5. We would have recommended HoZer

As part of the union of parent companies Pfizer and Hospira, which occurred in September of 2015, the embedded contract manufacturers for the brands, Pfizer CentreSource and Hospira One2One, have also become one—Pfizer CentreOne. The new name for the merged CMO, announced this week, retains elements of each contract manufacturer’s prior name to convey the combined capabilities to the sponsor audience, namely Pfizer CentreSource’s long history of small molecule API synthesis, steroids and hormones and Hospira One2One’s sterile injectable fill-finish. The combined capabilities may offer a single solution for those outsourcers whose drug substance and drug product needs match the united offering.

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1. Pharmaceutical sales maintain historical high

The numbers are out, and pharmaceutical sales are way up. A wholesale spending increase of 12.2% on prescription drugs between 2014 and 2015 continues the trend of historically high drug sales over recent years. The $425 billion dollar price tag on total drug spending last year is mostly thanks to specialty drugs and newly approved therapies on the market. In the end however, net spending increase hovers around a moderated 8.5%, due to rebates and price concessions offered by many pharma companies. Access to care has become an important consideration for pharmaceutical companies, especially in light of the increasing cost of innovative medicines.

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2. Zika ‘Scarier that we initially thought’ according to the CDC

Is “scary” an official CDC classification or is this just the CDC keeping it real? The Zika virus, which has now been confirmed in 346 cases in the US, is the topic of discussion as the virus continues to spread and athletes from around the world prepare to visit Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics. News of the virus seemed to be waning, but the principal deputy director of the CDC, Dr. Anne Schuchat announced Monday, “Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought.” With no vaccine likely to hit the market anytime soon, look for global health leaders to apply serious pressure and possibly encourage companies to join GSK, Sanofi, and Inovio Pharmaceutical in the race.

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3. Fighting cancer through teamwork

M2Gen, the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN), and pharma companies are teaming up on a new way to bring clinical trials to advanced-stage cancer patients. This partnership, the ORIEN Avatar Research Program, will generate information on cancer patients, including the molecular characteristics of their cancers. Why is this important? Multiple reasons. Patients win by receiving increased access to new trials and new treatments. Pharma wins by creating a large database of patient information to analyze in the pursuit of personalized cancer treatments and having the ability to match patients to trials, cutting patient recruitment timelines and costs.

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4. Pfizer and Allergan terminate their merger

In November, Pfizer and Allergan announced a plan to merge. Pfizer would pay Allergan $160 Billion and Pfizer would get to reap the tax benefits of Allergan’s Irish HQ (Ireland is a very tax-friendly place for corporations). But last week, the two companies have said “never mind” to the whole thing. This is a big win for President Obama, who wasn’t thrilled with the idea of US companies wriggling out of the tax system. The termination of this deal might also serve as a warning for other companies who were planning something similar.

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5. Valeant Pharmaceuticals

The Canadian drug maker has asked its outgoing CEO, J. Michael Pearson, to cooperate with a U.S. Senate investigation into drug pricing. Pearson failed to appear for a deposition, but *should* appear at an April 27th hearing. Valeant, who built its business buying older drugs and raising their prices – not a popular business model these days – faces three federal probes into its business practices. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about drug pricing and the U.S. Senate (remember Turing Pharmaceuticals?) And, it won’t be the last time either.

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