KV, Novartis problems spawn drug shortage; U.K. starts stockpiling GSK's Relenza;

> Generic Toprol XL, a treatment for high blood pressure, is in short supply after manufacturing problems at Novartis and KV Pharma--two big suppliers in the U.S.--forced recalls of the drug. Report

> The U.K. has added 10.6 million doses of GlaxoSmithKline's antiflu med Relenza to its pandemic stockpile, along with another 7.6 million doses of Roche's Tamiflu. Report

> With the Phacilitate Vaccines Forum taking place in our backyard, FierceVaccines decided we had to check it out. We talked to you and your industry counterparts to get your opinions on growing trends in the field and what you expect in the coming year. Report

> Switzerland's Acino Holding said its version of the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Sanofi-Aventis blood thinner Plavix has captured a big chunk of the German market since its launch last year. Report

> Shares of Amylin Pharmaceuticals fell Wednesday after the company said its fourth-quarter loss widened on a decline in diabetes drug sales and a hefty restructuring costs. Amylin Release l Report

> Mylan got the FDA nod for its versions of GlaxoSmithKline's Lamictal, used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder. Release

> The FDA has approved Gelnique, the first and only topical gel to treat overactive bladder, made by Watson Pharmaceuticals. Release l Report

> Steven M. Niedelman, former deputy associate commissioner for regulatory operations at the FDA, has joined the law firm Crowell & Moring as senior consultant. Release

> Bristol-Myers Squibb's strategy to buy up biotech assets as a way of ginning future revenue is drawing a significant amount of skepticism. Analysts are already discussing possible partnership or buyout deals. And Sanofi-Aventis is a likely favorite among potential bidders. Report

> The tiny developer XTL Biopharmaceuticals is juggling some merger offers at the same time Nasdaq says it intends to delist the company's floundering stock. XTL officials announced that they are reviewing several offers from the U.S. and companies in other countries. Report

> Exact Sciences has forged an asset sale agreement with Genzyme for $24.5 million in a deal that successfully fended off a hostile buyout offer from Sequenom. Report

> The Wall Street Journal analyzes the reasons behind Pfizer's ambitious $68 billion bid for Wyeth, and finds a pipeline of biologics and new vaccines. Report

> Last November, the board at CV Therapeutics spurned Astellas' billion-dollar offer for the company. But the market has changed a lot in the past two months, and CV now says that they'll give Astellas' bid a fresh look following its decision to go public. Report

> Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates says that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation lost about one fifth of its total value in last year's stock meltdown, but he plans to increase the amount of money he's spending on vaccine and other initiatives this year. Report

> A new study from Italy affirms that the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, once used in many vaccines, doesn't hurt children. Researchers examined 1,403 children who, as babies, were given two different amounts of thimerosal from all their other routine shots as part of a randomized study of whooping cough vaccines conducted in the early 1990s. Report

And Finally...  Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators found a surprising link between brain iron levels and serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in neuropsychiatric conditions ranging from autism to major depression. Release