Five things for pharma marketers to know: Thursday, October 15, 2015


1. Valeant, already under Congressional scrutiny for drug-price increases, said it received two federal subpoenas from US attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts related to the pricing and distribution of its therapies, according to The New York Times. The offices also requested information about its patient assistance programs.

2. Bristol-Myers Squibb said it entered into a new immuno-oncology agreement with Five Prime Therapeutics to develop and commercialize the company's colony stimulating factor 1 receptor antibody program. The drugmakers had first established a deal in November that evaluated Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo with Five Prime's FPA008. Opdivo last week received a new indication to market to patients with non-squamous forms of metastatic lung cancer. It already was approved to treat patients with squamous forms of the disease.

3. Pfizer CEO Ian Read told Forbes that insurers' coverage policies are to blame in the debate over rising drug prices. “I understand the physicians saying, ‘Look, these prices are too high,'” Read told Forbes. “It's because their patients can't get access. That is an insurance issue.”

4. Transition Therapeutics said its experimental drug, ELND005, helped reduce severe agitation and aggression in Alzheimer's disease patients and the new data may be used to develop a late-stage trial for the drug, Reuters reported. The company had disclosed in June that the data showed the drug did not reduce moderate to severe agitation and aggression in those patients.

5. Theranos, the closely watched diagnostic testing start-up that uses finger pricks rather than syringes to gather blood, is reportedly only using its technology to handle a small portion of the tests it conducts, former employees told The Wall Street Journal. The company is valued at $9 billion and provides many commonly prescribed tests.

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