KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Novartis Agrees To SEC Settlement

The company will pay about $25 million in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to bookkeeping failures. Bristol-Myers-Squib will acquire a privately held company that will move it into the auto-immune disease drug market, and Propeller Health enters a digital partnership. News outlets also provide the latest on biosimilars and blood thinners,

The Wall Street Journal: Novartis Settles With SEC Over Accounting Failures
Novartis AG agreed to pay about $25 million in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over accounting and bookkeeping failures relating to illicit payments made in China. An SEC investigation found that employees of two China-based Novartis subsidiaries gave money, gifts and other things of value to health-care professionals, leading to several million dollars in sales of pharmaceutical products to Chinese state health institutions. Among the gifts, according to an administrative order filed by the SEC, was travel for the health-care professionals and their spouses to a conference in Chicago, along with walking-around money and coverage of strip-club charges on the side. (Rubenfeld, 3/23)

STAT: Novartis Agrees To $25M Settlement Over Bribery Charges In China
Novartis today agreed to pay $25 million to settle charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by making illegal payments to health care providers in China. In doing so, the company becomes the latest drug maker to get punished for paying bribes in order to boost sales in a foreign country. (Silverman, 3/23)

The Wall Street Journal: AstraZeneca Says Its Blood Thinner No Better Than Aspirin In Stroke Trial
AstraZeneca PLC said its prescription blood thinner Brilinta was no more effective than aspirin at preventing major heart problems in stroke patients, denting the company’s growth ambitions for one of its key drugs. The U.K.-based drugmaker had hoped the large clinical trial would open up a new slice of the blood-thinner market for Brilinta, which is already approved for treating patients recovering from a heart attack. AstraZeneca said that while patients who took Brilinta in the 90 days after an initial stroke were slightly less likely to have a heart attack, a further stroke or to die, the trend wasn’t strong enough to show statistical significance. (Roland, 3/23)

Modern Healthcare: One Year After Zarxio Approval, Future Of Biosimilars Remains Unclear
A year ago, providers, plans and pharmacy benefit managers thought they were on the brink of a new era of competitive drug prices. The federal approval of the first biosimilar for sale in the U.S. was supposed to foster new products that offered big discounts on some of the most expensive treatments.But there's been no flood of new drugs and no lower prices since the Food and Drug Administration's approval of Sandoz's drug Zarxio. (Johnson, 3/23)

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