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J&J's single-pill HIV drug passes trial; WHO fights plague in Madagascar

Top news

* An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has killed 33 people so far, prompting the World Health Organization to send 1.2 million doses of antibiotics and release $1.5 million in emergency funds to fight the epidemic in the country.

* Johnson & Johnson said its single-tablet regimen containing four HIV drugs met the main goal of a phase 3 study in infected adults whose viral levels were already controlled by medication.

* U.S. President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order in the coming week that will roll back certain insurance rules established by the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act.

* Trump also contacted U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to discuss the prospects of working together on a healthcare bill. White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the President's new willingness to work with Democrats on healthcare is more about reminding Republicans they have not kept their promise to repeal the ACA.

On the policy front

* A Nov. 8 workshop in Washington hosted by the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, may provide insight into how the agency under the Trump administration will work with the Food and Drug Administration to drive competition in the U.S. biopharmaceutical market.

* Indian regulators are devising a plan to reduce the country's dependence on China for the supply of pharmaceutical products amid diplomatic tensions between the two governments, The Economic Times of India reported.

* In an attempt to pace up drug approvals and improve patient access to medicines, China plans to accept data from overseas clinical trials, Reuters reported.

Drug and product pipeline

* AstraZeneca PLC's Tagrisso was granted breakthrough therapy designation by the U.S. FDA for first-line treatment of patients with a certain type of lung cancer.

* The U.S. FDA approved Flexion Therapeutics Inc.'s non-opioid drug Zilretta for osteoarthritis knee pain.

Other features

* The New York Times highlights Pfizer Inc. and Cipla Ltd.'s collaboration with the American Cancer Society to bring lifesaving treatments to six African countries by offering 16 common chemotherapy drugs at steep discounts.

* AstraZeneca PLC CEO Pascal Soriot spoke to the Financial Times, rebutting comments that he was focused on near-term returns at the expense of a long-term drug pipeline that showed promise.

* The Wall Street Journal carries a report on state-level healthcare reform that could shape the next standoff between lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 0.46% to 28,326.59. The Nikkei 225 climbed 0.30% to 20,690.71.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 slid 0.21% to 7,507.14, while the Euronext 100 was up 0.06% to 1,043.92.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 6:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.