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UK doctors paid $64 million by drug companies in 2013

LONDON (Reuters) - Doctors in Britain were paid 38.5 million pounds ($64 million) by drugmakers last year, slightly less than 2012, according to new data underscoring the links between the pharmaceutical industry and prescribers. Industry payments to doctors have come under increased scrutiny following a number of scandals over sales practices, notably in the United States, and concerns that such ties could put commercial interests ahead of the best outcome for patients.

FDA bans imports from Canadian drugmaker Apotex's India plant

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned imports from Canadian drugmaker Apotex Inc's manufacturing plant in India for not complying with quality standards, the latest in a series of sanctions against medicines produced in India. Drugs made at the plant, based in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, will be detained without physical examination because the factory did not meet the FDA's good manufacturing practices, the agency said on its website on Wednesday.

FDA defends generic drug label proposal at U.S. House hearing

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday defended its proposal to require generic drugmakers to update the prescribing information on their products if they become aware of new safety information, a move the industry says will open them to product liability lawsuits and raise drug costs.

FDA finds contaminated drug ingredient at GSK Ireland plant

By Vrinda Manocha (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that a drug ingredient manufactured at a GlaxoSmithKline Plc plant in Ireland was contaminated and said the company did not take sufficient action to resolve the problems. GSK said the ingredient was paroxetine, used to make its antidepressant drugs Paxil and Seroxat. The company said it had proposed a recall of certain batches of the drugs from wholesalers but there was no risk of harm to patients taking these drugs.

Study finds 1 in 3 prescriptions unfilled, some for chronic conditions

TORONTO - A new Canadian study suggests nearly one in three new prescriptions goes unfilled, with expensive drugs and medications used to control some chronic conditions more likely not to be taken as directed. The lead author of the work admitted the magnitude of the gap between prescriptions written and drugs purchased was greater than she and her co-authors expected, even though the figure was in line with a previous American study looking at the issue. "We were startled," said Robyn Tamblyn, an epidemiologist who teaches in McGill University's school of medicine.

Drugmaker GSK to invest $200 million in African factories, R&D

By Ben Hirschler (Reuters) - Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline plans to invest up to 130 million pounds ($216 million) in Africa over the next five years as chronic diseases become more common among the continent's swelling urban middle classes. The decision reflects the draw for the pharmaceutical industry of the region's rapid economic growth and rising demand for treatments for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart and lung disorders, diabetes and cancer.

Some facts and figures on medical marijuana, subject to new rules Tuesday

OTTAWA - Facts and figures on medical marijuana in Canada, which is subject to new rules on Tuesday that require patients to acquire their pot from government-approved producers rather than home-grown supplies. (A temporary Federal Court injunction has delayed full implementation of the new regime until a legal hearing.) Number of authorizations to possess under the old rules: 37,800 Patients authorized to grow for themselves: 25,000 People designated to grow for someone else: 3,900 Estimated number of home-grown plants under the old system: 3.3 million

Some facts and figures on medical marijuana, subject to new rules Tuesday

OTTAWA - Facts and figures on medical marijuana in Canada, which is subject to new rules on Tuesday that require patients to acquire their pot from government-approved producers rather than home-grown supplies. (A temporary Federal Court injunction has delayed full implementation of the new regime until a legal hearing.) Number of authorizations to possess under the old rules: 37,800 Patients authorized to grow for themselves: 25,000 People designated to grow for someone else: 3,900 Estimated number of home-grown plants under the old system: 3.3 million

FDA staff review raises questions about MannKind diabetes device

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An initial review of MannKind Corp's experimental inhaled insulin device, Afrezza, by U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff raised multiple questions about its safety and effectiveness in treating diabetes. The reviewers issued their report before a meeting on April 1 of outside advisers to the FDA who will discuss clinical trial data and advise on whether the product should be approved.

FDA panel votes against Novartis drug for acute heart failure

By Toni Clarke (Reuters) - A drug made by Novartis AG to treat acute heart failure should not be approved because there is insufficient evidence it improves symptoms, a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded on Thursday. The panel's vote was unanimous. The FDA is not obliged to follow the advice of its advisory panels but typically does so.
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