Five things for pharma marketers to know: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Photo credit: Bill Brooks/Creative Commons

1. Medicare may change how it pays physicians who prescribe expensive cancer drugs and other medications, according to a memo issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The memo tells contractors that process Medicare payments to establish a system allowing the government to vary reimbursement for doctors based on their location. That system would allow the government to begin a pilot program—which would limit reimbursement for Medicare Part B—to see how that would influence which drugs doctors choose to prescribe. (Bloomberg)

2. The Securities and Exchange Commision is investigating whether Salix Pharmaceuticals, now owned by Valeant, intentionally mislead investors about its drug inventory levels. The investigation focuses on former Salix CEO Carolyn Logan and CFO Adam Derbyshire, both of whom left the company in the months leading up to Valeant's takeover. (Reuters)

3. A FDA advisory committee recommended the approval of a biosimilar version of Johnson and Johnson's Remicade, voting 21-3 to clear Celltrion's CT-P13, or Remsima, for all of the original drug's seven indications. Its approval would mark the second biosimilar approved in the US after Novartis' Zarxio.

4. Merck filed its experimental house dust mite allergy treatment, Acarizax, for FDA approval. Merck and Danish drugmaker ALK are in a strategic partnership to develop and commercialize the allergy immunotherapy. (PharmaTimes)

5. President Obama's proposed 2017 fiscal budget includes spending cuts to US health programs. Among those cuts are significant reductions to the prices the US pays drugmakers for their medicines. Nearly $140 billion of the spending cuts are from proposed changes to Medicare's drug coverage. (Bloomberg)