Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, November 6, 2015


1. The Obama administration told state Medicaid directors they cannot restrict access to hepatitis-C treatments owing to their high prices, The New York Times reported. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also sent letters to several manufacturers such as Gilead Sciences asking for information about what they are doing to make their drugs affordable.

2. AstraZeneca said it will acquire ZS Pharma for $2.7 billion in cash, according to Bloomberg Business. ZS is developing a drug to treat hyperkalaemia, a deadly blood condition. The drug was submitted to the FDA in May.

3. Allergan CEO Brent Saunders told Reuters that drug discovery is inherently too risky and costly. He also said the idea that all big pharma companies need to develop their own drugs is a fallacy and that he prefers to license or acquire drugs that have already made it through the riskiest steps of clinical development.

4. Sanofi formed an agreement with Lexicon Pharmaceuticals to develop and commercialize sotagliflozin, an experimental oral diabetes treatment. Sanofi will pay Lexicon $300 million up front plus up to $1.4 billion in potential milestone payments.

5. The FDA approved Genvoya, a new one-pill HIV treatment. The drug, manufactured by Gilead Sciences, is expected to have fewer side effects including less kidney toxicity and less decrease in bone density than other drugs also containing tenofovir.