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


Purdue Pharma, which manufactures painkiller OxyContin, said it will no longer participate in a FDA meeting scheduled for next week to discuss whether its abuse-deterrent version of the drug contributed to lower rates of abuse, according to the Associated Press. The company told the AP that it wants to take additional time to review and analyze the data so it withdrew the application. Such cancellations are unusual, the AP reported.

NantHealth, the health technology company founded by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, is expected to file for its initial public offering this year, according to the Los Angeles Times. Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, a provider of electronic health records, also disclosed that it made a 10% investment worth $200 million in the firm. Allscripts' investment indicates that NantHealth is valued at $2 billion.

Unite Here, a union for hotel workers, is advocating to end pharmaceutical support of continuing medical education over concerns that potential industry influence over doctors leads to higher drug costs for its members, reported The Wall Street Journal's Pharmalot blog. Manufacturers of drugs and medical devices spent $675 million on CME last year. What makes the union's advocacy notable is that many CME events are held at hotels and further restricting pharma support could lead to a reduction of hotel jobs.

Roche's Genentech unit spent $373.4 million on payments to physicians and teaching hospitals in 2014, making it one of the top-spending drugmakers alongside Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, The Wall Street Journal reported. About two-thirds of Genentech's funding went to City of Hope, a California hospital, for royalties related to Herceptin and Avastin, both blockbuster cancer therapies. The pharmaceutical and medical device industry spent $6.5 billion on payments to healthcare providers in 2014, according to new data released Tuesday by the CMS.

Express Scripts, the nation's largest PBM, said people newly enrolled in health exchange insurance plans spent less on drugs in the first quarter of 2015, compared to what was spent during the same quarter in 2014. Those enrollees also tended to be younger and healthier, and thus spent less on specialty drugs in the first three months of the year. Still, Express Scripts reported that spending on hepatitis-C drugs and oral contraceptives by those enrollees increased during the quarter.