Roche and Novartis unable to kill €180M fine in Avastin vs. Lucentis case

An Italian regional court is upholding charges levied earlier this year against Roche and Novartis, fining the companies €180 million for manipulating sales of Lucentis, their drug for wet age-related macular degeneration.

Epirus and Ranbaxy launch a Remicade biosimilar in India

The biosimilar bonanza is underway, and Johnson & Johnson's rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade is at the center of the copycat action. Boston-based biosimilar maker Epirus Biopharmaceuticals is rolling out a knockoff of the monoclonal antibody (mAb) in India with partner Ranbaxy Laboratories, a year after Hospira got its Remicade version approved in Europe.

NICE doesn't get the Soliris cost info it wants--but backs the drug anyway

Back in March, the U.K.'s cost watchdog went where it hasn't yet gone before, asking Alexion, maker of pricey orphan drug Soliris, to justify the drug's high sticker with information on the company's R&D costs. Now, it hasn't yet gotten the response it wants, it says, but it's backing Soliris regardless--once a few conditions are met.

Hackers target top pharma execs for financial gain

A group of hackers is looking for information related to drug safety, clinical trials, regulatory decisions and legal issues that's significant enough to move the global financial markets--and it's raiding top pharma execs' email accounts to find it, The New York Times reports.

BMS makes cuts in China, reports say up to 1,000

Western drugmakers were pretty head-over-heels about prospects in China until authorities launched a bribery probe against GlaxoSmithKline which dragged on for a year and ended with a half billion dollar fine and people going to jail. That has left drugmakers to rethink their strategies there and for Bristol-Myers Squibb it means cutting hundreds off its payroll.

Otsuka spends $3.5B for Avanir--and patent-cliff protection

Otsuka's patent cliff is coming, with the expiration date on best-seller Abilify's IP shield just around the corner. But now, the Japanese pharma has signed a $3.5 billion agreement to pick up Avanir Pharmaceuticals that could help soften the blow.

NICE changes its attitude on Roche's Gazyvaro

Months after the U.K.'s drug price watchdog the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence gave a preliminary thumbs-down to Roche's Gazyvaro for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the agency is now set to recommend the drug in new draft guidance with a few strings attached.

FTC orders Novartis to sell nicotine patch biz to approve consumer deal with GSK

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission found only one antitrust wrinkle in the combo of the consumer health units of GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis and says it has been ironed out. Novartis will sell its Habitrol nicotine patch business so the new joint venture will not have too much market sway in pricing of nicotine patches in the U.S.

Healthcare experience wins Peterburg Teva's chairman job

Teva, whose board composition has stirred up some recent shareholder activism, has picked its next chairman. And investors pushing for more experienced leadership may be pleased with his resume.

Reuters: In Fresenius, Danone could lose second suitor for nutrition unit

French company Danone hasn't had much luck so far hawking its medical nutrition business--and bidder Fresenius may be set to walk away, Reuters reports.

UPDATED: Novartis flu vaccine under the lens as Italy probes 13 deaths

Italy's drug regulator has a growing investigation on its hands, and Novartis is in the middle of it. The number of people who have died in the country after receiving one of the Swiss pharma giant's flu vaccines has risen by 10 just days after Italy issued a partial ban on the product.

GSK ready to ax hundreds in U.S., sources tell Bloomberg

GlaxoSmithKline is making big cost cuts to boost its finances next year as sales of its $8.25 billion asthma med Advair are deflated by competition, generic and otherwise. Reports are that hundreds of jobs are on the line in the U.S. and the culling will be announced this week.

Merck KGaA will hold onto its consumer health biz--for now

Selling off OTC businesses is the trend du jour in Big Pharma, but Merck KGaA is not jumping on the bandwagon. The company is planning to hold on to its consumer healthcare unit in a move that could deliver a much-needed boost to its slumping drug portfolio.

We publish, you pick: FiercePharma's 10 best-read stories of 2014

In pharma, here are the top 10 news stories of the year so far, based on web traffic.

Valeant CEO touts R&D output with new dermatology approval

Less than two weeks after losing longtime acquisition target Allergan--which happily sold itself to Actavis to dodge Valeant's hostile bid and the R&D cuts it feared would come along with it--the Canadian pharma is talking up the productivity of its own labs.

Sanofi's pre-game show on Afrezza has MannKind followers chattering

The crowd is already assembling to watch Sanofi's upcoming rollout of Afrezza, the inhaled insulin developed by MannKind.

Who are the stars of personalized meds? Roche, Novartis and J&J

Targeted drugs, personalized medicine, stratified therapy--whatever you call it, using biomarkers to identify particular patients for particular drugs has been hailed as a boon for patients and a savvy strategy for pharma.

Odds for a Pfizer-AZ matchup? All over the map, if you listen to analysts

Forget the odds on Thanksgiving Day football games. What's your bet on Pfizer lodging another bid for AstraZeneca?

Lundbeck strikes positive note with NICE nod for alcoholism med Selincro

Here's some good news for Lundbeck in an otherwise bleak week: The U.K.'s cost watchdog has endorsed its alcohol-dependence treatment, Selincro.

In a welcome surprise, China plans to deep-six price caps on drugs

Some good news for emerging-market ambitions: China is backpedaling on price caps. After shortages prompted the government to ease up on certain price controls earlier this year, officials are now preparing to lift the price controls as early as Jan. 1.