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May 11, 2015

U.S. says insurers must cover FDA-approved birth control methods

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – The U.S. government said health insurers must
cover all FDA-approved methods of birth control without co-pays
or charges to the patient, as it issued a paper on Monday
looking to clarify coverage guidelines under the Affordable Care

Recent published reports found that some payers were
ignoring federal requirements for covering birth control, a
benefit under the healthcare reform commonly referred to as

May 7, 2015

EU patent office revokes Celgene Revlimid patent; appeal planned

May 7 (Reuters) – Celgene Corp on Thursday said the
European Patent Office revoked a key patent on the company’s
flagship multiple myeloma drug Revlimid, a move that could shave
a year or two from the medicine’s exclusivity in Europe.

The so-called polymorph patent in question would have kept
cheaper versions of Revlimid off the European market until
September 2024.

May 5, 2015

Mylan maintains commitment to acquire Perrigo, reports profit

May 5 (Reuters) – Generic drugmaker Mylan NV, at the
center of a high-stakes, three-way takeover battle, said on
Tuesday it is fully committed to acquiring Ireland-based Perrigo

Mylan also reported slightly higher-than-expected
first-quarter profit.

“We remain steadfast in our legally binding commitment to
acquire Perrigo and have taken numerous concrete steps to lay
out a clear and certain path towards completion,” Mylan Chief
Executive Heather Bresch said in a statement.

May 5, 2015

Global cancer drug spending hits $100 billion in 2014: IMS Health

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Worldwide spending on cancer medicines reached $100 billion in 2014, an increase of 10.3 percent from 2013 and up from $75 billion five years earlier, according to IMS Health’s Global Oncology Trend Report released on Tuesday.

The $100 billion, which represents 10.8 percent of all drug spending globally and includes supportive care drugs to address things like nausea and anemia, was driven by expensive newer treatments in developed markets, IMS found.

Apr 30, 2015

PerkinElmer profit tops Street forecast; lowers full-year view

April 30 (Reuters) – Scientific instruments maker
PerkinElmer Inc on Thursday reported
higher-than-expected first-quarter profit despite the impact of
the strong dollar on overseas sales that led the U.S. company to
lower its full-year earnings forecast.

PerkinElmer, which also makes environmental testing and
medical diagnostic products, said the foreign exchange situation
would cut 2015 earnings by 23 cents per share instead of the 15
cents it had previously forecast.

Apr 30, 2015

Celgene sales highlight Revlimid dependence ahead of patent ruling

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Celgene Corp’s dependence on its big-selling multiple myeloma drug Revlimid raised investor concerns on Thursday as sales of its other medicines fell short of expectations.

Celgene shares fell 5 percent after the company reported quarterly results in which Revlimid shored up profits. Industry analysts see room for Revlimid to grow much further, with some estimating the drug will nearly double annual sales in coming years.

Apr 29, 2015

Perrigo rejects raised Mylan bid; Teva recommits to Mylan buy

April 29 (Reuters) – Perrigo Co Ltd on Wednesday
rejected a sweetened takeover offer from Mylan NV, while
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd said it remains
committed to acquiring Mylan, in a high stakes battle of major
generic drugmakers.

Mylan’s pursuit of Perrigo, which also sells
over-the-counter consumer products, is widely seen as an attempt
to fend off Teva, the world’s biggest maker of generic drugs.

Apr 28, 2015

Strong Merck cancer drug sales upstage rival Bristol-Myers

April 28 (Reuters) – Investors betting that Bristol-Myers
Squibb will emerge as the leading player in a hot new
class of cancer drugs hit the pause button on Tuesday as a rival
therapy from Merck & Co showed much higher sales.

Bristol shares fell as much as 2.7 percent and closed off 1
percent after reporting sales of Opdivo, a therapy that helps
the immune system fight cancer, totaled $40 million in the first
quarter of the year. That was below Wall Street forecasts of $50

Apr 28, 2015

High-profile Bristol cancer drug disappoints, shares off

By Ransdell Pierson and Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Tuesday reported first-quarter sales of its new cancer immunotherapy Opdivo that were about half of those for a rival medicine from Merck & Co (MRK.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), and its shares fell 2 percent.

Opdivo, which is used to treat advanced melanoma and was more recently approved to treat a common form of lung cancer, had sales of $40 million in the quarter. Merck on Tuesday said it Keytruda, a similar new drug that helps the immune system to fight cancer, had first quarter sales of $83 million.

Apr 27, 2015

Merck’s diabetes drug Januvia succeeds in heart safety trial

By Bill Berkrot

(Reuters) – Merck and Co’s diabetes drug Januvia achieved the main goal of a long-awaited heart safety study, according to preliminary results released by the drugmaker on Monday, likely removing a cloud of uncertainty from its biggest product.

Merck shares rose nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading following the announcement on Januvia, which had sales of about $4 billion in 2014, plus another $1.8 billion for the related combination product Janumet.

    • About Bill

      "Based in New York, I primarily cover the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors as well as other publicly traded companies involved in health care. Previously covered a wide range of sports for Reuters."
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