Supreme Court decides two pharma cases in favor of drug companies (Morning Read)

Current medical news from today, including: pharma industry victories in two Supreme Court cases; Microsoft eyes ways to bring business software to healthcare; Johns Hopkins University researchers make a Huntington’s disease discovery; and McKesson makes a $90 million acquisition.

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone who cares about the healthcare industry.

Supreme Court rulings favor pharmas: The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a Vermont law that barred data mining by the pharmaceutical industry – the gathering of data on which prescriptions doctors were writing for their patients. Pharma companies used that data to inform their marketing strategies. Vermont argued that the state was regulating conduct. But in the 6-3 vote, the high court said that creation and dissemination of information as done by the pharma companies qualifies as constitutionally protected speech. Doctors groups have opposed the use of prescribing information for marketing purposes.  In a separate case, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that generic drug makers can’t be held responsible for disclosing new risks and warnings on drugs as long as their drug labels are the same as the brand name drug. Justice Clarence Thomas said that generic drugs are just copies and responsibility for warnings fall to the makers of the original drug.

Microsoft targets healthcare: Software giant Microsoft takes a look at how business software can apply to healthcare needs.

New orphan drug: The Food and Drug Administration has awarded Accentia Biopharmaceuticals orphan drug status on a treatment of two autoimmune diseases, systemic sclerosis and hemolytic anemia.

Huntington’s disease discovery: Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered a natural mechanism that may lead to a way to block the expression of the gene responsible for Huntington’s disease.

Dealflow: McKesson acquires medical software firm Portico Systems for $90 million