill .... Critics from academia and the pharmaceutical industry criticized the bill for trying to cut the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) out of the process of overseeing terminally ill patients' access to experimental treatments, which occurs under the agency's expanded access program. .... Regulatory Focus

3/15 Kidney Damage is Occurring Even Before Diabetes is Discovered
Many patients show signs of chronic kidney disease before diabetes diagnosis .... The results suggest that kidney damage often occurs before diabetes is diagnosed, say the researchers. They propose two possible reasons for this early kidney damage: Type 2 diabetes can be undiagnosed for a long time, meaning the kidneys are being damaged without the patient or doctors being aware. Or, kidney damage could come from other conditions common in the population at risk for diabetes .... Veterans Affairs Research Communications

3/15 Celgene Going Private? Not a Realistic Chance
People Are Talking About a Celgene LBO; That Should Worry It .... Along with its sheer size, other factors make going private problematic for Celgene. It would have less access to capital. Its overdependence on its leading drug Revlimid -- which is projected to account for 60 percent or more of its sales into the 2020s -- would make the super-heroic amount of leverage required to do such a deal particularly risky .... Bloomberg Gadfly

3/15 Most Innovative Health Care Companies Ranked
The biggest innovators in health care, according to Fast Company .... The latest list covers 36 categories and recognizes the 10 most innovative companies in each category, with an overall list of the top 50 most innovative companies curated from the category-specific lists .... Advisory Board Daily Briefing

3/15 PBM Shenanigans
A costly PBM trick: set lower copays for expensive brand-name drugs than for generics .... In 2014, patients buying Lipitor had lower copays than those buying generic atorvastatin, even though the generic was much cheaper overall....It turned out that Pfizer had partnered with pharmacy benefit managers to ensure that its more-expensive Lipitor had a lower copay than less-expensive generic atorvastatin .... Stat

Tweet of the Day

3/15 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Weight loss spreads within couples in 'ripple effect'
Fitbit unveils menstrual cycle tracking with latest smartwatch
Drug Store News
Heartburn Meds Not Tied to Hip Fractures in Alzheimer's Patients
How One Small Change Helped People Make Healthier Choices
Intermountain launches new company that aims to transform mental health care
Advisory Board

3/14 Big PBMs and Health Plans Squeezing Out Smaller Specialty Pharmacies
Big Health-Care Players Are Turning Their Partners Into Prey .... Using tactics that have drawn the attention of federal regulators and attracted lawsuits, drug plans and insurers have boxed out their smaller partners so they can take the business for themselves, independent pharmacies say .... Bloomberg

3/14 Top 4 Specialty Pharmacies Account of 2/3rds of Specialty Revenue
The Top 15 Specialty Pharmacies of 2017: PBMs and Payers Still Dominate .... In 2017, CVS Health remained the largest dispenser of specialty drugs. Its specialty pharmacy dispensing revenues grew by 9%, to an estimated $35 billion. CVS Health's 2018 revenues will suffer from the loss of the specialty pharmacy benefit for the Federal Employee Program .... Drug Channels

3/14 Witty Gets New Job as Head of Optum
From drugmaker to drug manager: Ex-GSK chief Andrew Witty jumps to the helm of giant Optum .... Optum, which has 140,000 staffers around the world, earns roughly half of UnitedHealth's revenue — $201 billion last year — from three key subsidiaries: OptumHealth and OptumInsight as well as OptumRx .... Endpoints

3/14 First Comprehensive Study of 'Clawbacks'; Includes List of Most Common Drugs Overcharged For
Patients Overpay For Prescriptions 23% Of The Time, Analysis Shows .... Here's how it works: After taking your insurance card, your pharmacist says you owe a $10 copay, which you pay, assuming that the drug costs more than $10 and your insurance is covering the rest. But unbeknownst to you, the drug actually cost only $7, and the PBM claws back the extra $3 .... Kaiser Health News

3/14 Interviews Underway for Health Care Wizard of Oz
Amazon's big health venture with Berkshire and JPMorgan is scouting CEOs -- with VC John Doerr's help .... Candidates approached so far include former Medicare chief Andy Slavitt, former United States CTO Todd Park, and ex-Aetna senior executive Gary Loveman .... CNBC (autoplay video)

3/14 IQVIA: Growing Share of Specialty Drugs Leaves Payers with Few Tools
Drug spending growth to come solely from specialty meds, report says .... Developed markets will spend $318 billion on specialty medicines in 2018, representing 41% of their overall pharmaceutical spend. Net spend on all branded products should fall around 1-3% .... BioPharma Dive

3/14 Promising Gene Startup Attracts Cash and Hype
32-Year-Old Professor Raises $50 Million To Make Drugs To Control Genes .... Changes in the chromatin packaging regulatory system of cells appear to be involved in synovial sarcoma and at least 20 other cancers, including common ones like non-small cell lung cancer, and in other ailments, including degenerative diseases of the brain .... Forbes/Matthew Herper

3/14 "Financial Toxicity" Report Emphasizes Value-Based Pricing
Presidential Panel Says High-Priced Cancer Drugs Harm Patient Care .... In 2013, cancer patients paid $207,000 a year, on average, for their medications, compared with $54,100 a year in 1995 .... HealthDay

3/14 Elagolix, a Fibroid Drug, Touted for Blockbuster Status. FDA Decision Expected by Mid-Year
Is This AbbVie's Next Blockbuster Drug? .... Results from the just-released second trial showed 76.2% of patients responding to elagolix versus just 10.1% of patients responding to placebo .... Motley Fool

3/14 Marketers Say Awareness Ads Pay Off
Unbranded pharma ads—what are they good for? Actually quite a bit, marketing panelists say .... “Unbranded campaigns and content can be particularly helpful when we’re trying to get patients to talk about a condition that may be stigmatized or difficult to talk about with their provider.... " (Aimee Lenar, vice president of gastroenterology marketing at Allergan) .... Fierce Pharma

3/14 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
House Panel Probes Organizations That Accredit Most U.S. Hospitals
Roche CEO says new drugs will offset biosimilar incursions
Right-to-try drug bill could needlessly raise patients' hopes
How an inconspicuous slaughterhouse keeps the world's premature babies alive
Wonder pill for hypertension is here: Drug is a combo of 3 BP-lowering medications
Economic Times

Fast Takes
Sanofi walks away from Alnylam rare disease drug
Fierce Biotech
Is a widely used cancer compendium recommending pricey drugs based on weak evidence?
The Revolutionary New HIV Drug You've Probably Never Heard Of
Motley Fool
Ivy League Doctor Gets 4 Years in Prison for Insys Opioid Kickbacks
Biogen to buy Pfizer's neurology drug in deal nearing $600 mln

3/13 Sarepta Seeks Nod For Second Pricey Muscular Dystrophy Med
Sarepta to seek FDA approval for its second Duchenne's drug by year's end … average of $300,000 a year for Exondys 51, but because dose is based on the patient's weight, the list price for some can top $750,000 a year … forecast Exondys 51 sales this year in the range of $300 million … [Stat]

Generic Advair Delayed Again
GSK wins new reprieve as Hikma's generic Advair delayed again … Hikma already faced a delay in U.S. approval for its Advair generic in 2017, as did rival generics company Mylan , and last month a third Advair copy from Novartis's Sandoz division also got knocked back by the FDA …[Reuters]

Sanofi Offers Meaningful Discounts To Fuel Demand
Drugmakers try rare tactic to boost sales: cutting the price by thousands … Sanofi said they would deeply discount their $14,000-a-year cholesterol treatment to $4,500 to $8,000 for some patients in order to loosen insurer restriction … If the companies get coverage for just 10 percent of the patients at a $6,000 price tag, the market will hit about $2.5 billion in the U.S …[Chicago Tribune]

Insurers Buying Up Dr Practices As Tactic To Grab Medicare Business
Insurers Gobble Doctor Practices To Bolster Medicare Advantage Plans … health insurers are engaged in a doctor-buying binge to compliment their Medicare Advantage businesses by owning group practices that treat a lot of seniors …[Forbes]

Lackluster Contrave Sales Lead To Orexigen Bankruptcy
- Points to the difficulty marketing a slimming pill
Orexigen's Weight-Loss Roller Coaster to End With a Bankruptcy Sale … Contrave managed to become the most widely-prescribed weight-loss drug in the U.S., with 2.3 million prescriptions written since the drug was launched in 2014. Sales hit about $98 million worldwide in fiscal 2017 … [Xconomy]
Editor's Note: Adds information regarding  Qsymia and Belviq not doing well either.

Fast Takes
Judge orders 1,200 Xarelto liability cases to be prepped for trials
Fierce Pharma
Doctor in Insys opioid kickback scheme gets four years in prison
Pfizer Gets FDA Panel Backing for New Indication for Xeljanz

Pharma Bro Gets 7 Years In Prison
- Weeping, pleas for mercy fails to move judge
Martin Shkreli Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for Fraud … seven years in prison for "defrauding investors in two failed hedge funds." Formally, he was charged and convicted with securities fraud … cried during his sentencing. …[NY Times]

Impax to Pay $35 Million Fine Over Solodyn Pay-To-Delay
Impax to pay $35 million to settle part of Solodyn antitrust litigation … claims it entered into an anticompetitive deal in a patent case to delay releasing a generic version of the acne medication Solodyn … $40 million from Medicis plus $23 million in "milestone" payments after agreeing to drop an appeal of a court ruling …[Reuters]

Regeneron, Sanofi: Data Looks Good But Will Insurance Companies Ease Up
Regeneron/Sanofi heart drug succeeds in major trial; Will insurers pay? … remains to be seen whether the new data will prompt insurers to pay for increased use of the medicine … succeeded on its primary goal - reducing the combined risk of heart attack, stroke, heart disease-related death and chest pain requiring hospitalization - by 15 percent …[Reuters]
Regeneron and Sanofi Plan to Cut Cholesterol Drug Price in Exchange for Wider Coverage … They seek to offer rebates and discounts for Praluent and want insurers to ease restrictions on some patients … [WSJ]

Senators Unload Hornets News On Allergan Mohawk Patent Scheme
Senators heap abuse on Allergan's attempt at an end run around patent reviews, offer bill to stop 'sham' … : "Sham transactions involving the transfer of patent ownership from a pharmaceutical company to a tribe for the sole purpose of shielding the patent from challenges are a clear abuse of our patent system and set a dangerous precedent for other consumer products." …[Endpoints News]

CNN: Opioid Prescribing Volume Linked To How Much Drug Company Funding They Got
CNN Exclusive: The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make  … Doctors in the top 1% of opioid prescribers received on average four times as much money as the typical doctor. Doctors in the top 10th of 1%, on average, received nine times more money than the typical doctor … [CNN]

3/9 New Day, New Bombshell: Azar Says Docs and Hospitals Should Tell Patients Charges in Advance
Health Officials Assail 'Pricing Schemes' That Gouge Patients .... Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, said at AHIP that doctors and hospitals should tell patients how much their care would cost before patients received treatment. And if they do not do so voluntarily, he said, the government may use its leverage to force them to disclose the information .... NY Times

3/9 Cigna – Express Scripts Roundup
Cigna's $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts will change the way drug prices get calculated .... Saving on health costs is a clear goal, which companies believe they can achieve by bringing medical and pharmaceutical treatments closer together for better outcomes. Dysfunctions in the drug industry could also be more in the hands of health insurers to address, redrawing battle lines more directly between drugmakers and health insurers. .... Marketwatch
Cigna Deal Shows Being a Health Insurer Isn't Enough Anymore .... The integrated business model that Express Scripts had shunned has already allowed UnitedHealth and CVS to undercut Express on price .... WSJ
Cigna-Express Scripts Deal Leaves Rivals in the Lurch .... There are no other obvious opportunities for major vertical deals .... Bloomberg Gadfly

3/9 Walmart Cuts Out the Health Care Middlepeople
Amazon Isn't the Only Retail Giant Trying to Remake Health Care .... Walmart Inc., the largest private employer in the U.S., has been buying health care for its workers directly from providers in six different regions -- bypassing insurers who usually negotiate with doctors and hospitals. .... Bloomberg (autoplay video)

3/9 BMJ Article Says NCCN Recommends on Weak Evidence
US cancer network recommending expensive drugs based on weak evidence, study finds .... For 47 new drugs approved by the FDA, NCCN recommended those drugs for 113 indications, 44 more indications than the FDA approved.... Only a minority of those additional recommendations were based on either randomized controlled trials (23%), considered the gold standard, or advanced-level phase three trials (16%) .... Guardian

3/9 Licensing Working Out Very Well, Thank You, for this Company
How This Biotech Is Worth $3.5 Billion Without Selling One Drug .... Ligand operates under a unique business model in which it acquires early-stage technologies necessary for drug development. It then licenses those platforms out to biotechs and pharmas .... Investors Business Daily

3/9 Xeljanz Recommended for Moderate and Severe Ulcerative Colitis
FDA panel backs Pfizer's Xeljanz as bowel disease treatment .... Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition triggered by an abnormal immune response that creates long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine lining. It is the most common inflammatory bowel disease .... Reuters

3/9 Sanofi Farms Out Antibiotics to German Firm
Sanofi taps Evotec for infectious disease discovery .... Sanofi will pay Evotec an upfront fee of about $74 million to support research and will transfer 10 of its infectious disease assets along with about 100 employees over to the German company .... BioPharma Dive

3/9 Victoza DTC Talks Up Cardio Benefit
Novo shifts Victoza ad message with spots highlighting heart-benefit trifecta .... In the past 12 months, Victoza has spent more than $123 million on national TV advertising, according to data from real-time TV tracker, while Jardiance has spent more than $93 million on TV during that same time .... Fierce Pharma

3/9 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
After Addiction Comes Families' Second Blow: The Crushing Cost of Rehab
The top 5 health care systems, according to nearly 300 health executives
Advisory Board Daily Briefing
Gastrointestinal hormone measurably improved symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
University of California - San Diego
FDA Approves First Generic Versions of Amgen's Sensipar
Regulatory Focus
Healthcare's Artificial Intelligence Market May Hit $6 Billion
Forbes/Bruce Japsen
Drug charges dropped after suspect refuses to poop for 47 days in custody
Fox News

3/8 Breaking Cigna Buying Express Scripts
Health insurer Cigna to buy Express Scripts in $67 billion deal .... Cigna's offer consists of $48.75 in cash and 0.2434 shares of stock of the combined company for each Express Scripts share, amounting to $96.03 per share. .... CNBC

3/8 Gottlieb Says Drugmakers, PBMs and Insurers are Splitting the Windfall from High Drug Prices
'Rigged' System Blocks Use of Lower-Cost Drugs, FDA Chief Says .... "Consolidated firms -- the PBMs, the distributors, and the drug stores; team up with payors .... to use their individual market power to effectively split monopoly rents with large manufacturers and other intermediaries; rather than passing on the saving garnered from competition to patients and employers." .... Bloomberg

3/8 USDOJ/States Lawsuit on Generic Drug Pricing Could Lead to $1 Billion + Payout
Probe Into Generic Drug Price Fixing Set To Widen .... Law firms that specialize in class actions have already lined up as many as 80 companies that may have paid too much for generic drugs, including retail pharmacies, employee unions and insurance companies .... NPR Morning Edition

3/8 Merck's Big Lenvima Partnership
Merck, Eisai sign deal to further develop, sell Eisai cancer drug .... The deal, under which Lenvima will be developed for several types of cancer alone and in combination with Merck's immunotherapy Keytruda, could be worth up to $5.76 billion to Eisai .... Reuters

3/8 Esperion's LDL-Reducer Looks to be on the Road to Approval
After A Two-Decade Quest, Will Esperion's Heart Drug Find A Market? .... Patients who received bempedoic acid (along with ezetimibe and perhaps a statin) saw their low-density lipoprotein decrease 23%, versus a 5% increase for those in the placebo group .... Forbes/Matthew Herper

3/8 12,000 New Reports to FDA on Essure; 90% Concern Removal
FDA receives new reports of issues with Essure birth control device .... The FDA received nearly 12,000 reports in 2017 related to Essure, a majority of which were in the final three months of the year .... Reuters

3/8 Trends and Tactics in Psoriasis Drug Marketing
For Cosentyx, Taltz, Siliq: A marketing race to differentiate .... "What we learned in speaking to patients in market research when we were designing our creative campaign, they didn't want psoriasis to be seen as a taboo or a subject that couldn't be talked about." (Pete Salzmann, VP of immunology at Lilly) .... BioPharma Dive

3/8 Do DTC Ads Bend the Rules?
Pharma taking liberties with DTC ads, says study .... Thirteen percent of the ads — all of which were for drugs to treat diabetes — improperly communicated some type of benefit of the drug that was not included in the original claims, a practice known as off-label promotion .... BioPharma Dive

3/8 Ooh La La
Sanofi in #MeToo fight with ex-executive who was dismissed for sexual harassment .... The Paris-based drugmaker is fighting claims from its former director of press relations, Jean-Marc Podvin, who claims he was unfairly dismissed after being accused of sexting to one employee and putting the hand of another on his exposed penis .... Fierce Pharma

3/8 CROs Faster than Companies in Getting Trials Started
It's taking longer than before to get a drug trial underway, Tufts study concludes .... The average time it takes for drug companies to pick a hospital or clinic to test an experimental medicine, recruit patients, and start a trial is more than 31 weeks — a month more than a decade ago .... Boston Globe

3/8 Docs Really Enjoy Video Games, and Pharma is Using Games for Teaching and Promotion
Xbox for Docs: Pharma backs AR games for use in physician learning .... Level Ex's Airway Ex app, which features mobile games for anesthesiologists, has more than 35,000 registered users.... Drug companies eager to expose physicians to new treatments and medical devices pay Level Ex to insert ads into existing games or to develop custom ones .... MM&M

3/8 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Amazon is taking aim at Walmart by offering a 54 percent discount on Prime memberships for Medicaid recipients
CDC Report Indicates Opioid Crisis in America is Worsening
Slow-release hydrogel aids immunotherapy for cancer
Rice University
New prostate cancer risk model could better guide treatment
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan
CVS's $40 billion debt deal to fund Aetna takeover puts credit rating in peril

3/7 UnitedHealthcare Will Share Rebates with Patients
UnitedHealthcare will provide drug rebates directly to members in some plans .... UnitedHealthcare said the policy, which would begin next year, would lower out-of-pocket costs for 7 million people enrolled in fully insured commercial group benefit plans. .... Washington Post

3/7 JAMA Study: Opioids Not Worth the Addiction Risk for Chronic Pain
Opioids no better than NSAIDs for chronic back or arthritis pain .... Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are better than opioids at easing the intensity of chronic pain in the back, knees or hips, a U.S. experiment suggests .... Reuters

3/7 Less than Half of Refusal to File Letters Disclosed
Numbers show drugmakers are keeping RTFs under wraps .... EvaluatePharma and company filings show 29 RTF letters that were publicly disclosed between 2010 and 2017. Celgene's letter, issued in 2018, would make 30. Yet, data provided by the FDA showed 73 RTF letters were issued over that same time period. .... BioPharma Dive

3/7 Who's Up, Who's Down in the Most Commonly Prescribed Drugs?
Top 200 Drugs of 2018: Which Ones Are Making an Impact? .... The 2018 DrugStats database includes outpatient prescription data from January through December 2015 and provides a rank for each medication based on the number of prescriptions. .... Pharmacy Times
Direct link: ClinCalc DrugStats Database

3/7 Trogarzo Approved, Intravenous Retroviral for Heavily Treatment-Experienced HIV Patients
FDA approves new HIV treatment drug for people with limited options .... "After 24 weeks of Trogarzo plus other antiretroviral drugs, 43 percent of the trial's participants achieved HIV RNA suppression." .... Miami Herald

3/7 Cheek-Swab Test for BRCA Genes
23andMe Scores FDA Nod for First DTC Genetic Test on Cancer Risk .... This first-ever FDA authorization allows for 23andMe customers to obtain information on three variants on the BRCA1 and BRCA6 genes, "known to be associated with higher risk for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer" .... Regulatory Focus
See also: 23andMe's new genetic test for cancer could create a false illusion of safety

3/7 Opdivo Approved for Every Four-Weeks Dosing, Up from Two. Infusion Can Be 30 Mins, Not an Hour
FDA approves new dosing for Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo .... The new approval may help the drug expand into the "maintenance and adjuvant therapy settings" (William Blair analyst Matt Phipps). Maintenance therapy immediately follows initial treatment to keep patients cancer-free if they go into remission .... Reuters

3/7 Shkreli Acted as His Own CRO to Get Drug to Market
'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli launched 'unmonitored drug trial' in Cyprus for Retrophin drug without FDA oversight: Prosecutors .... The drug trial was mentioned by prosecutors to counteract what they said was a "highly misleading" portrayal by Shkreli's defense team about his work on a drug to cure the condition known as PKAN .... CNBC

3/7 Two Up-and-Comers at FDA
FDA makes two high-level hires in 'strategic initiatives' positions .... Theresa Mullin is moving up from being the director of the office of strategic programs to working directly in the office of the CDER director, Janet Woodcock.... Keagan Lenihan was hired directly into the FDA commissioner's office .... Stat

3/7 Scores of Factories Closing; 14,000 Laid Off — But They Have a New Logo!
Teva rebrands in North America amid global restructuring .... With the updated brand positioning, Teva is looking to tell its story and those of its patients. The company has also partnered with Healthline and the Slate Media Group to develop a series of articles, videos, and podcasts. .... MM&M

Tweet of the Day
3/7 Internet Drug News Fast Takes:
Miracle Of Hemophilia Drugs Comes At A Steep Price
Psychiatrists, internal medicine doctors see the most demand, jumps in compensation
Healthcare Finance
Survey: 1 in 5 Health Workers Would Sell Confidential Data to Unauthorized Parties
New study solves an arthritis drug mystery
MIT News
Found: The Earliest Depiction of Breast Cancer, in Renaissance Paintings
Atlas Obscura

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