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McConnell on insurer payments; Gilead, GSK considering United Therapeutics buy

* Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is willing to consider bipartisan effort to continue cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, for insurers, Bloomberg News reported. CSRs are payments the government makes to insurers to keep costs low for low-income or intensive-care patients and to prevent such costs from ballooning for companies.

M&A and capital markets

* Gilead Sciences Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline plc are among suitors weighing bids for biotechnology company United Therapeutics Corp., the Evening Standard reported, citing anonymous sources. According to the sources, United could be worth as much as $200 per share in a sale, making the purchase price about $8.7 billion.

Drug and product pipeline

* The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted tentative approval to Perrigo Company plc's generic version of Mirvaso to treat persistent facial redness of rosacea, a common skin disease.

Operational activity

* In an interview with the Financial Times, CEO Emma Walmsley shared her plans to improve GlaxoSmithKline plc's return on research and development by pursuing products of high commercial value to the drug maker. Walmsley also intends to overhaul the company's incentive structure to improve accountability and drive performance.

* A U.S. court in Brooklyn found former drug company executive Martin Shkreli guilty of defrauding investors in hedge funds MSMB Capital Management LLC and MSMB Healthcare Ltd., and pharmaceutical company Retrophin, Inc.

* The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration proposed a 20% reduction in the production quotas of certain opioid painkillers in 2018. "Physicians, pharmacists, and patients must recognize the inherent risks of these powerful medications, especially for long-term use," said Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 0.46% to 27690.36. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.52% to 20,055.89.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.14% to 7,522.26, and the Euronext 100 slid 0.04% to 1,011.71.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence:

* Allergan's Teva ties may have pushed both stocks down, analyst says: Allergan plc had a steady second quarter with several products beating sales expectations, but executive comments about Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. may have hurt both company's stocks, an analyst speculated.

* J&J research exec talks changing HIV treatments, long-term dosing in the future: With a recent batch of data in hand on experimental HIV drugs, Brian Woodfall, global head of late development for infectious diseases and vaccines for Johnson & Johnson's Janssen unit, spoke with S&P Global Market Intelligence about the changing landscape of HIV treatment.

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