Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Secret Internal Sales Documents Reveal Abbott's Despicable "Crusade" to Sell OxyContin

Secret Internal Sales Documents Reveal Abbott's Despicable "Crusade" to Sell OxyContin | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Sales reps were trying to get through to a doctor to prescribe their potent painkiller. But he wasn’t taking their calls. Then his staff tipped them off: The doctor liked sweets. So they lined a box with doughnuts and snack cakes arranged to spell out the word “OxyContin” and dropped it off at his office. The gambit worked: The surgeon listened to the sales talk. Each week after that, the sales reps were back, asking him to switch more patients to OxyContin.

 

That’s one scene described in a trove of internal documents from Abbott Pharmaceuticals that STAT reporter David Armstrong uncovered in West Virginia. They show how Abbott sales representatives, under a boss who called himself the “King of Pain,” wooed doctors across the country with free meals, free books — and misleading information that downplayed the risk of addiction and had no basis in science. With Abbott's help, OxyContin became a billion-dollar blockbuster — and one of the most abused prescription opioids in the country.

Pharma Guy's insight:

“Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”; http://sco.lt/6wb24f

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We are one step closer to a new generation of cheaper drugs

We are one step closer to a new generation of cheaper drugs | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
And Obamacare paved the way.


With the high cost of specialty drugs capturing so many headlines these days, here's a bit of a change of pace: A new wave of cheaper drugs marked a major milestone Thursday.


The Food and Drug and Administration for the first time has accepted an application for a copycat version of what's known as a biologic, which is a complex drug made from proteins of living organisms. These biologics are cutting-edge therapies that can be more effective than regular drugs made from chemicals — and, not surprisingly, they also can be expensive. For example, some biologics to combat rheumatoid arthritis, a disease affecting about 1 percent of the adult population, can cost more than $5,000 a week.


While cheaper generics now dominate the U.S. market for traditional drugs, accounting for about 85 percent of all prescriptions, you still can't get another version of biologic drugs in this country. That's about to change, though, because of a provision included in the Affordable Care Act that provides a pathway for copycat biologics, known as biosimilars, to enter the U.S. market.


The biosimilars' potential for savings in the United States seems to be pretty huge. The pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, which has actively advocated for more rapid adoption of biosimilars, estimates that the United States would save $250 billion in health-care spending over the next decade if just 11 biologics had biosimilar alternatives.


Thursday's FDA application from Sandoz is just the first step. The company, which already markets its biosimilar in 40 countries, could gain final FDA approval as early as the first quarter of 2015, according to the Avalare Health consulting firm. With so much concern from health-care payers over a projected rise in U.S. drug spending in the next few years, the development of domestic biosimilar market is something worth watching

Pharma Guy's insight:


Sandoz is the generics division of Novartis. Other pharma companies are fighting tooth and nail to keep biosimilars off the market in the U.S.:..


... such as Abbott's April 2, 2012 citizen's petition against FDA approval of biosimilars (read more about that and find a copy of the petition here: "Abbott Labs Petitions FDA to Disallow Biosimilars"). 

"If the challenge succeeds," says WSJ, "less-expensive versions of complex biologic drugs couldn't go on sale in the U.S. for years, and consumers may never have access to facsimiles of existing treatments such as Abbott's rheumatoid arthritis therapy Humira, which had $3.4 billion in U.S. sales last year and is projected to be the world's No. 1-selling drug this year."


NOTE: Humira topped the list of most advertised brands in 2013. See 

The Top 20 DTC Ad Spenders in 2013 Virtually Ignored Digital
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