News

Seven days in medicine: 30 March to 5 April

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1932 (Published 07 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i1932

Pharma news

Novartis faces $3.4bn fine in US

Novartis is fighting a demand from US attorneys for thousands of documents detailing 80 000 events in which doctors allegedly received money and expensive meals as kickbacks from 2002 until at least January 2011 in return for prescribing the company’s drugs and billing various public payers. The government claimed that thousands of meetings that Novartis described as speaker programmes were really just paid entertainment for physicians. It is seeking as much as $3.4bn (£2.4bn; €3bn) in damages.

GSK exempts poorest countries from patents

GlaxoSmithKline said that it will not file for patents in the least developed and lowest income countries, to enable their drug companies to produce generic versions of its products. Rohit Malpani, director of policy and analysis at Médecins Sans Frontières’ campaign for access to medicines, said, “The G20 countries [where full licences will apply] are a very broad mix and include India, Brazil, China, and South Africa. This is not going to mean anything if the countries that produce these products are unable to develop or export them.”

Cancer

Children with cancer will get new gene test

Around 400 children with solid tumours will be offered genetic testing in a bid to give them more personalised treatment and direct them to clinical …

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