Five things for pharma marketers to know: Tuesday, November 25


AstraZeneca and Ranbaxy failed to end a trial accusing the two drugmakers of intentionally delaying the release of generic Nexium, according to Bloomberg. US District Judge William Young denied a request to end the trial early according to an email from a court clerk sent to the news service. The two companies had argued there was insufficient evidence to show AstraZeneca illegally paid Ranbaxy to keep their generic version of the drug off the market.

The FDA wants more time to review Novartis's experimental multiple myeloma drug panobiostat. The setback means the regulator will tack on an additional three months of review time for the drug, which the FDA granted a Priority Review label back in March. The expedited status typically cuts review time from the typical 12 months to eight. The FDA wants up to an additional three months, based on an advisory panel's recommendation, saving Novartis one month in turnaround. The drug is being considered for use alongside dexamethasone and bortezobib for previously treated multiple myeloma patients.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and John McCain want to revive a bill that will allow prescriptions to flow into the US via Canada. The New York Times reports that this effort is just part of an overall discussion on the Hill about why generic drug prices are rising and how to handle it. The Times notes that a Senate panel convened Thursday to take a look a pricing trend that indicates that generic drug prices rose for about 50% of the category between the summers of 2013 and 2014. The Generics Pharmaceutical Association told the Times that lawmakers have overstated the price increases and focused on the savings associated with non-brand medications compared to their branded counterparts.

Endo Pharmaceuticals has paid $25 million for Trimel Pharmaceuticals' testosterone nasal gel, Natesto. Drug Store News reports that price could increase based on regulatory and sales milestones for the drug the FDA approved in May. The deal gives Endo rights in the US and Mexico, as well as a slice of an increasingly contested category. An FDA panel voted against the hormone supplements in September, saying it needed more research to assess whether they pose a cardiovascular risk, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek noted earlier this month that the FDA's concerns have slowed category sales.

Bloomberg reported Thursday that Actavis is mulling over whether to cut employees and expand into China—after acquiring Allergan earlier this month for $66 billion—according to executives from the company interviewed by the news service. Actavis CEO Brent Saunders said there are redundancies in corporate functions, but did not specify which jobs or how many would be eliminated.


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