Te­va, Al­ler­gan reach yet an­oth­er opi­oid set­tle­ment — ef­fec­tive­ly end­ing WV tri­al

Te­va and Al­ler­gan have reached set­tle­ments with mul­ti­ple states over their in­volve­ment in the opi­oid cri­sis. Their lat­est is worth 9 fig­ures.

West Vir­ginia at­tor­ney gen­er­al Patrick Mor­risey an­nounced the newest set­tle­ment, worth $161.5 mil­lion, at a press con­fer­ence on Wednes­day. The deal would re­solve claims that the com­pa­nies helped fu­el the state’s opi­oid epi­dem­ic. If it goes through, it could be­come the largest state-ne­go­ti­at­ed set­tle­ment in West Vir­ginia’s his­to­ry, ac­cord­ing to Reuters.

The set­tle­ment would ef­fec­tive­ly end a tri­al that’s been go­ing on for the last two months in Kanawha Coun­ty Cir­cuit Court, as those two com­pa­nies were the last de­fen­dants re­main­ing. The com­pa­nies did not ad­mit any wrong­do­ing as part of the set­tle­ment.

“This set­tle­ment, along with oth­er set­tle­ments we will re­ceive from oth­er cas­es, will pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant help to those af­fect­ed the most by the opi­oid cri­sis in West Vir­ginia,” Mor­risey said in a state­ment.

Te­va and Al­ler­gan are fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of J&J and En­do, which set­tled with the state ear­li­er this year. West Vir­ginia had ac­cused the de­fen­dants of mis­rep­re­sent­ing the risk of opi­oids.

Most re­cent­ly, Te­va and Al­ler­gan signed a set­tle­ment with Flori­da along­side En­do and CVS. Te­va has al­so reached an agree­ment with Louisiana, Texas and Rhode Is­land over the past few months.

As for Te­va’s end of the deal, the com­pa­ny has agreed to pay West Vir­ginia $75 mil­lion over the next 15 years, along with $8 mil­lion in at­tor­neys’ fees and tri­al costs. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, Te­va will pro­vide $27 mil­lion worth of Nar­can over the next 10 years.

While Te­va did not im­me­di­ate­ly re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment, the com­pa­ny said in a state­ment that “to­day’s set­tle­ment with the state of West Vir­ginia is an­oth­er crit­i­cal step for­ward in get­ting life-sav­ing treat­ments to peo­ple suf­fer­ing from ad­dic­tion to opi­oids. This set­tle­ment agree­ment is not an ad­mis­sion of any li­a­bil­i­ty or wrong­do­ing, and the Com­pa­ny con­tin­ues to ac­tive­ly ne­go­ti­ate a na­tion­al set­tle­ment.”

Speak­ing of that com­mit­ment to pur­sue a na­tion­al set­tle­ment — one that was echoed by Te­va CEO Kåre Schultz ear­li­er this year and was thought to be with­in reach by Feb­ru­ary 2023 — Bloomberg re­port­ed just a few weeks ago that both Te­va and Al­ler­gan were open to set­tling more than 3,500 law­suits for over $5 bil­lion, but those com­pa­nies re­main tight-lipped as ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tin­ue.

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; and more

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With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

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Giovanni Caforio, Bristol Myers Squibb CEO (Nicolas Messyasz/Sipa via AP Images)

Bris­tol My­ers turns at­ten­tion to new prod­ucts in wake of Revlim­id patent loss

Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio is shifting his focus to newer products as generic sales continue to gnaw at the company’s blockbuster myeloma drug Revlimid.

Both Revlimid and Abraxane sales took a dive last year thanks to generic rivals, BMS reported in its Q4 and full-year results on Thursday. As a result, Q4 sales dipped 5% and full-year sales remained flat. However, Caforio sees a silver lining — or rather, two of them.

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Lina Khan, FTC chair (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

FTC makes an ex­am­ple of GoodRx, bans dis­counter from shar­ing pri­vate health da­ta with ad­ver­tis­ers

Prescription drug discount provider GoodRx will no longer be allowed to share its users’ sensitive health data with advertisers after the Federal Trade Commission charged the online coupon provider with failing to notify consumers of such disclosures to Facebook, Google, and other companies.

GoodRx agreed to pay a $1.5 million civil penalty for violating the FTC’s Health Breach Notification Rule after the FTC said it repeatedly violated a 2017 promise to not share sensitive personal health information. The FTC alleged that the company shared users’ prescription medications and personal health conditions with third party advertisers and platforms like Facebook, Google, Criteo, Branch and Twilio.

Rob Davis, Merck CEO

Mer­ck’s Keytru­da nears $21B in sales, dou­bles down on com­bo tri­als

Merck’s cancer immunotherapy Keytruda notched sales of $20.9 billion in 2022, cementing its status as one of the world’s top-selling drugs. However, it’s far from resting on that accomplishment.

Merck executives touted nine ongoing trials in its annual earnings call on Thursday, including five studies in Phase III, for Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in combination with other immuno-oncology drugs. The trials include combinations with Merck’s own developments as well as other pharma companies’ candidates, including its melanoma collaboration with Moderna and its mRNA technology plus Keytruda, aimed at creating a personalized vaccine treatment to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence or death.

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Uğur Şahin, BioNTech CEO (Andreas Arnold/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

BioN­Tech opens new plas­mid DNA man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in Ger­many

German mRNA player BioNTech opened the doors to a new manufacturing facility on Thursday, this one just about 75 miles north of its headquarters in Mainz, Germany.

BioNTech announced on Thursday that it has completed the construction of its first plasmid DNA manufacturing facility in Marburg, Germany. The facility will produce materials for mRNA-based vaccines and therapies along with cell therapies.

FDA ap­proves GSK's ane­mia drug with safe­ty warn­ing — af­ter bat­ting back sim­i­lar drugs

GSK has secured the first of four US approvals it’s hoping for this year, as the FDA greenlit daprodustat as a treatment for anemia due to chronic kidney disease.

But the FDA limited the use of the drug, to be marketed as Jesduvroq, to patients who have been receiving dialysis for at least four months and stopped short of approving it for patients not dependent on dialysis — in line with the recommendations of the advisory committee it consulted.

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Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, Novo Nordisk CEO (Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

No­vo Nordisk notch­es big GLP-1 sales amid re­bound­ing sup­plies, but cau­tions on fu­ture 'pe­ri­od­ic con­straints'

With Novo Nordisk’s obesity treatment Wegovy fully back in stock in December, sales are beginning to soar, the Danish pharma reported during its annual earnings call on Wednesday. Total scripts of the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) Wegovy topped 37,000 weekly in mid-January, a hockey stick uptick from end-of-year levels below 15,000 per week.

The new prescriptions come on top of the overall momentum of Novo obesity drug sales in 2022, although the then supply-constrained Wegovy was only part of that. Sibling obesity med Saxenda accounted for DKK 10.7 billion ($1.58 billion) of the total DKK 16.9 billion ($2.49 billion), or about 63%, in Novo Nordisk’s reported obesity segment sales.

Vas Narasimhan, Novartis CEO (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP)

Go­ing block­buster hunt­ing, Vas Narasimhan out­lines vi­sion for ‘pure-play’ No­var­tis

By the time 2023 is over, Novartis expects to be moving much lighter: It will have spun out its generics subsidiary Sandoz, completed layoffs of thousands of staffers worldwide and put in new internal structures for running the company.

And it will be ready to hunt for blockbusters.

CEO Vas Narasimhan underscored Novartis’ upcoming transformation into a “pure-play” company, reiterating across a series of calls — one with reporters, two with investors and analysts — that the new structure would boost its R&D productivity and sharpen its focus on big, new medicines.

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