Bayer's bets on consumer health deliver during Q2

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers bet that picking up Merck's consumer business last year would give his company a boost as it prepares to hive off its plastics unit and refocus on life sciences. Now Dekkers' gamble appears to be paying off, as the Leverkusen-based drugmaker beat analysts' estimates in Q2 with the help of its new consumer business and recent launches.

UPDATED: CEO Martin says significant growth lies ahead, as Gilead reports huge quarter

Gilead Sciences turned in another stunning quarter, beating the analysts forecasts on earnings and raising its expected take for the year by $1 billion. But some of the stock watchers saw ominous things in the fact that 10,000 fewer patients started on Gilead's hep C meds in Q2. Not to worry, CEO John Martin assured them. It was an explainable blip and there is more growth to come.

Pfizer drops effort to make Lipitor an OTC med

Millions of Americans take statins to help control their cholesterol and try to stay heart healthy. You just can't count on them to handle that on their own, Pfizer has found. And so the maker of Lipitor, the most successful statin of them all, has given up on its efforts to move the drug to an over-the-counter treatment.

With new cash on its way, it's back to buying for deal-happy Allergan, CEO says

On Monday, Allergan agreed to sell off a $40.5 billion piece of its business, inking a pact to exit the generics space with a sale to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. But CEO Brent Saunders is already thinking about future buys.

Sanofi hands Regeneron $1.8B for new immuno-oncology pact

After winning approval for their PCSK9 drug Praluent last week, longtime partners Sanofi and Regeneron are back at it with a new collaboration. The French pharma giant will pay at least $1.8 billion in a new immuno-oncology deal that includes an early-stage checkpoint inhibitor.

Merck beats Wall Street's expectations with a patchwork of efforts

It may not have been pretty, but Merck & Co. was able to piece together enough cost cuts and revenue surprises to exceed analysts' expectations for earnings, and push its forecast higher for the year.

Hard-hit Biogen needs to act fast, analysts say--or beware its deal-hungry peers

Last week was a less-than-ideal one for Biogen--and the Massachusetts company may risk becoming deal bait if it doesn't do something about it quickly.

Pfizer lifts guidance as Prevnar, Ibrance trigger Q2 beats

Analysts expected Pfizer's Established Products division to keep suffering on generic competition to Celebrex and Zyvox in Q2. But they didn't foresee new-launch Ibrance and key vaccine Prevnar 13 picking up as much slack as they did, helping the pharma giant surpass both top- and bottom-line estimates and prompting it to up its guidance.

Hikma shells out $2.65B for Boehringer's U.S. generics business

When Boehringer Ingelheim put its U.S.-based generics business on the market, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt and Perrigo reportedly pulled up seats at the bidding table. But Hikma emerged the winner, snagging Boehringer's Roxane Labs unit for $2.65 billion to substantially boost its noninjectable generics business.

Aegerion dumps CEO who got it into FDA trouble for talking too freely

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals CEO Marc Beer may be a fast talker but he has been a bit of a slow walker when it comes to giving up his position as CEO. The executive, who got the company into trouble with the feds for speaking too freely on TV about the upside of his company's lead drug, has acquiesced to investor demands and moved on.

About that brand/generics hybrid thing? Make that brands only, Allergan says with Teva deal

It's been less than 8 months since the company formerly known as Actavis agreed to swallow Allergan, taking a $66 billion plunge into branded sales and pledging to run its branded and generics businesses as "one culture, one company." But it took just a few weeks to undo those plans, as lucky bidder Teva found out with Monday's $40.5 billion deal for the drugmaker's generic offerings.

Analyst: J&J's Stelara to challenge Novartis in ankylosing spondylitis

Novartis is looking to distinguish its new med Cosentyx from a bevy of next-gen psoriasis-fighters with additional nods, including one for ankylosing spondylitis. But it's not the only company with that idea.

Amgen wins new myeloma nod for blockbuster hopeful Kyprolis

Amgen, which has been looking to steal market share from Celgene's Pomalyst in treating multiple myeloma, has won a new FDA approval for Kyprolis that will help it in that fight.

AstraZeneca snags $300M from Sanofi for rare cancer med amid cash-generating deal spree

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot has long argued that shedding some of the company's noncore businesses could help jump-start sales, adding cash to its reservoirs as it chases its lofty sales goals. Now, the British drugmaker is taking another step in that direction as it passes off one of its rare cancer drugs to Sanofi, getting $300 million in the process.

Forget Mylan: Teva inks $40B-plus pact for Allergan's generics biz

Forget everything you thought you knew last week about some of the generics industry's biggest players. Teva is no longer enmeshed in a hostile pursuit of rival Mylan, and Allergan is no longer touting its status as a hybrid brand-and-generics specialist. Instead, they're teaming up with one another.

UnitedHealth uses newfound scale to negotiate pay-for-performance deals

Newly bulked-up UnitedHealth now boasts the U.S.' third largest pharmacy benefits business--and it's using its scale to push for refunds when meds don't live up to their billing, it says.

Cancer docs try to rally public behind plan to fight drug prices

Cancer doctors at the famed Mayo Clinic have been up in arms about escalating prices of cancer drugs. Now they have recruited a bunch of colleagues and are trying to rile up the public in hopes of starting a patient-based grassroots movement.

AbbVie falls short on Q2 sales--but don't blame biosimilars, CEO says

Huge sales leaps for AbbVie's Humira have been powering revenue forecast beats for the company in recent quarters. But this time, international sales of the drug took a hit, leading the Illinois pharma to fall short of analysts' top-line expectations.

Novartis' newly acquired melanoma combo wins EU recommendation

Novartis' recently acquired melanoma duo, Tafinlar and Mekinist, has won a recommendation from the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use as a combo treatment for BRAF V600 mutation-positive melanoma

Biogen gets beaten up as slowing Tecfidera sales lead it to trim forecast

The speed bump that sales of Biogen's Tecfidera hit earlier this year, slowing its growth, has turned into a big old pothole and it has shaken investors pretty hard who have been on for the ride.