Five things for pharma marketers to know: Wednesday, July 8

The CDC put out a new report on heroin abuse.
The CDC put out a new report on heroin abuse.

The overuse of prescription painkillers has contributed to the increase in heroin use across all demographic groups in the US, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asserted. The study reported a 63% increase in the rate of heroin use in the 10 years beginning in 2002. “Specific response needs include reducing inappropriate prescribing and use of opioids through early identification of persons demonstrating problematic use, stronger prescription drug monitoring programs, and other clinical measures,” the report states. Individuals addicted to narcotic painkillers are 40 times more likely to use heroin than are other individuals, the study found.

Novartis won FDA approval for a new medication to treat heart failure, the drugmaker announced Tuesday. The drug, Entresto, previously called LCZ696, was shown in studies to reduce the rate of heart-failure-related deaths and hospital stays when compared with the effectiveness of older drugs. Entresto can be prescribed in place of an ACE inhibitor or other angiotension receptor blocker, the company said. The FDA approved the new drug under the Priority Review program. Entresto became the second new heart-failure medication okayed by the FDA this year. It approved Amgen's Corlanor in April.

Isis Pharmaceuticals said the FDA granted an orphan-drug designation to volanesorsen for treating people with familial chylomicronemia syndrome. The drug is being evaluated in a Phase-III study. The drugmaker also plans to conduct a second Phase-III study later this year with individuals suffering from familial partial lipodystrophy. “Given that an estimated one to two persons out of a million suffer from this disease worldwide, there is a strong unmet need for drugs for the treatment of FCS,” Zacks reported.

A study found that misunderstanding hypertension could cause some people to focus on stress-management techniques rather than taking the proper medications to treat their hypertension, Reuters reported. Doctors should talk to patients about high blood pressure and avoid the term “hypertension” to avoid patient confusion and ensure patients take their medications, the article authors told Reuters.

CorMedix was sued for allegedly overstating the benefits of its sole product as well as for using paid stock promoters to drive up the price of its stock, reported the New Jersey Law Journal. CorMedix markets Neutrolin, which is used to prevent infections in users of catheters. The company made false and misleading statements about studies dealing with the drug and its cost-effectiveness, the suit alleges. Also named in the class-action lawsuit are six of the company's current and former officers.


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