Trending News Today: Investigation Continues into Valeant Pharmaceuticals Fraud Accusations

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc is currently under investigation for allegedly defrauding insurers by hiding its close ties to the mail-order pharmacy, Philidor Rx Services LLC. According to The Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors in the US attorney’s office in Manhattan are pursuing whether Philidor, now defunct, made false statements to insurers about its link to Valeant. The main issue is whether insurers thought Philidor was neutral, as opposed to being in the service of Valeant. The investigation is expected to be the most serious currently faced by Valeant, and could lead to criminal charges against former Philidor executives, and Valeant as a company.

The US District Judge John Bates announced Wednesday that he would start trial proceedings for the Aetna Inc and Humana Inc proposed merger, beginning December 5, 2016. When the scheduling hearing was opened, Judge Bates said that he was leaning towards an early November trial that would allow him to make a decision before the end of the year, reported The Wall Street Journal. The current contractual agreement between the 2 companies is subject to a December 31, 2016 deadline. If the merger is not approved by then, Humana will have the option of walking away from the deal, potentially receiving a $1 billion breakup fee. However, the justice department argued that the accelerated timeline would not provide a fair chance to prove its case. Furthermore, they stated that there was nothing that prevented the companies from extending their merger agreement to give the court time to issue a ruling. After much debate, Judge Bates stated that the justice department’s arguments persuaded him to set the start date for December 5, 2016, with an allotted 13 days for the trial proceedings.

Eli Lilly & Co’s investigational cancer drug failed to meet efficacy criteria in an interim analysis of a phase 3 trial for the treatment of breast cancer, reported The Wall Street Journal. Abemaciclib is an oral cell cycle inhibitor that blocks the growth of cancer cells. The company stated that the trial for the drug will continue into the first half of 2017, where they will disclose the final analysis of its primary endpoint of progression free survival, as well as the overall survival and safety data.