Five things for pharma marketers to know: Wednesday, April 1


Takeda offered to pay over $2.2 billion to settle claims that it hid cancer risks for its diabetes drug Actos. The proposal would resolve 8,000 lawsuits in federal and state courts in the US, according to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg, which reported that the proposal would outlay $275,000 per case. A federal judge slapped both Takeda and Eli Lilly with $9 billion in damages from an Actos case in 2014, which was later reduced to $36.8 million.

“Vastly overestimated” is what one analyst is calling PD-1 immunotherapies, a hyped new class of cancer drugs. Former Nomura analyst Amit Roy, who now runs research firm Foveal, says that PD-1 treatments only treat certain groups of cancer patients, which will limit the use of these drugs and their commercial upside, according to Reuters. “We conclude that the global anti PD-1/PD-L1 market is worth an un-risk-adjusted $10 billion a year, materially less than the optimistic (in our view) $20-30 billion forecasts in the market today," Roy said in a report.

Public Citizen took aim at certain type 2 diabetes treatments, claiming their advertisements contain off-label promotional statements. The consumer rights advocacy group wrote in a letter to OPDP that AstraZeneca's Farxiga, Boehringer Ingelheim's Jardiance, Johnson & Johnson's Invokana, Novo Nordisk's Victoza and AstraZeneca's Bydureon have had their benefits inflated and “dangerously skew the risk-benefit calculations.” The letter alleged that these drugs have been approved solely to lower A1C levels in patients, but have often been marketed for weight loss and lowering high blood pressure.

A study published in the PAIN journal estimates that 20% to 30% of opioid drugs prescribed for chronic pain are misused—and that rate of opioid addiction is approximately 10%. Researchers defined misuse as using opioids contrary to instructions.

Interested in beyond-the-pill pacts? More info here.  

Roche is ready to mingle with other drugmakers to investigate cancer combo drugs, according to its CEO Severin Schwan. According to Reuters, Schwan told reporters Wednesday that Roche is "open for possible forms of collaboration with external parties." He added that, "Partnering is absolutely fundamental." 


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