Five things for pharma marketers to know: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Photo credit: e-Magine Art/Creative Commons

1. Drug and device companies kicked in about $694 million in support for continuing medical education in 2015, a 4.2% increase over 2014's contribution, according to data released Tuesday by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. Commercial funding accounted for 28% of total reported CME income, up from 26% the year prior.

2. Valeant Pharmaceuticals received FDA approval for Relistor, a treatment for opioid-induced constipation. Valeant acquired Relistor in its acquisition of Salix Pharmaceuticals in 2015 for $11.1 billion. (WSJ)

3. The Department of Justice is poised to block the merger of Anthem and Cigna. Antitrust officials said they seek to block the $37 billion deal, saying it will harm competition among health insurers. The Justice Department's final decision is expected this week or next, according to unnamed sources. (NYT)

4. An FDA panel unanimously recommended brodalumab, an experimental Valeant drug, for approval, albeit with some caveats. Fourteen panelists said the psoriasis drug should only be prescribed with a strong risk-management program as there were six suicides in its clinical trials. The FDA is not required to follow the panel's recommendation but often does. (Reuters)

5. A meta-analysis of 301 clinical trials found that eight different drug classes for diabetes did not reduce patients' likelihood of dying compared to placebo. Many studies in the analysis, however, were not long enough to demonstrate an outcomes benefit — suggesting that there may still be an unmeasured benefit. (MedPage Today)