It's Merck vs. Merck as name confusion, complicated by social media, leads to legal showdown

Merck has won a legal battle over Merck, which in return says it will file a lawsuit against Merck. It sounds confusing, but confusion is the essence of the legal battle between Germany's Merck KGaA and U.S.-based Merck & Co., known as MSD outside the U.S. The companies are engaged in a dispute largely over the misunderstandings brought about from sharing the same name for nearly 125 years.

Akorn estimates it overstated '14 financials by $35M

Last April, Illinois-based Akorn Pharmaceuticals told shareholders it had likely overstated its financial results for the last three quarters of 2014--an announcement that sent shares spiraling and triggered investor lawsuits.

Merck reaches $830M settlement in long-running Vioxx litigation

Merck is closing a chapter in its seemingly never-ending saga for its painkiller Vioxx, agreeing to pay more than $800 million to settle a lawsuit over the med years after the company pulled its product from the market and shelled out billions to resolve additional suits.

NIH urged to 'break taboo' against using its power to bypass drug patents

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has said that it would take "extraordinary" circumstances for the agency to address rising drug prices, even as skyrocketing costs draw criticism from patients, payers and the public. But two organizations think that it's about time for the NIH to act. And they're not mincing words with their request.

Federal judge declines to toss Paxil suicide case, setting GSK up for September trial

GlaxoSmithKline will have to go to court to fight claims that a generic version of its Paxil antidepressant triggered an Illinois man's suicide. U.S. District Judge James Zagel declined to rule on the drugmaker's motions for summary judgment, setting the case up for trial in September.

NIH and HHS get 'march-in' request for Astellas' Xtandi

Less than a week after lawmakers asked the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take "extraordinary" action against rising drug prices, the agencies are getting a similar request from a nonprofit and cancer patient group. The latest target? Astellas' prostate cancer drug, Xtandi.

Hemophilia marketing tactics raise questions as market heats up

While there are plenty of drugs for hemophilia, new patients can be few and far between. To build their market share, some drugmakers and specialty pharmacies have begun hiring patients and their families to convince others to make a treatment switch--a practice that toes the ethical line and makes some hemophiliacs uncomfortable.

Pfizer expands consumer biz in China with Treerly supplements buy

Pfizer's consumer health unit is said to be destined for sale, but that doesn't mean the business has stopped making its own buys. The drug giant snapped up Treerly Health, the China-based subsidiary of Sirio Pharma, and its portfolio of nutritional products for women, Pfizer said Thursday.

FTC stats show pharma backing off pay-for-delay deals after SCOTUS ruling

For years, the Federal Trade Commission lamented the ever-growing number of pay-for-delay patent settlements--three in 2005, 14 in 2007, up to a record 40 in 2012--and vowed to turn the tide. Now, it looks as if that's happening.

Don't split up the dynamic duo of GSK's vaccines and drugs, vax chief says

Prominent U.K. investor Neil Woodford has been calling for a four-way breakup of GlaxoSmithKline, a company he says is too "complicated" for its own good. But take it from GSK vaccines chief Moncef Slaoui--splitting apart is a bad idea, at least on the vaccines front.

For its next pare-down move, Pfizer weighs sale of Hospira pump business: Bloomberg

Pfizer has been contemplating a large-scale breakup for a while, with analysts expecting the company to split off its established drugs business once it integrates assets from last year's $15 billion Hospira buy. Now, with its Hospira purchase under its belt, the company is thinking about selling off the pumps and devices business it picked up through the deal, potentially laying the foundation for a spinoff.

GSK chief Witty opens up to spinoff talk, with consumer health an obvious choice

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty may be coming around on a breakup. At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Witty said he's open to the idea and pegged his consumer health joint venture with Novartis as a possible option.

New Bayer site to make traditional Chinese and Western consumer health meds

Bayer snapped up China's Dihon in 2014 with the idea of combining Dihon's traditional Chinese medicines with Bayer's Western OTC products in a major consumer health play in the country. Now it has a large new plant there to produce both kinds of products.

#JPM16 Roundup: What you need to know on Pfizer, Sanofi and more

SAN FRANCISCO--On Monday, we brought you the lowdown from the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, with company presentations from pharma giants including Novartis and Merck & Co. Today, we're back with our latest roundup, big names and not-so-big.

Pfizer CEO: Allergan deal is 'a lot more about growth' than job cuts

Anyone who's examined Pfizer's job-chopping track record knows the company has a tendency to wield the ax in the wake of a megamerger. But this time? Things will be different, CEO Ian Read said of Pfizer's Allergan tie-up on Tuesday at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

Shire CEO thinks he can beat $500M in postmerger cost savings

Shire may have clinched its $32 billion deal to buy Baxalta, but not everyone is breaking out the confetti. Some analysts aren't sold on the tie-up, saying they expected more in the way of savings and still are perplexed by what Baxalta brings to the table.

Depomed isn't anti-takeover, CEO says. It was just anti-Horizon

SAN FRANCISCO--Let Depomed be clear: it may not have been too keen on Horizon Pharma's buyout offer from last year, but that doesn't mean it's opposed to a takeover.

Pharma scandals spawn investor lawsuits at KaloBios, Sequoia

Angry investors of KaloBios and Sequoia Fund are taking their pharma grievances to the courts.

What public outcry? New year brings dozens of double-digit drug price hikes

All eyes may be on rising drug costs, but that doesn't mean pharma companies are backing away from price hikes. In recent days, analysts have spotlighted hundreds of increases, more than 100 of them at Pfizer alone, that took effect January 1.

Want the skinny from the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference? We've got you covered

SAN FRANCISCO--Sometimes, it can tough to be filter out what a company means from the little it says at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. So please, allow us to do the summarizing--and check back throughout the week for updates.