Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, March 30, 2018

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Walmart and Humana have started acquisition talks.
This comes about a year after Humana's planned merger with Aetna was blocked by the Justice Department. The deal would be another in a series of blockbuster healthcare partnerships, following the Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/ JPMorgan Chase venture and the proposed CVS/Aetna merger. (Wall Street Journal)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield says opioids should not be the first treatment option to manage pain. The insurer will instead promote over-the-counter alternatives like ibuprofen and acetaminophen as well as medication-assisted treatment. (Modern Healthcare)

Pfizer's rare heart disease drug, tafamidis, succeeded in a late-stage study. The drug treats transthyretin cardiomyopathy, a rare disease associated with progressive heart failure. It would be the first approved treatment for the disease. (CNBC)

CDC director claims that the U.S. could end the AIDS epidemic within seven years. On his second day as director, Dr. Robert Redfield, a former AIDS researcher, told staff health officials have the tools they need to prevent the spread of HIV. “I think it could be done in the next three to seven years, if we put our mind to it,” he said. (STAT)

Former CVS Caremark executive Daniel Best picked to advise HHS on lowering drug prices. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar chose Best to serve as his senior adviser for drug pricing reform. Best was previously VP of industry relations for CVS's Medicare Part D business. (The Hill)

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