Merck mulls new agency for $600M in ads; New Russian pricing rules worry Nycomed;

 @FiercePharma: Aiming for growth in Indonesia, Philippines. Report | Follow @FiercePharma

> Merck is looking at consolidating its $600 million advertising account at one agency, sources told AdWeek. Report

> Nycomed is cautious about its Russian pharmaceuticals business in 2010 as new price and registry rules were set to put pressure on profitability, a senior executive said. Report

> Shire, Britain's third largest drugmaker, forecast a return to revenue and earnings growth in 2010 after reporting better than expected 2009 results, helped by reduced drug rebates in the U.S. Report

> The World Health Organization's influenza experts have finished a four-day meeting and decided that protection against H1N1 swine flu should be included in the next regular flu-season vaccine. Report

> European regulators recommended GlaxoSmithKline's new kidney cancer drug Votrient for conditional approval, paving the way for its rollout across the European Union. Report

> GlaxoSmithKline will no longer make or market PoliGrip denture adhesives with zinc, the company announced. Report

Biotech News

 @FierceBiotech: Which companies are up for a big FDA approval decision in the first half? Article | Follow @FierceBiotech

 @JohnCFierce: Fresh, compelling evidence that flu vax is wasted on the elderly. Story | Follow @JohnCFierce

> A price war could be shaping up for Gaucher disease. With its PDUFA date looming, Shire says that it plans to market its new therapy under the name VPRIV (it was developed as velaglucerase alfa), and it will charge 15 percent less than Genzyme's Cerezyme. Shire report

> Faced with the collapse of advanced licensing discussions for its antiarrythmia drug budiadarone, Fremont, CA-based ARYx Therapeutics is once again bringing out the budget axe. ARYx report

> Fresh concerns over the reliability of late-stage clinical data used by Switzerland's Basilea to back the new superbug antibiotic ceftobiprole caused regulators at the European Medicines Agency to drop their earlier recommendation in its favor. Article

> The FDA's decision to reject a marketing application for a new restless leg syndrome therapy from XenoPort and GlaxoSmithKline triggered a 66 percent plunge in the smaller developer's share price yesterday. But there was some significant collateral damage to size up as well. Article

And Finally... When it comes to the placebo effect, it really may be mind over matter, a new analysis suggests. Report

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