PhRMA Knocks President On Diversity Training
The powerful trade group very publicly attacks President Trump's order to end diversity training. In other pharmaceutical industry news: Congress looks at a "cash cow" drug; and how the FDA should regulate artificial intelligence used in health care.
PhRMA Calls Trump's Ban On Anti-Racism Training "Harmful"
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said in a statement Thursday that President Trump's executive order that appears to block federal contractors from holding anti-racist programs or diversity training is "ill-conceived and harmful" and asked that it be rescinded. (Knutson, 10/1)
Kaiser Health News:
Old Drug Turned ‘Cash Cow’ As Company Pumped Price To $40K A Vial, Emails Show
For a dad whose infant son was afflicted with a rare seizure disorder, a drug invented in 1952 was indispensable for his boy. It was also indispensable to executives at the pharmaceutical firm that acquired the drug in 2014 — not because it was a cure, but because it was a “cash cow,” according to documents released at a House hearing Thursday. The firm, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, got ahold of the venerable drug called H.P. Acthar gel by buying the company that owned it before, Questcor, for $5.8 billion in 2014. (McAuliff, 10/2)
In other pharmaceutical and biotech industry news —
Beleaguered Bayer Adds $1.8B To Cost-Cutting Goal Amid COVID-19 Slowdowns
Bayer unveiled on Wednesday additional cost cuts to the tune of more than €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) annually by 2024 as COVID-19 pressures its businesses mainly in the crop science sector. The new goal comes on top of a €2.6 billion ($3.1 billion) annual savings target it set for 2022 as part of a gigantic revamp initiated in late 2018.The reason for the expanded program? Financial numbers so far this year do not bode well for Bayer, Baumann said during a Wednesday call with investors. (Liu, 10/1)
Appeals Court Hands FTC A Setback In AbbVie Anti-Trust Case
A U.S. appeals court reversed a lower court ruling that required AbbVie (ABBV) and another company to disgorge $448 million in profits for filing “sham” patent litigation to keep generic versions of its blockbuster AndroGel treatment off of the market. In reviewing an anti-trust case originally brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the appeals court determined that the district court judge who ordered the disgorgement lacked authority under federal law. As a result, the ruling called into question the ability of the agency to use the federal court system to seek disgorgements against drug makers and others. (Silverman, 10/1)
Merck's Roger Perlmutter Joins Board Of Medical AI Startup Insitro
Roger Perlmutter, the head of research and development at Merck, is joining the board of Insitro, a firm focused on using artificial intelligence to discover drugs. Insitro, backed with $243 million in venture capital from firms including Casdin Capital and ARCH Venture Partners, was founded by Daphne Koller, known for co-founding Coursera, the online learning firm, and working at Calico, a drug discovery arm of Alphabet. The company has a research partnership with Gilead Sciences. (Herper, 10/1)
How Should The FDA Go About Regulating Adaptive AI?
Picture this: As a Covid-19 patient fights for her life on a ventilator, software powered by artificial intelligence analyzes her vital signs and sends her care providers drug-dosing recommendations — even as the same software simultaneously analyzes in real time the vital signs of thousands of other ventilated patients across the country to learn more about how the dosage affects their care and automatically implements improvements to its drug-dosing algorithm. (Surette, 10/2)