Company news: Bristol-Myers Squibb, HHS, Teva

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The European Union greenlighted blood-thinner Eliquis for stroke prevention and systemic embolism in certain patients with non-valvular atrial fibrilliation. The win for BMS and Pfizer comes more than a month after a study showed that the drug's bleeding risk was on par with warfarin. The FDA has pushed back its review date three times, most recently in June when it asked for more information regarding the Aristotle studies the EU used to clear the drug. The FDA is set to review it March 17, 2013. Despite thinning parity with warfarin, being able to stop bleeding associated with Eliquis has been a point of concern, and drug makers are working on an antidote.

Health and Human Services is challenging developers to come up with an app that will help drive down cancer rates among minority women by providing general screening information – benefits, timing, and location – for breast and gynecological cancers. HHS also requires that the app provide reminders, work with electronic health records, track care plans and be mobile-optimized. HHS's newsletter Health 2.0 noted that “disparities in education, prevention, early treatment, quality of care, and access to support mean that minority and underserved women bear a disproportionate burden” of the 300,000 cases of breast, cervical and uterine cancer that are diagnosed each year.

Teva told Bloomberg that its future plans include purchasing smaller companies, instead of undertaking massive integrations like its 2011 Cephalon purchase. The generics giant told Bloomberg that multi-billion dollar deals can still happen, but only if “the desirability is so compelling and so game-changing that everyone will feel it has to be done.”

Despite the appeal of pills over injections, doctors aren't comfortable enough with pills to encourage MS patients to change their  meds, reported the Wall Street Journal.  Side effects were among the reasons doctors said they weren't quick to embrace new meds, like Aubagio, which the FDA approved in September. The WSJ's feedback overlaps with what Ben Weintraub of research firm InThought told MM&M back in September, which is that it will take time for new therapies to become first-line treatments. Weintraub had also said treatments like Aubagio aren't going to cut ahead of other therapies, like the experimental BG-12, which have pre-market trust based on its safety profile.
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