Fewer antibiotics better for pneumonia in children, study finds

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Learn about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN’s Prescription Drug Watch roundup.

CIDRAP: study strengthens case for shorter antibiotic treatment for childhood pneumonia

A new analysis of data from a randomized trial provides more evidence to support shorter courses of antibiotics for young children with non-severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). The study, published last week in mBio, analyzed throat swabs from children enrolled in the Short-Course Outpatient Therapy of Community Acquired Pneumonia (SCOUT-CAP) trial, a randomized clinical trial that found that a 5-day antibiotic treatment for children with non-severe CAP was longer than the 10-day duration currently recommended for pediatric CAP. (Dall, 4/1)

In other antibiotic news –

CIDRAP: GARDP announces a new North American subsidiary

The Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), based in Geneva, Switzerland, announced this week the formation of a new sister organization in the United States. According to a GARDP press release. (3/30)

Stat: Pharma’s Ambitious New Antibiotic Venture Fund Makes First Investments

A year after its sensational launch, the AMR Action Fund has made its first investments in two young biotech companies, a key step towards its goal of generating much-needed drugs to fight antibiotic resistance. The fund is providing an undisclosed portion of its $1 billion initial backing — much of it from several of the world’s biggest drugmakers — to Venatorx Pharmaceuticals and Adaptive Phage Therapeutics. The two private companies are taking a different approach to developing therapies that can fight drug-resistant infections. (Money Man, 4/4)

And more news from the pharmaceutical industry —

Mississippi today: Texts reveal influence Bryant used to help with Venture

During his final year as governor, Phil Bryant fielded calls for help from NFL legend Brett Favre for a pharmaceutical company, which ended up receiving over $2 million in allegedly stolen social funds. of the Mississippi Department of Social Services during Bryant’s administration. This money was supposed to be used to help the state’s most vulnerable residents. The text messages reveal the channel of influence Bryant used to elevate the company, Prevacus, out of the public eye — and the payout that awaited him when he left office. (Wolfe, 4/4)

Stat: Wyden Seeks Merck Tax Details in Pharmacy Practices Investigation

The head of the US Senate Finance Committee asks Merck for details of taxes paid over a recent three-year period as part of an ongoing investigation into the tax practices of multinational pharmaceutical companies and efforts to avoid paying US taxes. Earlier this year, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who chairs the committee, began probing Bristol Myers Squibb over a deal in which the company allegedly used offshore subsidiaries to avoid paying up to 1.4 billion in US taxes on prescription drug sales. . And he previously accused AbbVie of shifting profits offshore and registering patents in low-tax jurisdictions to avoid paying US corporate income tax. (Money Man, 4/4)

Stat: Mark Cuban’s Drug Company is building a ‘parallel supply chain’

Mark Cuban’s pharmaceutical company started with an ambitious premise: bypass middlemen to deliver cheaper costs to patients. To do this, the company had to consider which parts of the supply chain to expand and which to outsource using exceptionally transparent contracts, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company founder and CEO Alex Oshmyansky said Thursday during the groundbreaking scientific summit of STAT. “We decided that the only way to really ensure that our product prices actually reached the patient, the most important part at the end of the day, was to essentially build a parallel supply chain,” Oshmyansky said. (Cohr, 4/1)

Modern healthcare: 5 things about the end of the $15 billion Anthem-Cigna PBM lawsuit

A six-year legal row between Anthem and Cigna ended after a federal judge ruled that Cigna’s Express Scripts did not owe Anthem $14.8 billion in alleged prescription drug overpayments. Anthem filed a lawsuit in March 2016 arguing that its contract with Express Scripts guaranteed the insurer competitive prices for prescription drugs. Express Scripts, which Cigna acquired in 2018, pointed the finger at Anthem, saying the insurer was supposed to produce market analysis of drug prices that would serve as the basis for negotiations. Ultimately, that’s how a federal court left it in a decision on Thursday. Judge Edgardo Ramos of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York partially denied Anthem’s claims, saying Express Scripts’ only obligation is to trade based on data provided by the insurer. (Tepper, 4/4)

Axios: Fintech and fertility care start-up raises $25 million

Future Family, a startup combining fertility finance and care support, has raised $25m in Series B funding led by Munich Re Ventures at a valuation of $80m, the founder and CEO told Axios exclusively. of the company, Claire Tomkins. Investors have flocked to fertility startups in recent months as the pandemic has helped heighten awareness of gender inequalities in care, funding and family planning. (Brodwin, 4/4)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage by major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.

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