Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, December 14, 2015

Photo credit: Bill Brooks/Creative Commons

1. Eli Lilly said its lung-cancer drug, Portrazza, will cost $11,430 per month. Physicians and other experts say the price is too high, considering that they believe the drug's survival rates are modest. (WSJ)

2. AstraZeneca is considering an acquisition of Acerta Pharma, which is developing cancer drugs, for $5 billion. The deal would bolster AstraZeneca's pipeline. Acerta is similar to Pharmacyclics, which was acquired earlier this year by AbbVie for $21 billion. (WSJ)

3. Martin Shkreli raised the ire of a new group of physicians when he said he planned to increase the price of a old drug that treats Chagas disease. The drug is considered the standard of care in South and Central America, where it costs between $50 and $100. It's provided free in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an experimental treatment. If the drug receives FDA approval, Shkreli plans to price the drug between $60,000 and $100,000. (NYT)

4. Pharma sales reps still see food and meals as a “weapon of choice” when seeking to meet with physicians and their office staff. Pizza is a popular choice but increasingly so are sandwiches, barbecue and Mexican food. (Stat News)

5. Valeant reportedly hired a lawyer and crisis PR firm in Washington as the drugmaker faces continued scrutiny over its pricing practices and its ties with specialty pharmacies. A Senate hearing last week focused on Valeant's decision to raise the price of two older heart drugs after it acquired them. (Reuters)