1. Dr. Robert Califf defended his past dealings with drugmakers during Senate hearings Tuesday. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a Democratic presidential candidate, spoke of holding up Califf’s nomination to head the Food and Drug Administration, according to the Associated Press. Califf has been the deputy commissioner at the FDA since earlier this year.
2. Drug spending worldwide will reach $1.4 trillion in 2020 compared with $1.07 trillion this year, according to study released Wednesday by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Roughly 225 new drugs will come to market over the next five years while spending goes up at a compound annual growth rate of 4% to 7% in that period, IMS Health predicted.
3. European drug regulators could decide as soon as Friday whether to approve a second biosimilar, Samsung Bioepis’s copy of Enbrel for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases, according to Reuters. European sales of Amgen’s Enbrel, marketed outside North America by Pfizer, hit $9 billion last year.
4. Consumers need to shop around for lower-cost health insurance rather than simply renewing their existing plans this year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Premiums for the lowest cost silver plans offered by healthcare exchanges are increasing by an average of 15% this year, so simply keeping such plans could mean major financial hits for policyholders, the foundation found.
5. Private equity firm Warburg Pincus is investing up to $300 million in Vertice Pharma, a newly created British pharmaceutical company that plans to buy VistaPharm, a specialized manufacturer of pain medication, the New York equity firm announced Tuesday.