Hot topics this week: Facebook is getting noticed in the clinical trial industry, Merck buys Idenix, and a new drug has been found that can lead to great news for lung cancer patients.

1.  Facebook is getting a lot of attention in clinical trials. It can have negative effects by “unblinding” a clinical trial, but it can also have positive effects. Online discussions can lead to insights on study complexity, recruitment, or other considerations.

2. Drugmaker Merck & Co., will buy Idenix. For $3.85 billion.  Idenix specializes in drugs to treat human viral illnesses.  With the purchase, Merck will now be considered a competitor in the hepatitis C space.

3.  After many years, scientists have discovered why cancer patients do not respond to a therapy designed to block tumor growth. And, they have pinpointed a drug that can potentially reverse it!