Five things for pharma marketers to know: Thursday, September 22, 2016

Photo credit: Ralph Aswang/Creative Commons

1. Representatives from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform blasted Mylan CEO Heather Bresch (pictured) over the dramatic price increase of its emergency anaphylaxis treatment EpiPen. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said he was frustrated by the perceived futility of these hearings: “The industry will take their punches. But then they go right ahead and keep raising prices.” (NYT)

2. Abbott sales reps went to great lengths to make sure OxyContin, a drug it co-promoted with Purdue Pharma, would become a blockbuster. Among the tactics it employed was spelling out the drug's name in junk food for doctors, according to internal marketing documents obtained by Stat. Memos to sales reps referred to the drug's marketing as a ”crusade” and their boss referred to himself as the “King of Pain.” (Stat)

3. UnitedHealth said it plans to remove Sanofi's long-acting insulin Lantus from its formulary beginning in April of next year. The insurer plans to move Eli Lilly's Basaglar, which was approved in December 2015, to its Tier 1 and shift Novo Nordisk's Levemir from Tier 1 to Tier 2. Drugs in Tier 1 have the lowest out-of-pocket costs for members. (Reuters)

4. The FDA has strong-armed reporters via the use of embargos, according to documents obtained by Scientific American. The documents show that the agency limits who reporters can speak to until after the news has broken. (Scientific American)

5. Gilead Sciences terminated a Phase-II/III trial of its experimental ulcerative colitis treatment GS-5745 after an interim analysis. The drugmaker said it determined there is insufficient evidence that the drug provides a benefit to patients with the disease.