Five things for pharma marketers to know: Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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Pharmaceutical companies spent $6.1 billion on direct-to-consumer ads last year, a 4.6% dip from 2016, according to data from Kantar Media. Four of the top five pharma companies by DTC ad spend tightened their budgets last year. Eli Lilly was the exception, upping DTC ad spending by 21.2% to $480 million. (MM&M)

Longtime Gilead research and development chief Norbert Bischofberger is leaving the company. He is set to depart in April. The drugmaker plans to replace Bischofberger with John McHutchison, EVP of clinical research. (Endpoints)

UnitedHealth has named former GlaxoSmithKline chief Andrew Witty as CEO of Optum, its pharmacy benefit unit. The appointment will be effective on July 1. Current Optum chief executive Larry Renfro will lead the group's investment initiatives. (Reuters)

Novartis has appointed chief digital officer Bertrand Bodson to its executive committee. He joined the company in January. Meanwhile, Novartis president of operations Andre Wyss has stepped down from the body and will leave the company. (pharmaphorum)

Generic blood thinners are as good at preventing platelets from clumping as the brand-name drug Plavix, according to a study. (Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes) “This large and real-world study should be reassuring to physicians and healthcare organizations who have been concerned about changing what is prescribed," said lead study author Dennis Ko. (Medical Xpress)

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