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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Amazon’s attack on the pharmacy industry has begun

Online retail giant Amazon is entering the pharmacy business after months of speculation that the company could disrupt how prescription drugs are sold the same way it upended bricks-and-mortar retail.

Secret rebates erode drugmaker revenue, industry study says

Branded drug companies’ share of total U.S. spending on their products is declining, in part because of an increase in secret rebates paid to middlemen, according to an analysis sponsored by an industry group that’s been seeking to deflect scrutiny of rising prices.

People susceptible to the placebo effect may be keeping us from getting new drugs

And ever since the 1960s, the U.S. government has required inert placebos as a comparison in clinical trials to determine whether a potential drug is effective or not. Since the act of taking a pill can make many patients feel better, a drug must perform better than a placebo to be allowed on the market.

Novartis said to hold talks to buy generics maker Amneal

Novartis is in talks to acquire U.S. generic-drugs maker Amneal Pharmaceuticals as the Swiss health-care company seeks to bolster its Sandoz business amid consolidation in the industry, according to people familiar with the matter.

Kanye West offered $10 million for sole copy of new album

After spending $2 million for the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” late last year, Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old former hedge fund manager, is now offering $10 million to become the sole owner of Kanye West’s new album.

Valeant cutting ties with Philidor

Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a company that has come under intense scrutiny for its drug prices, has cut ties with Philidor following accusations that it was a “phantom pharmacy” used solely to artificially boost sales.

Idaho recovers Medicaid overcharges

BOISE – Idaho has recovered more than $28 million from prescription drugmakers who overcharged the state’s Medicaid program. The recovery, after six years of litigation, came as the state settled with 33 drug companies and also won price disclosure concessions that Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says will prevent such practices in the future.

Cheney family caught in Medicare quirk after kidney transplant

WASHINGTON – Like many high school graduates, Katelynn Janes, of Cheney, made big plans last June: move out of the house, study psychology and eventually counsel young people who have chronic physical ailments. Kidney failure didn’t make the list. But in December, after months of being lethargic and unable to eat, tests showed her blood was filling with toxins. She needed dialysis right away.

Shawn Vestal: Corporate ‘innocence’ a real steal at the price

The news release arrived, as they do arrive nearly every day, announcing the latest example of corporate justice. A huge company is accused of breaking laws and regulations. The allegations rouse the corporation’s legal and PR teams. A sum of money is paid, a sum that may seem huge to you and me, but which is something like coins in the couch for the corporation.

Pfizer fined $2.3 billion

In the largest health care fraud settlement in history, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must pay $2.3 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company illegally promoted uses of four of its drugs, including the painkiller Bextra, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday. Besides Bextra, the drugs were Geodon, an anti-psychotic; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug. Once the Food and Drug Administration approves drugs, doctors can prescribe them off-label for any use, but makers can’t market them for anything other than approved uses.

Multidrug heart pill shows promise in study

Take a little aspirin, add one part low-dose cholesterol medicine and three parts low-dose blood pressure medicine. Put it in a single pill and give to everybody over the age of 45. What do you get? Doctors don’t know for sure. But the emerging dream of a cheap polypill that could be used to reduce heart attacks and strokes in vast numbers of “healthy” people moved one step closer to reality Monday.

Deal would give Merck No. 2 status

TRENTON, N.J. – Merck & Co. is buying Schering-Plough Corp. for $41.1 billion in a deal that gives Merck key new businesses, access to a promising pipeline of new products and the chance to further cut costs, including eliminating about 16,000 jobs. Merck hopes the cash-and-stock deal, which would vault it to the world’s No. 2 drugmaker, helps it better compete in a drug industry facing slumping sales, tough generic competition and intense pricing pressures.

FDA approves new gout drug

WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first new treatment for gout in more than 40 years, a company said Saturday. Takeda Inc. said Uloric, a once-daily drug, was approved by the FDA on Friday to fight gout, a painful joint disease that mainly strikes middle-aged men. About 5 million people in the U.S. suffer from gout, a form of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood.