Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, October 10, 2015

1. Critics continue to question the FDA's decision to approve OxyContin for children over concerns that the drug may be used inappropriately as well as how Purdue Pharma, the painkiller's manufacturer, will market the drug, according to The New York Times. The agency has argued that the approval will give physicians more information about appropriate dosing for children in severe pain.

2. AstraZeneca temporarily stopped two clinical trials for experimental drugs that treat lung cancer after patients reported lung disease, Reuters reported. The drugmaker is testing AZD9291 and durvalumab as a combination treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

3. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, said he will oppose Dr. Robert Califf's nomination for FDA commissioner, according to Pharmalot. Sanders cited Califf's ties to drugmakers as the primary reason for his opposition.

4. Roche's experimental multiple-sclerosis treatment ocrelizumab was effective in three late-stage studies—two of which compared ocrelizumab to Rebif, a commonly used MS drug marketed by EMD Serono and Pfizer, The Wall Street Journal reported. The third trial found that the drug reduced progression of the disease, making it the first drug to demonstrate this kind of benefit in patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

5. ICYMI: Payers are pushing drugmakers to offer guarantees that expensive new drugs perform better than other treatments, according to Bloomberg Business. Such risk-sharing contracts are also becoming increasingly popular for medical devices.