Business briefs: GSK and Sanofi, plus state legislative news

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GlaxoSmithKline has slowed its acquisition pace and is focusing on in-house ops, CEO Andrew Witty tells Reuters. Witty says the company won't say no to taking on new businesses, but that its main focus is on new medications and selling off businesses that aren't essential to the portfolio, such as the cardiovascular medications it sold to Aspen Pharmaceuticals. “The size of the company will be dictated by the success of the pipeline and we will continue to clip off bits of the business that we think are not core or are drags,” he tells Reuters.

Sanofi CEO Chris Viebacher has picked a fight with the EMA early into his tenure as the head of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, over regulatory demands that drug makers deliver proprietary information, such as manufacturing processes, in the name of transparency, Reuters reports. The information requested is part of the clinical trial data the regulator has requested. The EMA says the clinical trial information is an effort to keep companies from hiding adverse events, but Viebacher says the demands go beyond AEs. PhRMA, the US corollary to EFpiA, has also come out against transparency, saying it would give competitors an unfair advantage.

Foreign meds may be just the thing for lowering healthcare costs in Maine. The legislature has sent the governor a bill to make it OK for Pine Tree Staters to order prescriptions from Canada, Britain, New Zealand and Australia, reports Pharmalot. The blog notes that problems with imported medications—such as counterfeit versions of Genentech's Avastin—are among the roster of reasons opponents say it's not a good idea. Pharmalot also says that the FDA has acted against more than 4,000 Internet pharmacies, and that supporters, including state representative Sharon Treat, say the bill needs to happen because “US residents do not benefit from the rigorous price negotiation or fee-setting that other countries routinely engage in.”

New York State's legislature has also sent a health-related bill to the governor for signature: this one proposing to allow pharmacists to administer the meningitis vaccine. The New York Times notes that if passed, this will mean pharmacists will fill out their portfolio of vaccines to include flu, pneumonia and acute herpes zoster vaccines. The move is a response to a deadly outbreak that has surfaced among gay and bisexual men in New York.

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