Five things for pharma marketers to know: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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1. The FDA granted accelerated approval to Merck's immuno-oncology drug Keytruda as a treatment for patients whose cancers have a specific biomarker — tumors with microsatellite instability-high or mismatch repair deficient. This is the first time the agency has approved a cancer treatment based solely on a specific genetic feature rather than a tumor's location.

2. Alexion's sales reps were reportedly so aggressive in selling its rare-disease drug Soliris that their tactics would often cross ethical lines, according to unnamed sources. Alexion announced Tuesday that several executives including its chief commercial officer would step down. (Bloomberg)

3. The nation's five biggest insurers — Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Humana, and UnitedHealth Group — saw $4.5 billion in total combined profits for the first three months of 2017. This is the most profit reported by the insurers since the Affordable Care Act exchanges were established in 2014. (Axios)

4. The CEOs of many healthcare companies are staying silent about the American Health Care Act, instead using lobbying groups like  America's Health Insurance Plans and the American Hospital Association to try and influence the bill. (Modern Healthcare)

5. An FDA advisory committee is scheduled to meet today to discuss whether to recommend Puma Biotechnology's experimental breast-cancer drug neratinib. (MM&M)

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