India hikes prices on locally made insulin; Lilly asks ITC to deter Gemzar copies;

@FiercePharma:  Analysts ponder prospects of $7B Pfizer spinoff. Story | Follow @FiercePharma

> India's drug-pricing regulator has allowed domestic insulin makers to increase their prices by about 18 percent, MoneyControl reports, putting their sticker prices closer to par with multinational companies' insulin products. Article

> To beat back generic competition to its blockbuster cancer drug Gemzar, Eli Lilly has turned to the International Trade Commission. News

> Women who take codeine, oxycodone and other opioid pain drugs early in pregnancy may be exposing their babies to a higher risk of birth defects, a new government study suggests. Report

> ProStrakan said the people and facilities of the Japanese firm that is bidding for it had not been directly affected by the disastrous earthquake and tsunami and confirmed it still expected the takeover to complete next month. Article

> In the wake of alleged bribe payments, the scandal-plagued California Public Employees' Retirement System has ended contract renewal negotiations with pharmacy benefits manager Medco Health Solutions. Item

> Ranbaxy Laboratories, India's top drugmaker by sales, said it had fully redeemed $440 million zero-coupon convertible bonds on March 18. Story

> UK health officials' plans to change the way the NHS negotiates drug prices with pharmaceutical companies could leave the health service footing a larger bill with no real benefit to patients, an NHS trusts organization warns. News

Biotech News

@FierceBiotech:  Interview: Pfizer vaccine unit eyes adults, infectious disease. News | Follow @FierceBiotech 

> Takeda looks to Deborah Dunsire to guide oncology work. Article 

> Cleveland BioLabs radiation drug ready for potential Japan use. News 

> Genomics companies finally bear fruit. Report 

> Actelion hires Goldman, law firm to fend off Elliott Advisors. Item

> European experts back Pfizer, BMS drug apixaban. Story 

And Finally... A major new analysis challenges the long-held idea that people who carry extra weight around the middle--those with an "apple" shape--are at greater risk for heart disease than "pears," whose fat clusters on thighs and buttocks. Report