UPDATED: With hep C approval app, AbbVie eyes franchise growth in Japan

SINGAPORE--Here's some expansion news for AbbVie's hepatitis C franchise. The U.S.-based drugmaker has asked Japanese regulators to approve its antiviral cocktail, hoping to grab a piece of that market as it fights for share in the States.

India's Aurobindo Pharma eyes major earnings boost if U.S. FDA comes through on applications

SINGAPORE--Aurobindo Pharma's U.S. unit, AuroMedics Pharma USA, says that if the U.S. FDA manages to speed up its approval process for generic drugs in the coming fiscal year, its earnings could shoot up by half.

Hospira CEO Ball stands to reap $80M on Pfizer buyout

When Hospira's proxy was filed last year, CEO F. Michael Ball's $9.9 million in total compensation didn't even rank him among the top 15 highest paid biopharma execs. But with the $15 billion sale of his company to Pfizer, Ball will achieve that goal that CEOs strive for: the payout of the golden parachute. In his case, it is a package that adds up to more than $80 million.

AstraZeneca $7.9M kickback settlement shows risks of payer discounting

The U.S. Justice Department has slapped AstraZeneca for an alleged kickback scheme. The $7.9 million penalty is peanuts compared with Big Pharma's other marketing settlements--in fact, AstraZeneca's own settlement topped $500 million.

Sales slump for Reckitt pharma spinoff Indivior in its first-ever earnings release

Flying solo isn't always easy, as recent Reckitt Benckiser spinoff Indivior is learning firsthand. The drugmaker reported an 8% decline in 2014 revenues--and the pain won't end there.

Glaxo's new meds are finally grabbing market share--but can they keep it up?

Last week, GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty told reporters something investors have long been hoping to hear: The company's respiratory newcomers are picking up steam.

Pfizer CEO thinks buys and swaps, with an eye toward future breakup

Pfizer CEO Ian Read not only isn't done with deals after his Hospira purchase; he's also looking at creative swaps, a la the Novartis-GlaxoSmithKline deals.

Can Valeant turn Dendreon's flailing Provenge into a viable cancer competitor?

The deadline to bid for Dendreon has come and gone, and now that no other qualified bids have come forward, Valeant is walking away victorious.

Gilead plots new hires, new commercial HQ in London

Gilead Sciences is setting up a new commercial headquarters in London, as a beachhead for growth in the U.K. and beyond. Together with expansions in R&D, the new HQ will double Gilead's work force in England to 600, with 400 of those employees based in London.

Think Allergan CEO's 'all-consuming' Valeant fight won't happen to you? Think again

Fending off a hostile bid last year from partners Valeant and activist investor Bill Ackman wasn't just a lot of work, according to Allergan CEO David Pyott. It was a full-time job.

Gilead's pricey Sovaldi lost a patent in India. Now, its EU patent is under siege

Gilead Sciences might have expected a hepatitis C patent challenge in India. But in Europe? Not so much. But that's exactly what Gilead is getting. After losing its bid for a new Indian patent covering its blockbuster treatment Sovaldi, Gilead is now threatened with a similar action at the European Patent Office in Munich.

Humira biosimilars will gut AbbVie's sales in 3 years, analyst says

Pharma analysts have different opinions on how much branded drugmakers will feel the heat from biosimilars--and when they'll feel it. But according to one Citi analyst, they're all underestimating the impact on AbbVie's top dog.

FDA puts off Mylan's Nexium generic, giving Teva's version free rein

Good news for Teva when it comes to Mylan's generic version of AstraZeneca's Nexium: It won't be around for a little while.

Showdown time for Amgen, Sandoz, with Neupogen biosim hearing set March 2

Novartis and its Neupogen biosimilar are steamrolling toward the U.S. market. But Amgen hasn't given up stopping the product in its tracks. The biotech last week urged a California court to block the biosimilar launch, with FDA approval expected as soon as March 9.

Singapore plans universal healthcare blending public and private hospitals

SINGAPORE--Singapore plans to offer a version of universal healthcare that builds on catastrophic insurance mandatory under the country's Central Provident fund.

Strides Arcolab, Shasun merger in India faces shareholder test

SINGAPORE--A proposed $200 million merger between India's Strides Arcolab and Shasun Pharmaceuticals is about to be tested by Shasun's shareholders.

From the pharma C-suite: Notable, quotable remarks on Asia, emerging markets

FiercePharma brings you notes on the Asian and emerging markets operations of major drug companies from fourth-quarter earnings calls to explain what C-suite executives are focused on.

Daiichi's new clot-fighter Savaysa can't make up for $2.6B Benicar patent loss: analysts

Daiichi Sankyo's got a big revenue hurdle coming up, with top treatment Benicar set to lose patent protection next year. A black-box warning on its new drug Savaysa isn't helping matters. So analysts are wondering what the company can do to plug the forthcoming sales holes.

FDA to pharma: Scrap that fine-print risk info in DTC ads

Look for some big changes next time you run across a magazine ad for Crestor or Viagra or any of the brands on heavy rotation. The FDA has decided that its long-standing disclose-all policy on side effects was wrong. Way wrong.

Guinea approves Fujifilm's Avigan to treat early Ebola cases

SINGAPORE--The head of Guinea's Ebola-response program wasted no time in announcing approval of broader use of Fujifilm's Avigan (favipiravir) influenza drug for treating early cases of Ebola in the West Africa nation.