Five things for pharma marketers to know: Tuesday, May 5


Worldwide spending on cancer medications topped $100 billion in 2014, a 10.3% increase over 2013, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. The report showed, however, that better survival rates and effective drug combinations will not be enough to convince payers that the drugs are worth the money. Amid the spending and innovation data, IMS also found a marketing asset: where and what cancer patients talk about online.

Bayer HealthCare purchased exclusive worldwide rights to ISIS Pharmaceuticals' experimental anticlotting drug ISIS-FXIRx for $100 million up front and up to $375 million in additional milestones, reported BioCentury. Bayer's portfolio includes blood thinner Xarelto. BioCentury said Bayer expects the drug will treat patients who cannot tolerate current anticoagulants.

Philip Hampton is expected to take over as GlaxoSmithKline's new chairman on Thursday, the day after the drugmaker reports first-quarter earnings, reported Bloomberg Business. Hampton, who oversaw 90,000 job cuts at the Royal Bank of Scotland after the UK's biggest bank bailout, will replace Christopher Gent. Bloomberg said Hampton will evaluate the performance of current executives, including CEO Andrew Witty, who is said to be losing favor with investors.

The Supreme Court ruled that Bristol-Myers Squibb cannot revive patent protection for hepatitis-B drug Baraclude, reported Reuters. The news service said the court decided without hearing BMS's appeal. Teva had challenged the patent.

ICYMI: Generic Vicodin was the most-prescribed Medicare drug in 2013, which reflects physician comfort with the opioid painkiller and the uptick in US painkiller use, reported The Wall Street Journal. Prescription data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showed that family-practice physicians and internists wrote around 25% of the prescriptions, with others coming from surgeons, dentists and pain experts. The same data showed that heartburn drug Nexium ate up the bulk of the government's branded drug spend, but Forbes' Matthew Herper wrote that the cost data need a closer look because the $2.56-billion tab did not reflect rebates, which would lower the total.