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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

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Merck can be sued over generic drug injury

Massachusetts’ top court opened the door for consumers to sue Merck and other brand-name drug makers over injuries blamed on generic forms of their treatments made by other companies.

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Lundbeck to buy Parkinson’s drug developer

Danish drugmaker Lundbeck agreed to buy Prexton Therapeutics, a specialist in treatments for brain disorders, in a deal potentially worth $1.1 billion.

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Coastal waters tied to swimmers’ risk of infections

Even relatively clean coastal waters are likely to harbor microbes that raise the risk of stomach aches, ear infections and diarrhea for those who venture in, according to a review of over 40 previous studies.

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Alexion’s second rare blood disorder drug could fortify future revenue

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s experimental drug to treat a rare blood disorder showed in an eagerly awaited study that ALXN1210 was not inferior to its flagship drug Soliris, paving the way for the company to establish a dominant position in the market as competition looms.

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FDA seeks research, public input in fresh move to curb nicotine addiction

The Food and Drug Administration is seeking public opinion as well as scientific research on the role nicotine plays in cigarette addiction as the regulatory agency aims to lower tobacco-related deaths across the United States.

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Smoking tied to higher risk of hearing loss

Smokers may be more likely to develop hearing loss than nonsmokers, and the risk increases with each additional cigarette people smoke on a typical day, a Japanese study suggests.

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U.S. health spending twice other countries’ with worse results

The U.S. spends about twice what other high-income nations do on health care but has the lowest life expectancy and the highest infant mortality rates, a new study suggests.

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Teva rebuffs EU pay-for-delay charge at hearing

Israeli drugmaker Teva rebuffed EU antitrust charges of making an illegal deal with rival Cephalon to delay selling a cheaper generic version of the latter’s sleep disorder drug at a hearing.

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UnitedHealth names Andrew Witty as Optum head

UnitedHealth Group named its board member and former GlaxoSmithKline head Andrew Witty as chief executive of the health insurer’s pharmacy benefit unit Optum, effective July 1, 2018.

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Roche CEO says new drugs will offset biosimilar incursions

Swiss drugmaker Roche expects to compensate or overcompensate for falling revenue from patent-expired drugs facing competition from rivals’ copies through its new medicines.

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Newer gout drug poses risk to heart patients

Gout sufferers with major pre-existing heart disease face a higher risk of death if they are treated with the drug febuxostat, a large long-term study has concluded.

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Impax faces U.S. antitrust trial over generic’s delay

Impax Laboratories Inc. went to trial over claims by major retailers and consumers that the company agreed to delay launching a generic version of Solodyn in exchange for millions of dollars from the acne medication’s manufacturer.

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Anthera’s lead drug fails study, shares slump

Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc. is evaluating all strategic options after the company’s lead drug failed in a late-stage trial, sending shares down 80 percent in premarket trading.

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GSK wins new reprieve as Hikma’s generic Advair delayed again

The FDA insisted Hikma conduct a further clinical study evaluating its generic version of GlaxoSmithKline’d blockbuster lung drug.

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AstraZeneca lung cancer trial results pushed back

AstraZeneca expects a key lung cancer study of two immunotherapy drugs to produce overall survival results in the second half of 2018, rather than the first half.

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Regeneron/Sanofi heart drug succeeds in major trial

A potent, expensive cholesterol drug sold by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi significantly reduced major adverse heart events in a huge study.

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Rhode Island doctor in Insys opioid kickback probe faces sentencing

A Rhode Island doctor is to be sentenced after admitting that he took kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics Inc. in exchange for prescribing a fentanyl-based cancer pain drug produced by the company.

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U.S. says Idaho cannot sell health plans not compliant with Obamacare

A U.S. government agency said Idaho could not allow health insurers to sell plans that do not comply with Obamacare, a sign that the Trump administration will enforce the law even as it takes regulatory actions to weaken the ACA.

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FDA panel backs Xeljanz as bowel disease treatment

Pfizer Inc.’s Xeljanz should be approved to treat patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, a chronic bowel disease, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee concluded.

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Abiomed settles case over lavish doctor meals

Abiomed Inc. agreed to pay $3.1 million to resolve a U.S. probe into allegations that the company sought to get doctors to use a line of heart pumps it produced by buying them lavish meals.

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