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WellPoint says new hepatitis c drug prices are too high

(Reuters) - The head of WellPoint Inc's commercial business said on Friday that the price of new hepatitis c drugs, which are made by Gilead Sciences Inc and Johnson and Johnson, are too high. Ken Goulet, speaking to investors, said the company is working with regulators and drug manufacturers to bring these prices down to a "reasonable" level. He said that as of mid-February the company had filled 100 prescriptions for commercial members.

Oregon's medical marijuana rules: No munchies. Pot shop advocates: No way.

SALEM, Ore. - Hash brownies, space cakes and other pot-laced munchies won't be among the items allowed at Oregon medical marijuana dispensaries, state officials said, and that's drawn criticism from pot-shop advocates. The Oregon Health Authority released draft rules late Wednesday for medical-pot dispensaries to follow when they open as early as next week under a new law. Although medical marijuana will be available at the dispensaries, the agency wants to ban sweets containing the drug because they could be attractive to young people.

Indian quality woes point to generic drugs shake-out: Novartis

By Ben Hirschler and Caroline Copley BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) - Recent manufacturing problems in India suggest some makers of generic drugs will struggle to compete in the face of a rising quality bar, pointing to a likely a shake-out in the low-cost sector, according to Novartis. Chief Executive Joe Jimenez said the Swiss group's Sandoz unit - a world leader in making cheap off-patent medicines - was well placed to thrive in an era of tougher standards. Others, however, would not be able to upgrade and stay competitive.

Geron says FDA halts patient enrollment in another cancer trial

(Reuters) - Geron Corp said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered a halt to new patient enrollments in an early-stage trial of its blood cancer drug, imetelstat, over concerns about liver damage. The halt announced on Thursday was for enrollments in a trial sponsored by Mayo Clinic, and comes a week after the FDA ordered Geron to cease company-sponsored trials of the drug over similar concerns.

Geron says FDA halts patient enrollment in another cancer trial

(Reuters) - Geron Corp said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered a halt to new patient enrollments in an early-stage trial of its blood cancer drug, imetelstat, over concerns about liver damage. The halt announced on Thursday was for enrollments in a trial sponsored by Mayo Clinic, and comes a week after the FDA ordered Geron to cease company-sponsored trials of the drug over similar concerns.

Venezuela arrests seven in cocaine case of Berlusconi's ex-aide

By Daniel Wallis CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan authorities have detained seven people, including four young workers at an airport cafe, in connection with the cocaine smuggling arrest of an ex-secretary to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Federica Gagliardi, dubbed the "white lady" by Italy's media, was detained last week by police at Rome's Fiumicino airport who found 24 kg (53 lbs) of cocaine in her carry-on luggage after she stepped off a flight from Caracas.

New bill would give greater role for pharmacists in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's health minister is backing a private member's bill that would allow pharmacists to write prescriptions for some minor ailments. Hugh Flemming says the changes make sense and would help shorten the line of people waiting to see doctors. Progressive Conservative backbencher Ryan Riordon introduced the bill to change the Pharmacy Act on Tuesday. Sam Lanctin, registrar of the New Brunswick Pharmaceutical Society, says the law hasn't been updated since 2008 and changes are needed to allow pharmacists to better meet the needs of patients.

Owner of NFL's Indianapolis Colts checks into health facility

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Billionaire James Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, has checked into a health care facility following his arrest on suspicion of intoxicated driving and possession of a controlled substance, the National Football League team said on Tuesday. Irsay, 54, who has not been formally charged, was stopped late on Sunday for driving at a slow speed, stopping in the roadway and failing to signal a turn. He failed several roadside field-sobriety tests, police in Carmel, Indiana, said.

Federal changes preventing medical marijuana growing unconstitutional: lawyer

VANCOUVER - A lawyer for a group of medical marijuana patients has told a Federal Court judge that stopping his clients from growing their own pot at the end of this month would violate their charter rights. John Conroy is asking for a temporary injunction to prevent the new Federal government regulations from taking effect on April 1 until the court can make a decision on his constitutional challenge.

Balkan 'cocaine king' nabbed in international sting

An international police operation involving Serbia and Montenegro has nabbed Balkan "cocaine king" Darko Saric, who had been on the run for more than four years, officials said Tuesday. Saric is alleged to be the mastermind behind a cocaine trafficking network set up between 2007 and 2009 with links across Europe and South America. Feeling the noose tightening around him, Saric contacted Serbian authorities through a lawyer on February 24 and offered an unconditional surrender, Serbia's Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic told reporters.
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