Five things for pharma marketers to know: Tuesday, October 27, 2015


1. Novartis said it will pay $390 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged it paid kickbacks to increase sales of Myfortic, Exjade, Tasigna, Gleevec and Tobi, reported Bloomberg Business. The Justice Department had been seeking as much as $3.3 billion from Novartis for claims related to Exjade and MyFortic. The case involved referring patients to specialty pharmacies and rebates to those pharmacies for recommending Novartis drugs.

2. Only one or two patients out of five respond to immuno-oncology drugs, according to The Washington Post. A study published in Nature found that tumors with a high concentration of T cells are more responsive to such treatments.

3. Amgen and Cytokinetics said an experimental heart-failure drug showed “significant improvement in cardiac function” in a mid-stage study, Reuters reported. Cytokinetics said the company plans over the next few months to decide whether to launch a Phase-III trial for the drug, omecamtiv mecarbil.

4. The CME Coalition took exception to a recent article series published by MedPage Today examining the relationship between CME, marketing and testosterone prescriptions. An infographic in particular failed “to acknowledge the significant protections in place that shield CME programs from bias,” a senior adviser to the CME Coalition wrote in an op-ed to MedPage Today.

5. Express Scripts said it will review its exclusive coverage of AbbVie's Viekira Pak after the FDA issued a safety alert for the hepatitis-C treatment last week, The Pink Sheet reported. The agency had said the drug may cause serious liver injury in patients with underlying advancing liver disease.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Cytokinetics' plans for its drug, omecamtiv mecarbil. The company said it will decide whether to proceed with a Phase-III trial for the drug.