1. Valeant CEO J. Michael Pearson is taking a medical leave of absence. Pearson was hospitalized last week for severe pneumonia. An executive committee will be formed to take over the role during his leave.
2. The average asthma rate for kids has showed signs of slowing down after years of increases, researchers found. The average asthma rate for kids ages 17 and under was 8.3%; the rate was 8.6% in 2014. (AP)
3. In 2015, the pharmaceutical industry will pay nearly $7 billion on coupons and co-pay cards, up from $1 billion in 2010, for its brand-name drugs, according to IMS Health. A 2013 JAMA analysis found that for 62% of the coupons it studied had a lower-cost alternative drug available for patients. (Bloomberg)
4. Chimerix’s phase-III trial of anti-viral drug brincidofovir failed after it did not achieve the study’s primary endpoint. Brincidofovir did not prevent a clinically significant cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, the company said in a release. (Chimerix)
5. ICYMI: Healthcare.gov has 8.2 million users after a late-surge of insurance applications and renewals, government officials said. Nearly two and a half million of those users were first-time buyers. The Obama administration is still on track to hits its goal of 10 million users by the end of 2016. (WSJ)