Pharma News for February 10, 2020

Prescription medication is strewn about, with pill bottles in the deep background.

A yet-to-be-named new company will house Merck’s women’s health, biosimilar and legacy drugs, providing space and resources for the pharma’s higher-growth businesses. By doing so, Merck joins other pharma companies in keeping drugs available to the general population but also allowing them to explore other, newer drugs to increase their portfolio. (Biopharmadive)

Sanofi has been formally charged over Depakine — a decades-old therapy for epilepsy that causes birth defects and impedes neurological development when taken during pregnancy. (Endpts)

There are 31,211 confirmed cases in China and at least 637 deaths as of Friday morning, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said during a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. Tedros said the slowing rate of new cases is “good news” but cautioned the public not to read too much into the new data. (CNBC)

Efforts across the U.S. in recent years to encourage medical students, nurse practitioners and others to go into primary care, especially in underserved areas, are built on a consensus in research: Primary care is good for patients. Conversely across the country as medical costs rise, adults are cutting back on going to see primary care physicians. (NPR)

The House Ways and Means Committee released the full legislative text of its surprise billing proposal Friday, though it’s unlikely the country will see any Congressional movement to stop patients from being hit with unexpected out-of-network medical bills during the upheaval of an election year. (Healthcaredive)