Five things for pharma marketers to know: Thursday, July 9

A new study found that pregnant women taking certain antidepressants have higher risks of birth defects.
A new study found that pregnant women taking certain antidepressants have higher risks of birth defects.

There is a slightly higher risk of birth defects when pregnant women take Prozac or Paxil, two of the most popular antidepressants, during the early months of pregnancyThe Wall Street Journal reported. The higher risk also occurs if a woman takes either drug in the month before pregnancy but is not tied to Zoloft, Celexa or Lexapro. Antidepressants are one of the most common classes of drugs prescribed in the US.


Johnson & Johnson's experimental psoriasis drug, guselkumab, cleared psoriasis plaques in a higher percentage of patients when compared to AbbVie's Humira, the Associated Press reported. Humira is the world's top-selling drug, generating $12.5 billion in sales in 2015. Eli Lilly also has a competing treatment called ixekizumab in late-stage testing. The J&J-funded study was published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.


AstraZeneca said it divested its gastrointestinal drug Entocort to the Zeria Group for $215 million. The agreement does not include US rights to the therapy, which is used to treat patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The drug generated $53 million in product sales last year outside the US.


23andMe said customers can opt out of sharing their genetic data with pharmaceutical companies, but about 80% of customers choose to share that information with drugmakers, according to Business Insider. 23andMe formed 14 collaborations with pharma companies like Pfizer and Genentech in 2014. The company earlier this year formed a drug discovery business.


A court in South Carolina reduced the penalty against Johnson & Johnson for illegal marketing of Risperdal, its antipsychotic treatment, according to the Associated Press. The drugmaker is required to now pay $124 million, which is lower than the $200 million it was originally ordered to pay. The drugmaker has been forced to pay millions of dollars in lawsuits relating to the promotion of Risperdal.  

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