Five things for pharma marketers to know: Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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Roche's immunotherapy Tecentriq, when combined with a Abraxane-based chemo, decreased the risk of disease worsening or death compared to chemo alone in first-line patients with advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer. The results from the late-stage study represent a significant step forward in the company's bid to win FDA approval for an immunotherapy combination against NSCLC lung cancer, an indication that could add billions a year to its bottom line. (Endpoints)

In a speech in New Hampshire yesterday, President Trump spoke about using federal prosecutors to sue opioid makers. "Our Department of Justice is looking very seriously at bringing major litigation against some of these drug companies," Trump said. "We'll bring it at a federal level." Stocks of three major opioid produces --  Endo International, Depomed, and Mallinckrodt -- slumped on the news. (CNBC)

Trump also vowed to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. The president said he'd release new proposals in a month. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the measures will focus on “how we decrease the price of drugs and how we bring discounts that the middlemen right now are getting, how those will go to our patients.” (Reuters)

Why pharmacy benefit managers don't miss earnings. Axios got its hands on a contract template used by Express Scripts, the largest PBM in the U.S. The 36-page document includes a variety of provisions written to maximize the PBM's financial interests, including collecting rebate-like fees from drug companies for itself and keeping the difference between brand-drug discounts and generic-drug discounts. (Axios)

The FDA will study how doctors and consumers perceive pharma ads. The agency is conducting research on how healthcare professionals view pharma promotions, and how these promotional materials affect their decision making. A separate study will test the effects of disease awareness ads on consumer perception and understanding of direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads. (MM&M)

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