Morning Read: A Pfizer-Allergan acquisition is in the works, Allergan’s Warner Chilcott coughs up $125M to settle kickback charges

Pfizer and Allergan are in acquisition talks.


Pfizer is in merger talks with Allergan. Allergan can give Pfizer a nice cozy offshore home in Ireland. The risk is that the current inversion regulations could change to try to keep more tax revenues in the U.S. The deal could be as much as $156 billion. — CNBC

Meanwhile, here are a few scenarios under which the President could scupper a Pfizer-Allergan merger. — Forbes

A former pharmaceutical executive with Allergan was arrested in a rare move by the U.S. Justice Department and charged with conspiring to pay kickbacks to physicians so they would buy the company’s drugs.

Carl Reichel served as president of Warner Chilcott’s pharmaceuticals division between 2009 and 2011 before Allergan acquired the company in 2013.

Reichel pleaded not guilty to charges that he told a sales team to give free meals and speaker fees to doctors to persuade them to prescribe Warner Chilcott drugs.

Warner Chilcott agreed to pay $125 million to sort out its criminal and civil liability from its illegal marketing of several drugs, such as Actonel, Asacol, and Atelvia. — The Wall Street JournalU.S. Justice Dept.


The country’s largest pharmacy benefits managers — Express Scripts and CVS Health — are cutting ties to  Valeant Pharmaceutical’s exclusive specialty pharmacy distributor Philidor Rx. Valeant admitted it had not disclosed to investors that it had consolidated the business and had an option to buy it.

In a statement CVS Health said it terminated its relationship with Philidor “for noncompliance with the terms of its provider agreement.”  — Forbes

UnitedHealth’s OptumRx has also decided to block Philidor from its network. Meanwhile, Express Scripts is evaluating four other pharmacies that Valeant has a similar relationship with. Some Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers are also re-evaluating their relationships with Valeant’s specialty pharmacy companies. —Bloomberg

Valeant finally made the move to sever ties to Philidor Rx Services, which will shut down operations as soon as possible. The move comes after Philidor became something of an albatross around the pharmaceutical company’s neck. The mail order pharmacy used strong-arm tactics with pharmacy benefit managers to ensure they used Valeant’s drugs rather than low-cost alternatives.  — The Wall Street Journal

When Theranos pared down its board of directors from 12 to seven seats, Henry Kissenger and George Shultz were among those not coming back. — HIStalk


Aetna said in its quarterly earnings report it will stop providing subsidized health insurance in Utah and Kansas as well as Washington, D.C. It will continue to offer subsidized health insurance in 15 states.  — Forbes

Within the past five years, 70 percent of the hospitals and health systems that took part in a survey by The Advisory Board Company said they had set up an antibiotic stewardship program — coordinated programs intended to curb inappropriate antibiotic use. — PR Newswire

Police say a nurse’s assistant at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center McKeesport helped an inmate shackled to his bed escape. — Becker’s Hospital Review


A study presented by fertility app developers Glow has researchers asking: Is frequent app use driving behavior that supports fertility, or are people who are already aware of fertility facts more inclined to use Glow’s app regularly? — Wired

Vinod Khosla, telemedicine skeptic. “There’s no technology in telemedicine, or very little, from my point of view, because there’s no new data,” Khosla said. “It’s the same doctors making same subjective judgement. Instead of you sitting in their office, they’re doing it remotely.” — MobiHealthNews

Livongo has formed a partnership with retailer Lowe’s to deploy its diabetes management system for Lowe’s employees in North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama as part of a new partnership deal. —PR Newswire


A Louisiana judge has ordered that Planned Parenthood continue to receive Medicaid funding, given that ore than 5,000 low-income patients would lose access to cancer screening and gynecology exams.


An Oregon teen has been hospitalized after testing positive for bubonic plague. — Reuters