Amgen scores PCSK9 exclusive in pay-for-performance deal with Harvard Pilgrim

Amgen is taking its brand-new cholesterol drug into uncharted territory. The drugmaker has negotiated a pay-for-performance deal with the health plan Harvard Pilgrim, gaining an exclusive spot on the payer's formulary in return for an upfront discount and future rebates if Repatha doesn't perform as outlined.

Boehringer Ingelheim picks family member to lead it through tough times

Boehringer Ingelheim has picked a member of the founding family as CEO for the first time in a quarter of a century to help it through its lean times. The drugmaker announced today that Hubertus von Baumbach, a great-grandson of founder Albert Boehringer, would take over when its current leader, Andreas Barner, steps out of that role next year.

Valeant board, Ackman back CEO Pearson as shares continue downward dive

Valeant's stock price may have hit its lowest point in more than two years, but the company's board and enthusiast investor Bill Ackman still say CEO J. Michael Pearson is the one for the job.

Gilead snags FDA green light for 4-in-1 HIV combo

Gilead is facing mounting competition in the HIV space from players including GlaxoSmithKline's ViiV Healthcare. But now, it has a new combo product to tout in Genvoya, which won an FDA go-ahead Thursday. 

Dr. Reddy's feels FDA heat, gets warning letter for three plants

A regulatory hammer has been hanging over Dr. Reddy's Laboratories since the FDA wrote up one of its plants for falling short of quality standards. That hammer has now fallen hard with the drugmaker becoming the latest large Indian drugmaker to be hit with a warning letter.

Medicaid calls on Gilead, AbbVie to answer hep C drug pricing questions

Some state Medicaid programs have held back on covering pricey hep C meds, limiting access to the drugs to the sickest individuals to save cash. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is not pleased with this approach and is calling on hep C drugmakers to lay out some pricing options that could help expand coverage for patients.

Sanofi puts 2 units on the block, commits to $1.6B in cuts to turn business around

Sanofi is planning $1.6 billion in cuts and considering selling its animal health and European generics businesses as it seeks to improve its fortunes. But with lackluster diabetes sales dragging on profits in the coming years, the company said not to expect any meaningful growth through 2017, leading investors to give the turnaround strategy a frosty reception.

AstraZeneca hikes full-year forecast as Nexium holds its own, Brilinta delivers

AstraZeneca has so far weathered the Nexium patent cliff well enough to actually raise its full-year sales forecast for 2015. Its Brilinta growth strategy appears to be paying off. But the U.K.-based company faces another big hurdle in the advent of Crestor generics--and investors aren't letting up on the pressure.

U.K. cancer fund strikes discount deal with Roche to keep Kadcyla covered

Last month, the U.K.'s special Cancer Drugs Fund gave the boot to a slate of therapies, including Roche's treatment Kadcyla--a decision the Swiss drugmaker's CEO called "stupid" and "completely arbitrary." Now, though, the fund and Roche have reached a discount deal--meaning Kadcyla is set to stay. 

Reuters: UnitedHealth spotted 'irregularities' at Valeant-affiliated specialty pharmacy last year

The business practices of Philidor--a specialty pharmacy Valeant worked with closely--have been under public scrutiny since a short seller accused the Canadian drugmaker of using the pharmacy to commit fraud. But they've been on the radar at UnitedHealth for a while now.

Vivus counts $25M in Q3 sales, $300M in debt. How can it possibly cover a $200M-plus Qsymia trial?

It's been more than 3 years since the FDA approved Vivus' obesity med Qsymia, but the company has yet to start up a required cardiovascular safety trial. And with sales disappointing and debt piling up, that's a problem.

Pfizer greatly expands free-drugs assistance as 'stopgap' for struggling patients

Like the rest of Big Pharma over the past couple of months, Pfizer has been defending its U.S. drug prices against unprecedented criticism. CEO Ian Read recently pointed the finger at insurance companies that are using high deductibles, coinsurance and copays to limit their own spending and boost their bottom lines.

Turing promises to cut Daraprim price by year's end, if only partially

Turing Pharmaceuticals has faced a firestorm of criticism since jacking up the price of its toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim by more than 5000%, with lawmakers, presidential hopefuls and the public calling for the company to bring down the med's sky-high price. Now Turing says it will lower Daraprim's price by the end of the year and will lay out measures to make the drug more affordable to patients.

Bloomberg: Valeant had planned to expand Philidor relationship before scandal hit

Valeant Pharmaceuticals disowned its Philidor specialty pharmacy fairly quickly after major questions arose about their relationship. But till those concerns went public, the Quebec-based drugmaker had intended to expand Philidor instead, Bloomberg reports.

Allergan delivers 'decent' Q3 sales growth, with price hikes driving half of it

All eyes are on Allergan's friendly deal talks with Pfizer, which is anxious to scoop up an acquisition and complete a tax inversion. But with the Irish drugmaker's execs mum on the possible combo Wednesday, the conversation turned to new product launches, drug pricing, and Q3 financials that looked "pretty good."

Eliquis, Opdivo push up Bristol-Myers' quarterly ad spend

Bristol-Myers Squibb spent Q3 competing in a couple of hot market races--and for that, it needed more ad dollars.

UPDATED: McCaskill turns up heat on Valeant with Senate pricing probe

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is turning up the heat on Canadian pharma Valeant, launching a bipartisan Senate investigation into drug pricing by companies including Valeant and Turing Pharmaceuticals.

Vertex sees dealmaking, CF meds as defenses against would-be buyers

Big Biotechs Gilead Sciences and Biogen may both need to make acquisitions soon. But Vertex Pharmaceuticals is determined not to be one of their targets.

Novo adding 450 more Denmark jobs as it bets on growth in insulin demand

Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Rebien Sørensen speaks of stingy payers and global competition in the world diabetes market, while Sanofi told investors its diabetes drug sales will fall through 2018. But none of this has deterred insulin specialist Novo, which today kicked off one piece of a huge production buildup that all told will add more than 1,200 jobs to the drugmaker.

Zoetis agrees on $765M deal for aquaculture leader Pharmaq

Animal health leader Zoetis--which has been the subject of many a pharma buyout rumor--is making a pickup of its own. Late Monday, the Pfizer spinoff announced an agreement to purchase Pharmaq--which specializes in vaccines and pharmaceuticals for farmed fish--for $765 million.