EU OKs Ironwood drug for constipation; Merck bumps up dividend; EMA releases biosimilars guidelines;

@FiercePharma: Growing price gap between branded drugs, generics = more incentive for payers to push the cheaper copies. More | Follow @FiercePharma

> The European Commission has approved Constella, the drug from Ironwood Pharmaceuticals ($IRWD) and Almirall for treating irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) in adults. Release (pdf)

> Merck & Co. ($MRK) will bump up its quarterly dividend to 43 cents from 42 cents for shareholders of record as of Dec. 17 and payable Jan. 8. Item

> Adcock Ingram reported 9% decline in net earnings, which was more than analysts had predicted for the small South African drugmaker. Story

> The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has released proposal for how it can help mitigate potential and real drug shortages stemming from manufacturing problems. Story

> Hungary's largest drugmaker, Gedeon Richter, has seen a stock price bounce after partner, Forest Laboratories Inc. ($FRX), applied to register Cariprazine for the treatment of schizophrenia, a drug developed by Richter. Story

> Franz Haniel & Cie. has sold a 4.6% stake in drug distributor Celesio for about $129 million to raise money to pay down debt. Story

> The EMA released its final guidelines on biosimilar monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that focuses on safety and efficacy but continues work on its guidelines for biosimilar quality. Item

> A report from researcher Prabhudas Lilladher says proposed drug price caps in India could trim earnings from domestic sales by 5% to 10% for Indian drugmakers like Ranbaxy Laboratories and Cipla. Item

Biotech News

 @FierceBiotech: In case you missed it yesterday, check out the 10 top drug launch disasters on Special Report | Follow @FierceBiotech

 @JohnCFierce: Sanofi jumps on board Selecta's immunotherapy platform with $900M discovery deal. News | Follow @JohnCFierce

 @RyanMFierce: A Dutch group's study suggests pharma's reliance on CROs to do studies in dev. world could leave patients at risk. More | Follow @RyanMFierce

> Gates-backed Index offers Big Pharmas mixed grades on access and R&D practices. Story

> Roche, Broad band together to bring failed drugs back from the dead. News

> Curis snags $30M loan, grabs early-stage cancer drug from Genentech. Story

Medical Device News

 @FierceMedDev: If you haven't, check out the top Dx sellers for 2012. Many are already outpacing 2011 annual sales as of Q3. Special Report | Follow @FierceMedDev

@MarkHFierce: Considering how big catheter ablation is becoming, when will a big suitor try to snatch up Endosense? More | Follow @MarkHFierce

 @DamianFierce: In the wake of J&J's $21B deal for Synthes, medical device and diagnostics M&A was a little quieter in 2012. Special Report | Follow @DamianFierce

> Edwards' mitral heart valve wins Chinese SFDA nod. More

> GE exec: Fiscal cliff is stalling medical device sales. Story

> Given Imaging submits PillCam Colon 2 for FDA clearance. News

Biomarkers News

> Finding gene biomarkers could help diagnosis of rare and lethal cancer. Item

> Researchers find genetic marker for newborn respiratory distress. Article

> Biomarker helps brain cancer snack on sugar. Story

> Biomarkers could change the course of Chagas disease treatment. More

> Gene predicts resistance to Pfizer's Xalkori. Report

Drug Delivery News

> Pfizer completes $680M NextWave acquisition. Item

> Clinical results for Intellipharmaceutics' CR pregabalin. News

> CeQur's insulin pump approved for European market. Article

> Applications expand for Rhenovia's transdermal RHEpatch. Story

And Finally... The U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) says sloth is killing people there and recommends they leave the car at home for any trips that can be made on foot or bicycle in 15 or 20 minutes. Story