Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, March 14, 2016

1. Bristol-Myers Squibb said doctors have been prescribing Opdivo to more than 60% of new US lung cancer patients who are eligible for the treatment—outpacing competitor Keytruda, manufactured by Merck. The company has employed a DTC-heavy marketing strategy for the drug, which is used to treat second-line lung cancer. BMS claimed that the diagnostic test required to take Keytruda has become an obstacle to adoption. (WSJ)

See also: BMS CEO defends use of DTC to promote cancer drug

2. Valeant Pharmaceuticals' board explored replacing Michael Pearson, its chief executive, after he was hospitalized for pneumonia in late December. Some directors worried at the time that Pearson's focus on profits and his decision-making approach were not a good match for the issues facing the company, unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal. Valeant plans to report its fourth-quarter financials tomorrow. (WSJ)

3. The University Hospitals of Cleveland are warning prescribers about expensive medications with symbols typically reserved for Yelp.com and Zagat: multiple dollar-sign symbols ($$$$). Hospital administrators are slapping high-priced drugs with the symbol to encourage doctors to consider alternatives. (WaPo)

4. The FDA expanded the use of a Pfizer drug, Xalkori, for a rare type of lung cancer.  Xalkori's approved indications were broadened to include treating patients with the ROS-1 gene mutation, a group that accounts for roughly 1% of US patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. (AP)

5. Biogen's best-selling multiple sclerosis drug, Tecfidera, had one of its European patents revoked by a European Union court. Biogen is expected to appeal the decision, which could suspend the patent revocation for up to four years. The patent covered the 480mg dose of Tecfidera. (Investor's Business Daily)