U.S. states allege broad generic drug price-fixing collusion

Reuters, 1 November 2017
Author: Karen Freifeld
“A large group of U.S. states accused key players in the generic drug industry of a broad price-fixing conspiracy, moving on Tuesday to widen an earlier lawsuit to add many more drugmakers and medicines in an action that sent some company shares tumbling.”
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Experts slam ‘utterly false’ claims Australians given budget flu vaccine

SMH, 30 October 2017
Author: Kate Aubusson
“Australia’s Chief Medical Officer has stridently rejected claims a “budget” flu vaccine was partly responsible for this year’s horror flu season, as the academic quoted called the reports “inaccurate”.”
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Officer of the Law

N Engl J Med 2017; 377:1610-1611
Author: Raphael Rush
“With rare exceptions, I do not have to share patients’ diagnoses with anyone. But in Ontario, patients with any medical condition that might impair their driving must be reported to the provincial Ministry of Transportation. The treating physician has broad discretion to decide what qualifies as potentially impairing. Like many physicians, I advise patients not to drive until the government deems them fit. It’s one of the few legally required breaks of doctor–patient confidentiality. For each report, the provincial insurer pays doctors $36.25.”
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California governor signs drug pricing transparency law

Reuters, 10 October 2017
Author: Bill Berkrot
“California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday signed state legislation requiring drug companies to report certain price hikes for prescription medicines in a move that could set a model for other states to follow. The law, which aims to provide more transparency around pharmaceutical and biotech company pricing methods for their medicines, requires drug manufacturers to give a 60-day notice if prices are raised more than 16 percent over a two-year period. The law also requires health plans and insurers to file annual reports outlining how drug costs affect healthcare premiums in California.”
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A cross-sectional analysis of pharmaceutical industry-funded events for health professionals in Australia

BMJ Open 2017; 7: e016701.
Authors: Fabbri A, Grundy Q, Mintzes B, et al
“To analyse patterns and characteristics of pharmaceutical industry sponsorship of events for Australian health professionals and to understand the implications of recent changes in transparency provisions that no longer require reporting of payments for food and beverages.”
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Indemnity provider calls for urgent reform of negligence payouts

BMJ 2017; 357: j3025
Author: Clare Dyer
“The spiralling cost of clinical negligence claims in England will become unsustainable unless the government reforms the system as a matter of urgency, a leading doctors’ indemnity organisation has argued at the launch of a new campaign.”
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Evolving State-Based Contraceptive and Abortion Policies

JAMA. 2017; 317(24): 2481-2482
Authors: Divya Mallampati, Melissa A. Simon, Elizabeth Janiak
“This Viewpoint discusses the importance of US state-based contraceptive and abortion policies given renewed focus by the Trump administration on restrictions to federal funding for reproductive services.”
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Vectura signs deal with Novartis for generic U.S. lung therapy

Reuters, 28 June 2017
Authors: Esha Vaish and Martina D’Couto
“Vectura Group Plc said on Wednesday it has signed an exclusive deal with Sandoz AG, a unit of Swiss drugmaker Novartis, to develop a generic copy of an existing combined lung therapy for the U.S. market. British drugmaker Vectura has been trying to build a specialized lung drug business since it merged with Skypeharma last year. However, the firm hasn’t had it easy, following delays in its generic drug with Hikma coming onto the market, a royalties row with GSK, and delays in Novartis launching its Ultibro inhaler in the U.S. The therapy, which is expected to seek regulatory approval and then be launched in the early to mid-2020.”
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Microneedle Patches for Flu Vaccination Successful in First Human Clinical Trial

Georgia Tech, 27 June 2017
Author: John Toon
“Despite the potentially severe consequences of illness and even death, only about 40 percent of adults in the United States receive flu shots each year; however, researchers believe a new self-administered, painless vaccine skin patch containing microscopic needles could significantly increase the number of people who get vaccinated. A phase I clinical trial found that influenza vaccination using Band-Aid-like patches with dissolvable microneedles was just as effective in generating immunity against influenza. The microneedle patch vaccine could also save money because it is easily self-administered, could be transported and stored without refrigeration, and is easily disposed of after use without sharps waste.”
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FDA moves to prevent Pharma from ‘gaming’ generic drug system

Reuters, 21 June 2017
Author: Toni Clarke
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration moved on Wednesday to prevent pharmaceutical companies from “gaming” the system to block or delay entry of generic rivals. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a blog post that the agency plans to hold a public meeting on July 18 to identify ways pharmaceutical companies are using FDA rules to place obstacles in the way of generic competition. The move comes as the President and lawmakers in Congress search for ways to lower the cost of prescription drugs.”
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