For the first time, the FDA is requesting that a drug maker remove its product from the market for public health reasons. Endo Pharmaceuticals’ Opana ER—an opioid designed to continuously manage moderate to severe pain—has already faced scrutiny for being easy to abuse via snorting. Turns out addicts aren’t too fond of the ‘extended’ aspect of the drug. To combat this, the company added a coating that made the drug harder to crush… so abusers injected it instead. Not only did this reformulation not meet the FDA’s standards of officially being abuse-deterrent, but the rise in injection abuse is also tied to an HIV/Hep C outbreak caused by needle sharing. God save us from people who mean well.
Gilead, the once-tiny biotech that made headlines with its Hep C blockbuster, told Bloomberg that it’s looking to “do important deals.” CEO John Milligan said that the company has $21.3 billion in cash and Gilead is looking to expand its oncology platform with a drug they can “rally around.” TBD on whether Milligan can repeat the success of his predecessor, whose $11 billion acquisition of Pharmasset and its hepatitis C drug, Solvaldi, doubled Gilead’s revenue. Milligan’s announcement comes after sales of Gilead’s two Hep C pills, among the fastest-selling drugs of all time, fell for the first time last quarter.