Payers hit back at Gilead for $94,500 price tag on brand-new hep C combo pill

So you thought Gilead's Sovaldi was expensive? Get ready for Harvoni, the company's all-oral hep C combo regimen that won FDA approval on Friday. Cost? $94,500 for a 12-week course of treatment.

India's NPPA fines Novartis $49M as price cap battles rage on

India's National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has fined Novartis the equivalent of $49 million for overpricing its popular pain drug Voveran, and Novartis has responded by challenging NPPA's authority to do so. The fine is just the latest move in an escalating battle between drugmakers and the NPPA.

Eisai adds to chemo side-effects franchise with FDA nod for Akynzeo

Months after launching a regulatory battle to extend exclusivity for two of its best-selling products, Eisai won FDA approval for its Akynzeo drug to treat common side effects in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Australian docs launch anti-pharma rep campaign

When it comes to interactions between doctors and pharmaceutical companies, there's a growing desire for transparency among those concerned that reps influence prescribing habits. But an Australian group of doctors and academics wants to take it one step further: With an aptly titled "No Advertising Please" campaign, it's pushing to end doc-rep interactions altogether.

Meda launches $276M rights issue to help pay for Rottapharm

As Sweden's Meda wraps up its buyout of the Italian drugmaker Rottapharm, it's rolling out a rights issue--to the tune of 2 billion kronor, or about $276 million--to help finance the deal.

Takeda wins temporary reprieve for controversial gout drug Colcrys

Turning the ancient gout remedy colchicine into an FDA-approved drug may not have been as costly an endeavor as developing a new med from scratch. But Takeda Pharmaceuticals still wants to reap brand-level sales for its version, dubbed Colcrys--and it's suing the FDA to make sure that happens.

Novartis employee pleads guilty to bribery in Poland

Tuesday, two women pleaded guilty in a Polish court to handing a health fund official a trip worth more than $1,000 in exchange for backing the sale of a certain drug. And one of those women was a Novartis employee, the company said Thursday.

Bristol-Myers, Otsuka ask judge to nix Abilify kickback suit

Did Bristol-Myers Squibb offer kickbacks and push Abilify for off-label uses? Some former sales reps-turned-whistleblowers claim it did. And given the fact that Bristol-Myers already paid $515 million to settle some off-label marketing claims related to Abilify, they say, the company violated its "we'll behave" promises to the feds.

PhRMA renews legal battle over big hospital discounts for orphan drugs

Last October, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) sued the federal government over a rule that allowed some hospitals to get orphan drugs at a steep discount. At first, it looked like the trade group had prevailed, because in May, a federal court struck down the authority of the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to enforce the rule.

Impax gets products, manufacturing with $700M deal for allergy-drug makers

Back in August, Impax Laboratories CEO Fred Wilkinson told investors on a conference call that the company was "well-positioned to execute on a number of transactions." And now, the company has pulled the trigger on one of those deals, spending $700 million on a pair of Pennsylvania drugmakers.

AstraZeneca touts upbeat asthma data for key respiratory candidate

It's one step back, one step forward for AstraZeneca's key respiratory drug benralizumab.

With Allergan buy, Actavis could achieve its branded-drug ambitions

As Big Pharma's big patent cliff took hold a few years ago, generics makers enjoyed the sales boost of one newly off-patent blockbuster after another. But savvy execs knew that the unprecedented party would end soon enough--and generics companies would be facing a sort of patent cliff of their own.

CEO's latest forecast: A 'vast value gap' between Allergan and Valeant

Allergan has been insisting for months that Valeant's buyout offer is "grossly inadequate" and "substantially undervalues" the company. Now that Valeant has upped its bid by $4.5 billion? Same deal, the Botox maker says, citing its own rosy earnings forecast.

Merck can't sidestep $250M gender-bias suit, judge says

The sex discrimination lawsuit against Merck lives on. A federal judge refused to toss out the $250 million suit, which claims that female sales reps were paid less, promoted less and ignored when they complained about it.

Auxilium dumps QLT inversion deal for $2.6B Endo buyout

In September, Auxilium Pharmaceuticals' CEO Adrian Adams shrugged off a $2.2 billion acquisition offer from Dublin-based Endo International, saying he'd rather do a reverse merger with Canada's QLT. Endo upped its offer to $2.6 billion in cash and stock--enough to seal the deal, the company announced today.

Take your drugs, get a prize? West and HealthPrize test new adherence plot

West Pharmaceutical Services and HealthPrize Technologies are taking gamification to the next level. The companies are teaming up on a new, interactive initiative that encourages patients to take their medication and rewards them when they do.

Chantix litigation may be wrapped, but safety debate wears on

Just as a federal judge says it's time to close the books on the Chantix litigation that's been moving through her Alabama court, Pfizer is preparing for another kind of fight over the drug. The company has been building its case for the FDA to clear the black-box warning off the stop-smoking drug's label, but patient groups are now petitioning the agency to add more heft to that warning instead.

Novartis, Roche chiefs still top list of highest-paid Swiss managers despite exec-pay uproar

Swiss citizens may have recently voted for some of the world's tightest controls on executive pay. But did that keep the Roche and Novartis pharma chiefs from pocketing more than 13 million Swiss francs ($13.6 million) last year? Not according to a new study.

Merck hops onto HBCU network to step up its brand in the African-American community

Merck's marketing team is adding another arrow to its quiver of community-oriented campaigns: a partnership with HBCU Connect, a niche media network targeting alumni and students of historically black colleges and universities.

Novartis, GSK shake up executive ranks as overhaul continues

Six months after announcing a series of deals aimed at refocusing its R&D efforts, Novartis is starting to provide some glimpses of what the new company will look like--and who will and will not be leading it.