Five things for pharma marketers to know: Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Severin Schwan, CEO, Roche
Severin Schwan, CEO, Roche

Severin Schwan, CEO of Roche, characterized the way the National Health Service—the United Kingdom's health system—controls costs as "stupid," Reuters reported. The NHS recently dropped two of the company's cancer drugs—Avastin and Kadcyla—from being covered. Schwan also criticized the system's slow adoption of new medicines.

The Concordia Healthcare Corp. agreed to acquire rare-disease drugmaker Amdipharm Mercury from a European private equity firm. Concordia will pay $895 million up front and assume about $1.4 billion in debt, according to The New York Times. Amdipharm posted revenue of $446 million in 2014.

Researchers found that Pfizer's smoking-cessation drug Chantix is not linked to heart risks or depression despite previous studies linking the drug to such side effects. Chantix has a black-box warning, which it received in 2009. The study tracked 150,000 smokers in England for six months, according to Reuters.

Biogen enrolled the first patient in a Phase-III trial for its Alzheimer's disease treatment aducanumab. The trial will evaluate whether the experimental drug slows cognitive impairment and disability in people with early forms of the disease. Phase-III testing is expected to end in February 2020.

Cipla will purchase two generic drugmakers, InvaGen Pharmaceuticals and Exelan Pharmaceuticals, for $550 million. An analyst, cited by Bloomberg Business, said this could bring the drugmaker's US sales into the $450 million to $500 million range.