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Big pharma shopping, Grassley investigating

Amylin is drawing interest from several big pharmaceutical companies. Meanwhile GSK buys rest of a UK protein researcher and Sen. Charles Grassley wants the GAO to look at the DEA.

San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals has been a takeover target for several months and more companies are reportedly looking at its books.

Amylin, which makes diabetes drugs Bydureon and Byetta, rejected a $3.9 billion offer from Bristol-Myers Squibb, which prompted a suit from investor Carl Icahn.

Icahn has since withdrawn the suit, but encouraged a sale of the company.

Now, according to Bloomberg, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers, Sanofi, Merck, Roche and Takeda have signed confidentiality agreements to look at the Amylin's finances.

The link to the Bloomberg story is here.

GlaxoSmithKline, which is trying to add Human Genome Sciences, said Tuesday morning that it has bought the shares it didn't own of the privately-held, UK-based company Cellzome for about $98 million. Cellzome does work in the proteomics technology area, meaning it researches and scans proteins to define their structures.

The link to the GSK announcement is here.

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley (R) and his staff spend time checking into health-care fraud and his office said he and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D.-RI) of Judiciary Committee asked the Government Accountability Office to study whether the Drug Enforcement Administration is striking the right balance.

Problems related to prescribing or overprescribing of opioid painkillers and antipsychotic drugs are often the focus of Grassley's attention.

"The Drug Enforcement Administration sets quotas for drug companies that manufacture controlled substances and in effect limits how much product they are allowed to make," Grassley said in a statement. "Since the drug shortage crisis developed, controlled substances are frequently on the drug shortage list of the Food and Drug Administration.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has to walk a fine line between managing dangerous controlled substances and making sure there are adequate supplies for legitimate medicine. An independent assessment is needed to strike the right balance for everyone involved."

The link to Grassley's statement is here.

Speaking of the DEA, Omnicare, Inc., said it agreed to pay $50 million to settle Drug Enforcement Administration allegations of errors or deficiencies by its pharmacies in how they dispensed controlled substances.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the company, which runs nursing home pharmacies, agreed that long-term care pharmacies are prohibited from providing template prescriptions that can be filled out in whole or in part by the pharmacy.

The Journal story is here.