Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
185.9K views | +33 today
Follow
Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
Curated by Pharma Guy
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Pharma Guy
Scoop.it!

Keytruda Ads Promise a Lot That's Not on the Label

Keytruda Ads Promise a Lot That's Not on the Label | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Recently, during some research, I had the opportunity to talk with a leading Oncologist in the Pittsburg area. I specifically wanted to hear his thoughts on the cancer DTC ads that were airing on TV and he was not happy. “The ads are promising too much . I have patients who are demanding certain treatments even though they don’t meet the criteria for treatment”. He specifically pointed to the Keytruda ad in a magazine (see image).

 

“Now I’m the one who has to explain to a patient that this treatment may not be for them and even if it is I have to try and set realistic expectations” he continued. I asked him if the ads were “too aggressive” to which he replied “absolutely”.

 

“Look, we would love to be able to tell patients that this treatment is going to allow them to live a lot longer, but that’s not what the product label says based on the company’s own clinical data. These ads have to set realistic expectations , but even before that idea they have to be a lot clearer on the criteria to be a candidate for treatment”.

 

John Mack, the Pharmaguy, has been critical of these ads as well (read, for example, “Merck’s New Keytruda DTC Ad is a ‘TRU Story’ Told by a Fake Patient (Actor)”; http://sco.lt/6nURcH), but my feeling has been of they give patients hope then maybe they are OK. That may be the wrong and it could lead to unrealistic expectations and anger for what patients feel are misleading ads.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Pharma Guy
Scoop.it!

Merck’s New Keytruda DTC Ad is a “TRU Story” Told by a Fake Patient (Actor)

Merck’s New Keytruda DTC Ad is a “TRU Story” Told by a Fake Patient (Actor) | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Merck on Monday launched a direct-to-consumer campaign for Keytruda, just months after the drug became the first anti-PD-1 immunotherapy to receive a first-line indication to treat advanced lung cancer.

 

The black- and- white ad tells the story of a woman — an actor portraying a patient — diagnosed with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. She thought her diagnosis meant the start of chemotherapy and would leave her with only months left to live. After finding out that her tumors expressed high levels of the PD-L1 protein, which is a biomarker for Keytruda, she learned she now had a new treatment available to her. She said her scans after treatment with Keytruda showed “good news.”

 

The company has spent an estimated $1.2 million on Keytruda ads Monday and Tuesday for 77 broadcasts, according to iSpot.tv.

 

The ninety-second spot, “Sharon's Tru Story,” likely signals a shift in the drugmaker's marketing strategy, which until now focused on targeting doctors through professional journal ads. Bristol-Myers Squibb in October 2015 launched a DTC campaign for Opdivo, a competing immunotherapy (read “Opdivo TV Ads Educate Patients About the Positive, Not the Negative Trial Data;” http://sco.lt/5OtIdl).

 

[Read “Keytruda v. Opdivo Advertising Channels: Which Reigns Supreme? Direct to Physicians or Direct to Patients?”; http://sco.lt/95gSRt]

 

Merck's new campaign comes at a time when the drugmaker is within reach of pole position over Opdivo, a competing immuno-oncology drug. BMS' bid for using Opdivo in first-line lung cancer was delayed in August after a clinical-trial failure. Merck secured FDA approval for Keytruda in advanced first-line lung-cancer in October.

Pharma Guy's insight:

I thought actors playing patients in drug ads was a thing of the past.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Pharma Guy
Scoop.it!

Keytruda v. Opdivo Advertising Channels: Which Reigns Supreme? Direct to Physicians or Direct to Patients?

Keytruda v. Opdivo Advertising Channels: Which Reigns Supreme? Direct to Physicians or Direct to Patients? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Merck's Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo, for all their similarities, have taken markedly different commercial strategies to selling their immuno-oncology drugs.

 

Merck has spent more than double what Bristol-Myers Squibb has spent on Opdivo to promote Keytruda in professional journals targeting doctors. BMS has chosen a different route, electing to make huge splashes in direct-to-consumer advertising.

 

In the first half of 2016, Keytruda was the thirteenth most advertised brand in professional journals, with Merck doling out more than $2 million to target doctors, according to Kantar Media. During the same time period, Opdivo didn't even break into the top 20 of advertised pharmaceutical brands — Bristol-Myers Squibb spent $863,000 on professional ads for the drug, significantly less than what Merck spent.

 

But that's not to say BMS hasn't promoted Opdivo. The company spent $37 million on DTC ads in the first quarter of 2016 and a total of $125 million advertising the therapy in 2015, while Merck spent only $7.3 million in DTC spending over the same time period. In fact, Bristol-Myers Squibb promoted the drug directly to consumers to such an extent that it came under fire from investors last year.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Pharma Guy
Scoop.it!

Competition Leads to More Spending on Cancer Drug DTC Ads, Which Are Less Effective & More Controversial

Competition Leads to More Spending on Cancer Drug DTC Ads, Which Are Less Effective & More Controversial | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

DTC spending on ads for cancer drugs is a small part of the $5.2 billion the industry as a whole spent in 2015, but as Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck battle for market share in immuno-oncology, that may be changing.

 

From June 2013 to February of this year, pharma companies have spent an estimated $223 million on more than 42,000 airings for DTC cancer-ads for Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo, Merck's Keytruda, Dendreon's Provenge, and Amgen's Neulasta, according to iSpot.tv. At least half of that spending is for Opdivo ads that aired during the last year.

 

Before 2013, when the first Provenge DTC aired, it was unheard of for brands to use direct-to-consumer advertising for oncology drugs. DTC was a marketing play for the blockbuster consumer brands, the Lipitor's and Viagra's of the world.

 

Four years later, there are now two dueling immunotherapy ads on primetime TV promoting Keytruda and Opdivo for certain lung-cancer patients.

 

In 2016 Opdivo generated nearly three times the revenue that Keytruda did, with sales of $3.7 billion, compared to Keytruda's $1.4 billion. In the first nine months of last year, Bristol doled out $108 million in ad spend for Opdivo, while Merck spent $24 million on Keytruda in the same timeframe, according to Kantar Media. Up to this point, Merck had targeted oncologists through professional journal ads — outspending Bristol two-to-one ($2 million vs. $863,000) in the first half of 2016, also according to data from Kantar.

 

Now that Merck kicked off its new campaign, that figure is expected to rise. Merck has its own story to tell for Keytruda, Arnold said. “TV is a great way to tell that story and build that initial awareness, especially with an older population,” he said. “It's expensive. It's a shotgun approach, and it's not very targeted, but we know that it works for awareness.”

 

[However, according to a new study, DTC advertising is less and less effective in driving awareness. For more on that, read “Pharma is Spending More on DTC Advertising But Its Effectiveness is Decreasing, Says New Survey”; http://sco.lt/7XpFsf ]

Pharma Guy's insight:

********

Just Like DTC Ads, Pharma Cancer Drug Websites Emphasize Benefits Over Risks

 

Researchers from the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) and research firm RTI International say that websites for cancer-drugs are ten times more likely to include quantitative information about all the benefits of a drug versus all its risks.

 

More here... http://sco.lt/8soJrV

 

Also read: "Oncologists Say Cancer Drug Advertising Fosters Misinterpretation of Efficacy by Patients"; http://sco.lt/8Imgdd  and " Breakthrough Cancer Therapy DTC Advertising Boldly Emphasizes the Positive"; http://sco.lt/80LqSX 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Pharma Guy
Scoop.it!

Immunotherapy Drugs: A Chance to Live Longer or Die from Myriad Side Effects

Immunotherapy Drugs: A Chance to Live Longer or Die from Myriad Side Effects | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

So-called immunotherapy drugs [e.g., Opdivo, Yervoy, Ketruda] have been hailed as a breakthrough in cancer treatment, attracting billions of research dollars and offering new hope to patients out of options. But as their use grows, doctors are finding that they pose serious risks that stem from the very thing that makes them effective. An unleashed immune system can attack healthy, vital organs: notably the bowel, the liver and the lungs, but also the kidneys, the adrenal and pituitary glands, the pancreas and, in rare cases, the heart.

 

Doctors at Yale believe immunotherapy is causing a new type of acute-onset diabetes, with at least 17 cases there so far, Mr. Peal’s among them. In cancer clinics around the world, and in drug trials, myriad other side effects are showing up. Studies are finding that severe reactions occur nearly 20 percent of the time with certain drugs, and in more than half of patients when some drugs are used in combination.

 

Another recent paper found that 30 percent of patients experienced “interesting, rare or unexpected side effects,” with a quarter of the reactions described as severe, life-threatening or requiring hospitalization. Some patients have died, including five in recent months in clinical trials of a new immunotherapy drug being tested by Juno Therapeutics Inc.

 

“We are playing with fire,” said Dr. John Timmerman, an oncologist and immunotherapy researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, who recently lost a patient to side effects. The woman’s immunotherapy drugs had successfully “melted away” her cancer, he said, but some weeks later, she got cold and flulike symptoms and died in the emergency room from an inflammatory response that Dr. Timmerman described as “a mass riot, an uprising” of her immune system.

 

“We’ve heard about immunotherapy as God’s gift, the chosen elixir, the cure for cancer,” he said. “We haven’t heard much about the collateral damage.”

 

Despite the warnings, physicians like Dr. Timmerman remain hugely supportive of drugs that are saving the lives of people who would otherwise die. Far better to cope with diabetes, hepatitis or arthritis, the thinking goes, than to die. Most reactions are not nearly so bad and are treatable.

 

The rub, doctors and researchers say, is that the medical system — from front-line nurses to oncologists to emergency rooms — is too often caught off guard. This is happening for a number of reasons: The drugs are new, so many side effects just have not been seen. Symptoms appear at random, sometimes months after treatment, and can initially seem innocuous. Finally, oncologists are now trying to treat patients with a combination of two or more immunotherapy drugs, hoping for more effective treatment but sometimes getting amplified risks.

 

In the meantime, these drugs are moving from academic centers into cancer clinics across the country, where oncologists in smaller cities most likely have less experience with the side effects.

 

And with lives to be saved and billions of dollars to be made — $250,000 or more is the list price for a year of some regimens — not enough research has been done into the risks of the new therapies, said William Murphy, a professor of dermatology at the University of California, Davis, who reviews immunotherapy-related grants for the government.

 

It is “a massively understudied area,” Dr. Murphy said, adding: “The No. 1 priority is anti-tumor effects. Everything else, however severe, is considered the price worth paying.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

Additional Reading:

  • “Opdivo TV Ads Educate Patients About the Positive, Not the Negative Trial Data;” http://sco.lt/5OtIdl
  • “Oncologists Say Cancer Drug Advertising Fosters Misinterpretation of Efficacy by Patients”; http://sco.lt/8Imgdd
  • “Opdivo Puts BMS Way Ahead in Revenue Generated by New Drug Sales”; http://sco.lt/5MWTVh
more...
No comment yet.