Former Pharmacist Gets Two Years and $7 Million in Kickback Scheme

After pleading guilty to his role in a pharmacy kick-back scheme last year, federal court sentenced ex-pharmacist Ravi Morisetty to two years in federal prison and $7 million in restitution, according to the Dallas Morning News. The former Irving pharmacist was part of a scheme that defrauded the military insurance program of more than $100 million, and is the first of 13 defendants to be sentenced in the Trilogy Pharmacy case. DMN reports that Morisetty admitted to paying Trilogy’s marketers around $400,000 to funnel patients to Alpha Pharmacy, which he owned. Morisetty admitted to paying kickbacks to owners of a… Full Story

Merck’s $2 Billion Acquisition of Dallas-based Peloton Therapeutics

Local clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Peloton Therapeutics is being acquired by pharmaceutical giant Merck for an upfront payment of $1.05 billion just as the company was about to go public. Peloton shareholders may receive $1.15 billion more if regulatory and sales milestones are met. Peloton Therapeutics focuses on novel medications for patients with cancer and other life-threatening conditions and is developing a new oral treatment to target late-stage renal cell carcinoma, showing signs of anti-tumor activity in clinical studies. The company raised $150 million in Series E funding in February. Peloton was founded by UT Southwestern scientists with an $11 million grant… Full Story

The Economic Impact of Texas’ Clinical Trial Industry

Texas’ clinical trials are working to come up with new cures for previously untreated disease, but the economic impact of the trials is another added benefit. They have generated $6.61 billion in economic development in the state. Texas was third in the nation for active clinical trials, with 1,989 trials across the state according to a report from TEConomy Partners. The largest group of surgeries by enrollment is oncology. Commercially available prescription medicines go through a long process and requires involvement from government, academia, non-profit organizations, patient advocacy groups, and health care providers before the medicine reaches medicine cabinets. It can… Full Story

McKesson Plans for $150 Million in Lawsuit Fines for Next Fiscal Year

In an earnings call last week, pharmaceutical giant McKesson Corp. said it expects to spend $150 million in 2021 on defending itself from opioid lawsuits, up from $100 million this year, Axios reports. McKesson is the sixth largest company in terms of revenue in the country, and the $150 million is a drop in the bucket relative to its $214 billion in revenue last year, but the lawsuits are adding up, with cases in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and New York in process or recently settled. States and cities are accusing many of the major drug players of knowingly sending inordinate… Full Story

McKesson Corp. Saw Three Percent Revenue Growth in Fiscal Year 2019

Despite being in legal hot water in multiple states for the number of opioids McKesson Corp. sent to patients and doctors, the pharmaceutical giant reported a three percent increase for full-year fiscal 2019 revenue and two percent up from last year’s fourth quarter. The fourth quarter fiscal 2019 revenue was $52.4 billion, and the full year revenue was $214.3 billion. Shareholders received $1.9 billion due to share repurchases and dividends in fiscal year 2019. The company has a positive outlook looking forward due to a renewed pharmaceutical distribution relationship with CVS Health through 2023. McKesson’s cashflow was $4.0 billion for… Full Story

North Texas Leads on Medical Marijuana and E-Cigarette Legislation

Fort Worth Republican Rep. Stephanie Klick’s bill to expand medical marijauna coverage has passed the Texas House of Representatives by a vote of 133-10, and will head to the Senate where it will be debated further. Klick’s bill was accompanied by another more expansive medical marijauna bill authored by Brownsville Democrat Rep. Eddie Lucio III, which also passed by an overwhelming majority. Currently, Texas’ Compassionate Use Act says that intractable epilepsy is the only condition that can be legally treated by cannabis with low levels of THC. Klick, a nurse, is the author of the 2015 Compassionate Use Act. But the… Full Story

Two North Texas Docs, One Nurse Sentenced to Federal Prison in Opioid Case

The healthcare professionals were sentenced to federal prison last week for illegally distributing opioids and other controlled substances in the Eastern District of Texas. After pleading guilty last October, Dr. Howard Gregg Diamond, a Sherman physician, received a 20-year sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substance and 10 more years for health care fraud. Diamond began writing fraudulent prescriptions for hydrocodone, fentanyl, oxycodone and other opiates in 2010 from his pain management offices in Sherman and Paris, Texas. In 2014, an individual died after taking morphine, oxycodone, alprazolam, and zolpidem that Gregg distributed. Court documents also show… Full Story

Baylor Scott and White Now Has Remote Pharmacy Kiosks

Baylor Scott and White’s pharmacy kiosks are allow patients a convenient pickup option for their prescriptions. The kiosks will be located throughout the service area in medical centers, and patients will be able to enter their information and retrieve medications quickly and conveniently. The first remote kiosk was installed in the Texas Farm Bureau Headquarters in Waco, with more to come in coming months. Any prescription can be filled and stored properly, are available within hours of visiting the pharmacy, and are available 24 hours a day. If the patient wants a pharmacy consultation, they are available via phone or… Full Story

McKesson Corp. Appoints New Human Resources Chief

McKesson Corp has appointed Tracy Faber to executive vice president and chief human resources officer, which will take effect in October. She will report to McKesson’s new CEO Brian Tyler. Faber has been with McKesson since 2011 and is currently a senior vice president of human resources for McKesson Corporate as well as their U.S. Pharmaceutical and Specialty Solutions and the Strategic Initiatives team. Faber will advise the CEO and board of directors on executive session planning, recruiting board members, diversity, inclusion, leadership development and transformational change. “We are delighted to welcome Tracy to our executive committee,” said Tyler via… Full Story

McKesson and West Virginia End Opioid Lawsuit in “Sweetheart Settlement”

Irving-based McKesson Corp. is accused of sending 100 million doses of opioids to West Virginia over a six year period, in a now-settled lawsuit in the state of West Virginia. The pharmaceutical giant will pay the state $37 million to be used for rehabilitation, job training and mental health programs, according to the New York Times. The lawsuit says that the nation’s sixth largest company by revenue, which moved to Irving from California last fall, failed to report or stop overblown opioid doses that poured into the state. The Times reports that state officials say the company sent enough hydrocodone… Full Story