Kentucky seeks $1bn from Purdue Pharma for misrepresenting addictive potential of oxycodone

BMJ 2014;349:g6605
Author: Owen Dyer
“Purdue Pharma, the company whose opioid painkiller Oxycontin (a brand of oxycodone) has had a key role in the burgeoning epidemic of prescription drug addiction in the United States, has said that its future viability is threatened by a lawsuit brought by the state of Kentucky.”
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Cigna Agrees to Reduce H.I.V. Drug Costs for Some Florida Patients

NY Times, 7 November 2014
Author: Katie Thomas
“The health insurer Cigna has agreed to reduce the out-of-pocket costs that patients in Florida must pay for H.I.V. drugs, settling a complaint filed by advocacy groups, who said the drug pricing system in the state’s health care plans was discriminatory.The groups indicated Florida could serve as a test case for what they contend is discriminatory pricing by other insurers around the country.”
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Pharmaceutical industry gets high on fat profits

BBC, 6 November 2014
Author: Richard Anderson
“Imagine an industry that generates higher profit margins than any other and is no stranger to multi-billion dollar fines for malpractice. The industry described above is responsible for the development of medicines to save lives and alleviate suffering, not the generation of profit for its own sake.”
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Exploring the link between industry payments to doctors and prescribing habits

BMJ 2014;349:g6651
Author: Danny Carlat
“Orthopedic surgeons receive the biggest payments from industry in the US according to the Open Payments database. The next step, writes transparency pioneer Danny Carlat, is for researchers to compare payment data with disclosures of physicians’ prescribing patterns.”
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Drug company is targeted for refusing to adopt ban on distribution of execution drug

BMJ 2014;349:g6452
Author: Owen Dyer
“A US drug company has been targeted by investors after declining to participate fully in the embargo against providing lethal injection drugs to states with the death penalty. The company, Mylan, of Pennsylvania, makes rocuronium bromide, which Alabama has just adopted in its new execution drug protocol. Although the company does not sell directly to corrections departments in death penalty states, it has not extracted commitments from resellers to refrain from such sales.”
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W.H.O. Assails Delay in Ebola Vaccine

NY Times, 3 November 2014
Author: Rick Gladstone
“The leader of the World Health Organization criticized the drug industry on Monday, saying that the drive for profit was one reason no vaccine had yet been found for Ebola. In a speech at a regional conference in Cotonou, Benin, Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the W.H.O., also denounced the glaring absence of effective public health systems in the worst-affected countries.”
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Stigma and Big Pharma: Why Are States Denying People Who Use Illicit Drugs or Alcohol Life-saving Medical Treatment?

Huffington Post, 4 November 2014
Author: Julie Netherland
“Imagine learning that your terminal illness could be cured only to be told that you were going to be denied access to the medication that could save you. This is precisely the situation facing thousands of people living with the hepatitis C virus (HCV).”
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Pharma, Physicians And ‘Open Payments': Moving From Data To Understanding

Forbes, 30 October 2014
Author: John Lechleiter
“It shouldn’t be surprising that pharmaceutical companies work with physicians in developing new medicines and educating health care professionals about their use. Yet, looming over the working relationships between manufacturers and outside physicians is a suspicion that companies are just paying doctors to prescribe their products.”
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Medicines to remain with European Commission health directorate

BMJ 2014;349:g6514
Author: Rory Watson
“The incoming European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has had to backtrack over his earlier decision to transfer responsibility for medicines and the European Medicines Agency away from the commission’s health directorate to its industry and enterprise directorate.  The initial announcement in September led to widespread concern in the public health sector. It feared that industry and commercial interests would weigh more heavily than patient safety and medical considerations when future legislation or drug authorisation was being considered.1″
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