Five things for pharma marketers to know: Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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President Donald Trump's prediction that drugmakers would drop prices within two weeks of the release of his drug pricing plan isn't coming true
. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar lowered expectations that drug prices would drop quickly but told a Senate committee that “several drug companies that are looking at substantial, material decreases in drug prices.” However, he indicated it would take time for prices to drop. (Politico)

Azar also said that he backs affordable insurance for those with preexisting conditions, in a statement seen to be in conflict with the Trump administration's decision this week to stop defending the Affordable Care Act in court. (Washington Post) In the Senate hearing, Azar also doubled down on the administration's pressure on drug middlemen and suggested moving away from a system of rebates (CNBC).

There's also speculation that Amazon could lower drug prices if it gets into the prescription drug business and brings more transparency to the pricing system by serving as a market hub that lists drug prices at different pharmacies. Amazon is pursuing direct sales of medical devices to consumers, and some experts think it could consider selling prescriptions next. (Forbes)

Demand for nurse practitioners has surged as retailers have formed closer ties to health insurances companies making the occupation the third-most-in-demand category of physicians. Many retailers, such as CVS or Walgreens, are staffed by nurse practitioners. (Forbes)

Stryker has denied it is in talks to take over Boston Scientific. Two days after The Wall Street Journal reported that Stryker had made an offer for Boston Scientific, Stryker indicated in a regulatory filing that it did not approach the company about a potential acquisition. (CNBC)

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