1. A survey conducted by Leerink analysts found that cardiologists will prescribe cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 inhibitors, like Amgen’s Repatha and Sanofi’s Praluent, if the drugs can prove they lower the risk of heart attack and stroke by at least 20%. Both drugmakers are currently conducting trials to measure if they improve cardiovascular outcomes. (Stat)
2. Pharma ad spending rose to an all-time high in 2015, reaching $5.6 billion. There were seven brand launches in 2015, according to Kantar Media, which contributed to the 10% rise in spend from 2014 to 2015.
3. A FDA panel unanimously voted to support the approval of Intercept Pharmaceuticals’ experimental drug, obeticholic acid, which treats a liver disorder known as primary biliary cirrhosis. The disease can eventually lead to complications that require a liver transplant. (WSJ)
4. Sen. Mark Montigny (D-MA) said supporters of a bill he proposed — that would introduce price caps on certain prescription drugs — are mulling over alternative measures to bring down costs. The legislation would force drugmakers to disclose how much they spend on research, manufacturing, and marketing. Detractors say drugmakers shouldn’t be forced to give up proprietary information in the name of transparency. (Boston Globe)
5. Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca will continue a Phase-III trial for an experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug, AZD3298. An independent data monitoring committee cleared the study to continue without any changes after an safety analysis.