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GSK's Connelly uses some free time for fiction

Deirdre Connelly, who became the president of North American pharmaceuticals with GlaxoSmithKline in February, doesn't have much down time these days.

Most of her time is spent working or traveling between GSK's U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park and another large campus outside Philadelphia. Read our Q&A with Connelly here.

Another tidbit about Connelly: During the little free time she does have, she mostly reads and spends time with friends and family around the dinner table.

She has been reading several books by Spanish authors recently, including "Niebla," by Miguel de Unamuno. The novel is essentially a metaphor for man asserting his authority against God.

Connelly, who was born in Puerto Rico and is Roman Catholic, also recently read "The Shack" by William Young, a fictional account of the Holy Trinity. Connelly said she enjoyed the depiction of God as a woman and the life lessons the book offers.

GSK rivals bidding up prices for potential medicines, partnerships

GlaxoSmithKline is having a tougher time finding attractive new drugs to acquire, as rivals bid up prices, the company's head of research told Bloomberg News.

The trend could force GSK to pass on buying some promising experimental drugs, said Moncef Slaoui, left.

"Some of our competitors are desperate because they pay just an incredible price for some medicines," he told Bloomberg. "And if it's a matter of life or death for them, then maybe it makes sense for them, but not to us. So sometimes we may lose some partnerships for financial reasons, which is frustrating."

Blue Cross, GSK among top employers for working moms

Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline and health insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina are among the top employers on Working Mother magazine's 100 Best Companies list this year.

The magazine ranks companies with benefits and programs that support families, including flextime, telecommuting, job sharing and strong child care.

Keeping those perks during tough times will help employers attract top talent, and retain key workers as the economy recovers, said Carol Evans, CEO of Working Mother Media.

GSK reportedly in talks to buy Dr. Reddy's stake

GlaxoSmithKline is reportedly getting cozy with Dr. Reddy's Laboratories.

GSK is in talks to buy a 5 percent stake in the Indian drug maker, the Economic Times reported, citing unnamed sources. The news sent Dr. Reddy's shares higher in India.

Officials with the companies declined to comment.

GSK expands free-drug program

GlaxoSmithKline is expanding its program that provides free medicines to low income and uninsured patients.

The drug maker announced today that it will improve access to its assistance program by making it easier for patients to enroll themselves. Previously, patients had to enroll through a nurse or other health-care advocate.

Now, a patient can fill out a one-page form. Once GSK verifies income and the prescription, the company will mail a free-90 day supply of medicine.

“We are proud to discover and deliver medicines that can help people do more and feel better,” said Deirdre Connelly, GSK's president of North America Pharmaceuticals. “At the same time we recognize these are difficult financial times that can take a toll on people’s ability to pay for care.  We want to do what we can to support better health, especially for those who may find themselves suddenly in difficult financial situations.”

GSK's Connelly among most powerful

Joining GlaxoSmithKline boosted Deirdre Connelly's power ranking.

Connelly, who became head of GSK's North American pharmaceutical business in February, is No. 37 on Fortune Magazine's latest list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in business. Connelly, 49, defected to GSK after spending 25 years at rival Eli Lilly.

Connelly was No. 42 in last year's Fortune list.

She is the top ranking official at GSK's U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park and oversees key drugs such as the asthma treatment Advair. The British drug maker employs more than 5,000 in the Triangle but has been shedding jobs to cut costs amid slowing U.S. sales.

A few other Tar Heels made Fortune's latest list.

FDA panel supports GSK vaccine

GlaxoSmithKline got good news today from federal health officials.

The Food and Drug Administration's vaccine panel said that the vaccine Cervarix successfully blocked the main virus that causes cervical cancer and appeared safe for females age 10 to 25.

FDA warns patients to avoid stolen insulin produced in Clayton

For the second time this week, federal regulators are warning consumers not to use stolen medical products that were made in the Triangle.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a reminder today regarding 129,000 vials of the insulin Levemir, made by Novo Nordisk at its Clayton plant. The vials were stolen earlier this year in North Carolina during shipping but only about 2 percent have been recovered, the FDA reports.

The stolen insulin may not have been stored and handled properly and could be dangerous for patients, the FDA said. 

Advair inhalers stolen from GSK

GlaxoSmithKline said today that more than 25,000 Advair inhalers had been stolen from a warehouse in Richmond, Va.

The inhalers, which contain medication used by asthma sufferers, were taken from a distribution facility on Aug. 2 before they could be shipped out to pharmacies.

The company is advising that the medicine could present a health risk since it had been removed from the legitimate supply chain and optimum storage conditions.

Pozen ready to fight Dr. Reddy's

Pozen is ready for a fight with Dr. Reddy's.

The Chapel Hill drug maker notified investors late Wednesday that Dr. Reddy's Laboratories is seeking regulatory approval to sell a generic version of Pozen's migraine treatment Treximet.

Dr. Reddy's is a major Indian pharmaceutical company and sells cheaper versions of other big drugs.

Pozen already has sued to block other companies that have asked the Food and Drug Administration for permission to sell generic copies of Treximet, including Par Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

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