What We're Reading: BMS to Acquire Celgene; Science Advisor and Drug Czar Confirmed; Drug Price Hikes

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) announced that it will be acquiring Celgene for $74 billion; Congress has confirmed the Trump administration's nominees for science advisor and drug czar; and drugmakers kicked off 2019 with drug price hikes.

Bristol-Myers Squibb to Acquire Celgene

In a press release today, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) announced that it will be acquiring Celgene. According to BMS, the $74 billion acquisition will allow the 2 companies to address the needs of patients with cancer, inflammatory and immunologic disease, and cardiovascular disease through high-value innovative medicines and leading scientific capabilities. The combined company will have 9 products with more than $1 billion in annual sales. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019.

Trump Appoints Science Advisor, Drug Czar

On Wednesday, Congress confirmed the Trump administration’s nominees for science advisor and drug czar following 2 years of vacancy, reported STAT News. Appointed science advisor Kelvin Droegmeier is a meteorologist and former professor at the University of Oklahoma. The Senate also confirmed James Carroll to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy, providing the White House with a top drug advisor amid the national opioid epidemic.

Drug Price Hike Pace Is Slowing

While drugmakers entered the year with price increases on more than 250 prescription drugs, the pace of price hikes was slower than last year, according to Reuters. The overall number of price increases was down by around one-third from 2018, when drugmakers raised the prices on more than 400 drugs. AbbVie’s Humira and 50 Allergan drugs were among those that saw price increases. Amid the price hikes, President Trump during a meeting with his Cabinet on Wednesday said he expected to see a tremendous decrease in drug prices.