MASSDEVICE ON CALL — The SEC charged former Orioles baseball player Doug DeCinces alongside three others with insider trading ahead of an Abbott (NYSE:ABT) acquisition, raking in $1.7 million in illegal profits.
DeCinces agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle the charges that he began purchasing shares of Advanced Medical Optics on information from someone inside the company and tipped three others who also traded on the confidential information.
He eventually bought up nearly 84,000 shares of AMO, some through accounts in his grandchildren’s names, the Baltimore CityBizList reported.
This isn’t the first insider trading charge surrounding the ABT/AMO deal. Just last month Dean Goetz, a personal injury lawyer in California, was charged of reaping an illegal $11,000 profit on information that he stole from his daughter who was a lawyer working at AMO at the time. He paid a $24,000 penalty.
The acquisition was a $2.8 billion deal that went public in January 2009.
FDA under pressure to relax conflict of interest rules for drug application reviewers
During a Senate meeting last week, Congressional lawmakers put pressure on the FDA to relax rules that prohibit drug applications from undergoing review by advisors that are known to have direct or indirect financial ties to the drug’s manufacturer, Reuters reported.
The agency often delays drug applications while searching for experts without ties to the drug in question.
"We have had difficulty in recruiting highly qualified people. And we’ve had delays in having panels because of this," Dr. Janet Woodcock, head of the FDA’s drugs center, said during a House of Representatives hearing last month.
The watchdog agency tightened guidelines in 2007 in efforts to reduce industry relationships that might bias an advisor’s expert opinion, but challengers say the new rules go too far.
$400 million paid in EMR incentives thus far
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid announced that $400 million has been paid out in incentives for electronic medical records thus far, spanning 3,500 physicians and hospitals whose applications have been reviewed and approved, EMR Daily News reported.
About 77,000 providers have registered for incentive payments and 21 states have payment programs ready to receive provider registrations.
First scorpion sting anti-venom approved by FDA
The FDA approved the first scorpion sting anti-venom this week, a welcome dose for the 11,000 people stung by the creatures in the U.S. each year. The antidote is formulated specifically for the Centruroides scorpion, the most common in the U.S.
Scorpion stings are rarely fatal, but can be extremely pain, causing numbing and burning at the site of the sting, according to the FDA release.
"Severe stings can cause loss of muscle control and difficulty breathing, requiring heavy sedation and intensive care in a hospital. Most often, it’s small children who experience severe reactions, but adults can be affected, too," managing director of the Arizona Poison & Drug Information Center Keith Boesen told the agency.
Michigan Reps fight to stave off insurance mandate
Two house chairmen from Michigan are standing in defense of the state’s request for a temporary waiver of the individual insurance mandate in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, Healthwatch reported.
Reps. Dave Camp and Fred Upton wrote to Health & Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to urge her to review and approve the Wolverine State’s request.
"While approving Michigan’s application will not solve the fundamental flaws in Democrats’ health care law, on behalf of Michigan residents, we believe it is important to voice our strong support for steps that can limit the damage inflicted on consumers as a result of this misguided law," Camp and Upton wrote.