Five things for pharma marketers to know: Thursday, March 31, 2016



1. The Federal Trade Commission began an investigation into the merger of Pfizer and Allergan. The agency issued a request for more information on Wednesday. The drugmakers' product portfolios will likely come under scrutiny as regulators look to identify overlaps between the two companies. (Bloomberg)

2. The FDA loosened the guidelines for mifepristone, an abortion-inducing drug. Changes include reducing the dosage from 600 milligrams to 200 milligrams, decreasing the number of physician visits from three to two, and extending the time when a woman can take the pill from seven weeks to ten weeks of pregnancy. Medication-induced abortion accounted for a quarter of all abortions in 2011, according to most recent figures by the Guttmacher Institute. (NYT)

3. The FDA approved Dublin-based Jazz Pharmaceuticals' Defitelio (defibrotide), which treats patients with hepatic veno-occlusive disease, a rare type of liver condition. It is the first U.S. approved drug for the condition and is already available in Europe. (Reuters)

4. A San Francisco startup, Nurx, will allow patients in California to receive Truvada, Gilead Sciences' pre-exposure prophylaxis pill, through a mobile app. The patient requests the prescription through the app, fills out a health survey, and a doctor then reviews that information and decides whether to prescribe it or not. (The Guardian)

5. Bristol-Myers Squibb's cancer immunotherapy Opdivo is currently being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency as a treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma. If approved, it would be the first blood cancer indicated for a checkpoint inhibitor. (PMLiVE)