Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, November 16, 2015



1. Merck will continue trials of its experimental cholesterol CETP-inhibitor, anacetrapib, after a recommendation from an independent monitoring committee. Both Pfizer and Eli Lilly have ended trials evaluating their own CEPT inhibitors, which raise HDL, or “good,” cholesterol.

2. Pharmacy benefit managers, like Express Scripts, are cutting ties with certain specialty pharmacies. OptumRx—along with Express Scripts—is ending its relationships with specialty pharmacies that primarily serve one drugmaker, according to Reuters. There has been renewed scrutiny around these businesses since accusations were made about the practices of Philidor Rx.

3. Merck's experimental hepatitis-C treatment was found to be effective in patients who used intravenous drugs, according to Bloomberg Business. A study of 301 IV drug users showed that 95% were cured of the virus and that nearly all patients in the trial (97%) took at least 95% of the drugs they were given.

4. Baxalta's Adynovate was approved by the FDA on Friday to reduce the frequency of bleeding episodes in patients with hemophilia A. Baxter International spun off Baxalta in June.

5. As gene therapies become increasingly available, they face a critical obstacle: sky-high prices, according to The Washington Post. UniQure's Glybera, the first approved gene therapy in Europe, costs close to $1 million per patient over multiple years of treatment.