Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, January 22, 2016



1. The UK's healthcare cost watchdog, NICE, recommended Opdivo as a treatment for advanced skin cancer. Bristol-Myers Squibb did not discount the drug—which will cost $7,542 per month—in order to sway the regulator's decision. Last month, NICE said that Opdivo was not a cost-effective treatment for lung cancer. (Bloomberg)

2. Sanofi reportedly plans to announce “sizable” layoffs. The staff reductions are part of a strategic plan the company released in November. Sanofi has a large corporate campus in New Jersey, which could face significant cuts. (STAT)

3. Sens. Charles Grassley (D-Ore.) and Ron Wyden (R-Iowa) are asking for feedback after an 18-month investigation into how Gilead Sciences “developed, priced, marketed, and sold” its hepatitis C blockbuster drug, Sovaldi. The two senators sent a letter to the healthcare and patient community on January 21, writing: “Our investigation showed that in considering how to price its drug, Gilead prioritized revenue and profit maximization over patient access.”

4. The national spotlight on drug pricing is eating into PhRMA's coffers. The pharmaceutical lobbying group increased its spend in 2015—the first spending hike for the group since 2009. PhRMA spent $18.32 million in lobbying last year, up from $16.51 million in 2014. (The Hill)

5. The FDA approved Amgen's Kyprolis in combination with other drugs to treat multiple myeloma. The drug was also approved as a standalone therapy for patients with advanced forms of the disease who received a prior treatment. (Reuters)