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  • Regulatory NewsRegulatory News

    Do People Understand Cancer Drug Ads on TV? Drugmakers Weigh in on FDA Research

    As television ads for cancer drugs pose the question, “Who wouldn’t want a chance to live longer?” or present statements like: “Living longer is possible,” the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) is trying to figure out if consumers can understand these drugs’ specific and often complicated indications supported by different types of endpoints. And now drugmakers Novartis, Merck and Eli Lilly are seeking modifications to ...
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    FDA Approves Two More Biosimilars

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday approved the 22 nd and 23 rd biosimilars: Pfizer’s Ruxience (rituximab-pvvr), which is the second biosimilar to Roche’s Rituxan (rituximab), and Samsung Bioepis’s Hadlima (adalimumab-bwwd), which could end up being the ninth biosimilar to AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab). Ruxience is approved as a treatment of adult patients with CD20-positive B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) to be used as a single agent or in combin...
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    Biopharma CEOs Explain Problems With Biosimilars to Congress

    Following their Senate Finance Committee hearing in February, all seven biopharmaceutical CEOs have now offered hundreds of pages of written responses to more specific questions. The lackluster biosimilar market in the US is addressed in nearly all their comments, with some executives explaining in detail as to why their biosimilars have yet to gain market share, while undertones of biosimilar fear-mongering linger in others’ comments. Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier expla...
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    Stage Set for Merck’s SCOTUS Case Over Warnings in Labels

    With the acting solicitor general set to participate in oral arguments before the Supreme Court on 7 January, the high court will be deciding a contentious case centered on who has the final say in warning labels on pharmaceuticals. The case, known as Merck v. Albrecht , presents the question of whether Merck should be held liable for failing to warn about the side effects of an osteoporosis drug, despite attempting to change the warning label and having FDA reject its...
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    Updated: The 505(b)(2) Pathway and Why Some Follow-on Insulins Aren’t Yet Biosimilars in the US

    Why has the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved follow-on insulin products as biosimilars while the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not? A look at several recent examples shows what is happening and what will change in the US over the next several years. In September, FDA granted tentative approval for Sanofi’s Admelog (insulin lispro injection), a rapid-acting human insulin analog. On 11 December, Admelog received full approval from FDA. In the EU, howe...
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    Merck: Cyberattack Caused $135M in Lost Sales

    In its third quarter earnings report, US pharmaceutical company Merck said that manufacturing disruptions tied to a cyberattack last June led to $135 million in lost sales and caused the company to borrow from a US Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) strategic stockpile to meet demand for one of its vaccines. On 27 June, a cyberattack involving ransomware known as "Petya" or "NotPetya" infected government and business computer systems in Ukraine before spreading to other...
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    Congress Sets Sights on Pharma Cybersecurity After Attack

    Leadership from the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) committee on Wednesday called on Merck CEO Ken Frazier and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Tom Price to brief Congress on the impact of a recent cyberattack on the healthcare sector. Background On 27 June, a cyberattack involving ransomware known as "Petya" or "NotPetya" infected government and business computer systems in Ukraine before spreading to other corporate networks around the world. M...
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    FDA Alerts on Risks From Merck’s Keytruda in Multiple Myeloma Following Halted Trials

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday released an alert and summary of findings from two halted Merck clinical trials evaluating the use of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) combined with other treatments in patients with multiple myeloma. The immunotherapy Keytruda is approved by FDA for the treatment of melanoma, lung cancer and other cancers but it is not approved to treat multiple myeloma. On 3 July, FDA required that all patients in these two trials b...
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    FDA Considers Label Changes for Keytruda, Opdivo and Yervoy

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told Focus on Wednesday that the agency is considering labeling changes to include additional ocular inflammatory conditions for three immune checkpoint inhibitors. Currently, the labels of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy (ipilimumab), Opdivo (nivolumab) and Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) have uveitis listed as a potential immune-mediated adverse reaction (AR), and four of the five FDA-approved anti-PD1 therapies’ labels...
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    A First for FDA: Cancer Treatment Approved for Any Solid Tumor with a Specific Biomarker

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday granted accelerated approval to Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for patients whose cancers have a specific biomarker. FDA noted in a statement : "This is the first time the agency has approved a cancer treatment based on a common biomarker rather than the location in the body where the tumor originated." Keytruda, an anti-PD-1 therapy that has been approved to treat a variety of cancers dating back to 2014 ...
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    EMA, Drugmakers Weigh FDA Draft Guidance on Physiologically Based PK Analyses

    With an eye toward more harmonization, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) earlier this month weighed in on the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) draft guidance on physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PK) analyses, alongside pharmaceutical companies including Novartis, Merck and Bayer. EMA EMA’s Pharmacokinetic Working Party (PKWP) and the Modelling and Simulation Working Group (MSWG) are developing a “ Guideline on the Qualification and Reporting of Physiologi...
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    New House E&C Chairman to Consider Value-Based Drug Price Negotiations

    The newly minted chairman of the influential House Energy & Commerce Committee is looking to tackle pharmaceutical price gouging with a new bill and comments on how there need to be more negotiations to bring down prices. In an interview with The Oregonian this week, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), who attended Tuesday’s meeting with President Donald Trump and pharmaceutical CEOs , said: “Right now they're prevented from having those negotiations by law. We would fix that...