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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A Tiny, Trash-Talking "Wrestler" is New Mascot for Novartis Carcinoid Tumor Disease Awareness Campaign

A Tiny, Trash-Talking "Wrestler" is New Mascot for Novartis Carcinoid Tumor Disease Awareness Campaign | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Pharma’s newest spokescharacter is a tiny, trash-talking professional wrestler. He’s part of a new disease awareness campaign for carcinoid syndrome from Novartis, created by Klick Health.

The gaudy, spandex-wearing wrestler, like persistent stomach pain and gastrointestinal issues, won’t leave a suffering man alone—punching, kicking and trash-talking him through everyday life. The TV spot, interactive display banners and social media posts direct people to a “What Am I Wrestling With” website that suggests constant sufferers may need to consider a different diagnosis.

The site introduces carcinoid syndrome, a rare condition caused by hormones released by an abnormal growth called a carcinoid tumor. As it notes, carcinoid tumors “are very uncommon and are usually small and slow-growing.” However, the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome include GI issues, such as recurring diarrhea, as well as maladies such as irregular heartbeat, skin flushing and difficult breathing. The site includes a 30-second self-quiz about signs and symptoms.

While the campaign is disease awareness only and doesn’t mention or link to any branded products, Novartis is the maker of Sandostatin LAR, a $1.6 billion seller that's used to treat acromegaly and severe diarrhea and flushing associated with carcinoid syndrome. That drug is facing generic erosion from a slew of companies this year, including Teva, Sun Pharma, Sagent Pharmaceuticals and Wockhardt.

Klick interviewed dozens of people who have the kinds of persistent GI problems the campaign seeks to highlight to check their reaction to the work, from the wrestler TV and banner ads that talk about GI discomfort to a website that raises the possibility of this type of cancer. The agency said it got no negative feedback.

“While it might seem at first blush as a mismatch between tone and the information or the possibility that it ultimately raises, I think we’re bringing more of our own biases or expectations than actually exists in people that are in that dynamic,” Elliot Langerman, chief creative officer at Klick, said in an interview.

Pharma Guy's insight:

I'll have to add him to my "Gallery of Drug Advertising Mascots": http://bit.ly/mascotgallery 

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Four Approaches to Lung Cancer Disease Awareness Marketing

Four Approaches to Lung Cancer Disease Awareness Marketing | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Lung cancer sure seems to receive short shrift within oncology. It claims more lives every year than breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined, yet somehow isn't perceived as life-threatening or “bad” as those other diseases.

 

As witnessed by the very existence of the following campaigns, that's in the process of changing. Each of the approaches is valid and more ambitious than a great majority of the campaigns that preceded them. Here's why they work — and why they matter.

 

#1: Merck: Focuses on the science in Test. Talk. Take Action. The awareness campaign is designed to call attention to treatment options for non-small cell lung cancer.

 

#2: Novartis: Novartis provides the easiest to comprehend immuno-oncology primer to date in Harnessing the Science of Immuno-oncology at Novartis. No, this explainer video isn't specific to lung cancer, but it approaches its mission by employing the widest of wide-tent tactics — cartoons and euphonic narration.

 

#3: Free to Breathe (many pharma corporate partners): Flip to Breathe comes across a bit too similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge, plus the how-to video isn't as clever as its creators might think.

 

#4: Astrazeneca: Tell some stories. The stories land with more impact when they're told by people with skin in the game. [Meanwhile, “Merck’s New Keytruda DTC Ad is a ‘TRU Story’ Told by a Fake Patient (Actor)”; http://sco.lt/6nURcH

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The Biosimilar "Patent Dance" Being Challenged by Novartis in the Supreme Court

The Biosimilar "Patent Dance" Being Challenged by Novartis in the Supreme Court | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

A landmark lawsuit that could allow biosimilars to be launched in the US market more quickly is scheduled to be heard in the Supreme Court in April.

 

The suit has been brought by Novartis and will seek to overturn a US law that requires companies who secure approval for biosimilar drugs wait 180 days before they can commercialise the products. It is being supported by other biosimilar developers including Pfizer's Hospira subsidiary, Celltrion and Mylan.

 

Novartis is appealing an earlier ruling which ordered the company to delay launch of Zarxio, its version of Amgen's white blood cell stimulator Neupogen (filgrastim) and the first biosimilar to be approved in the US. Novartis won approval for Zarxio in March 2015 but was unable to launch until September of that year.

 

The Swiss pharma company has argued that the six-month delay constituted an unwarranted additional period of marketing exclusivity for branded biologic drugs that is unfair for biosimilar developers as well as healthcare payers and patients who have to wait longer for cheaper treatment options.

 

The legal wrangling centres on the interpretation of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA), which created the regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars in the US.

 

Novartis' previous ruling did away with a requirement for biosimilar companies to inform branded product companies of their intentions to seek FDA approval 180 days in advance, which resulted in the so-called 'patent dance', with biosimilars tied up in the courts on patent infringement proceedings. The 180-day post-approval rule was however introduced at the same time.

 

"If not reversed, [the rule] will delay access by patients to all biosimilars for six months longer than Congress intended," said Novartis in a petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the case.

 

The Supreme Court will also hear an appeal by Amgen, which argues that brand name companies should be able to access a copy of the biosimilar marketing application dossier after approval. This was previously required but was overturned in the earlier Zarxio ruling.

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Pharma Marketing Blog: Novartis Respects the Patient Perspective and Pays for It Too! But Is It Absolutely Transparent?

Pharma Marketing Blog: Novartis Respects the Patient Perspective and Pays for It Too! But Is It Absolutely Transparent? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

On Patientpower.eu, David Palacios, Head of Global Patient Relations, and Sanja Njegic, Head of Patient Advocacy & Relations in Europe at Novartis, explain how their company has moved from working with doctors and payers to working directly with patients. The interview was recorded at Eyeforpharma Barcelona 2016.

“We developed last year what we call the 'patient declaration,' which is a public statement about what patients can expect from us,” said Palacios. “It is an internal and external commitment. By having this document everybody in the company needs to work seriously to honor what we said in the patient declaration. That has triggered a lot of discussion internally.”

Some of that discussion must have been around "transparency" with regard to compensating patients -- especially patient bloggers and patient advocates -- for their opinion, much like pharma has traditionally paid physician Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) for their opinions. Did that discussion result in any relevant disclosure in the "patient declaration?

 

Find out here.

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Pharma Guy's curator insight, July 23, 2016 9:40 AM

Back in 2013, the U.S. Justice Department  filed a civil false claims lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. involving alleged kickbacks paid by the company to health care providers (read the details here).

DOJ claims that Novartis violated the Anti-Kickback Statute by paying doctors to speak about certain drugs, including its hypertension drugs Lotrel and Valturna and its diabetes drug Starlix, at events that were often little or nothing more than social occasions for the doctors. 


Many speaker programs were held in circumstances in which it would have been "virtually impossible for any presentation to be made, such as on fishing trips off the Florida coast," the suit claims.

"Other Novartis events were held at Hooters restaurants."

 

Read "Novartis Wines -- er, Beers -- and Dines Docs at Hooters!"; http://bit.ly/PMBalbum042713

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The Dog-Eat-Dog-Eat-Dog World of Biosimilars!

The Dog-Eat-Dog-Eat-Dog World of Biosimilars! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Amgen took one step closer to approval for its biosimilar of the world’s biggest-selling drug last night, but analysts don’t see it hitting the market this side of 2020 as a bitter patent battle continues.

 

The FDA advisory voted 26-0 that its version of AbbVie’s ($ABBV) Humira (adalimumab), currently known as ABP 501, should be approved along the same lines as the original drug--which includes licenses for rheumatoid arthritis and plaque psoriasis, as well as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC).

 

Humira makes around $14 billion (with $8.4 billion made in the U.S.) a year and depending on how Amgen decides to price its copy (typically in Europe biosims are around 25% cheaper than the original), it could be set to eventually take a fair chunk of that away.

 

So, champagne corks popping at Amgen? Not quite, as even if, as expected, it gains full approval for all indications this year, it will likely not be launching its drug until 2022 if AbbVie has anything to do with it.

 

That’s because the two have locked horns in an increasingly bitter patent war, as AbbVie believes it has another 6 years of legal protection before anyone can release a biosimilar version. The dispute is still ongoing in the courts.

 

But in a reverse of fortune, Amgen is in fact today playing the role of AbbVie as the FDA panel turns its attentions to a biosimilar version of its blockbuster drug Enbrel (etanercept), which is indicated for rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic autoimmune conditions.

 

Novartis is seeking an approval for its Enbrel copy GP2015, which FDA staffers have already said in documents posted on the agency’s site this week is “highly similar” to its reference product, and the five licenses Enbrel has. The panel will meet today to discuss whether it too should recommend approval.

 

But guess what? In a familiar sounding scenario, Amgen is suing Novartis’ generic and biosimilar unit Sandoz on the grounds that its biosimilar infringes several of Enbrel's patents, so any launch could also be delayed.

 

And Amgen was in fact the first to succumb to biological copies in the U.S. when, just over a year ago, the FDA approved its first biosim in the form of Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz) from Sandoz--a biosimilar of Amgen's chemotherapy side effects drug Neupogen (filgrastim).

 

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Tomorrow, Tomorrow, After DTC, Sales Will Come for Entresto, Bet Your Bottom Dollar!

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, After DTC, Sales Will Come for Entresto, Bet Your Bottom Dollar! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Novartis said it expects Entresto, its slow-to-take heart-failure medication, to generate $200 million in sales in 2016 as it kicks off a DTC campaign to help drive awareness of the drug.

The spot is called Tomorrow and features Entresto users going about their daily routines while singing the song Tomorrow from the musical Annie.

During a call with investors, David Epstein, the division head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, said Entresto earned a “modest” $17 million in sales during the first quarter of 2016, but sees significant growth potential in the U.S. for the drug as patient access improves. By the end of 2016, the drugmaker expects Entresto to generate $200 million in revenue.

“The first quarter was going to be tackling access barriers, which we accomplished,” Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said during the call. “There still is prior authorization that's slowing some uptake as well as physician reluctance to switch stable patients, but we're working very hard on this and we're still very confident in long-term peak sales of Entresto just given the data on that drug.”

“We're outpacing competition with strong share gains in the psoriasis market,” said Jimenez. “In Germany, we have already bypassed Stelara in terms of market share. And we are on track that before the end of this year, it is quite likely that we could bypass the market share for Humira, which would make Cosentyx the number one biologic brand in the German market.”

Pharma Guy's insight:
Entresto sales'll come tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sales
Just thinkin' about DTC tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow till there's none
When I'm stuck with a day that's gray and lonely
I just stick out my chin and grin and say
The sales'll come tomorrow, after DTC
So you got to hang on till tomorrow, came what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow
You're always a DTC ad away
 
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U.S. Seeks Records of 80,000 Novartis `Sham' Events for Doctors

U.S. Seeks Records of 80,000 Novartis `Sham' Events for Doctors | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The U.S. is asking Novartis AG to provide records of about 80,000 “sham” events in which the government says doctors were wined and dined so they would prescribe the company’s cardiovascular drugs to their patients.


The Swiss drugmaker and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney are engaged in a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleges Novartis provided illegal kickbacks to health-care providers through bogus educational programs at high-end restaurants and sports bars where the drugs were barely discussed.


In a filing Friday, the U.S. said it needs Novartis to provide information to support its allegation that the company defrauded federal health-care programs of hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade by inducing doctors to prescribe its medications through sham speaker events.


“The requested documents go to the core issues in this case: whether educational materials were provided at these events; which doctors actually attended the events; how much money was spent on meals and honoraria; and indeed, most fundamentally, whether the underlying documentation shows that a particular event actually took place,” the government said in its court filing.


Last year Novartis agreed to pay $390 million to settle a lawsuit in which the U.S. government claimed the Swiss company paid kickbacks to pharmacies to boost sales of some of its prescription drugs. The company neither admitted nor denied liability.


The case is U.S. v. Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp., 11-CV-0071, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Pharma Guy's insight:

Back in 2013, the U.S. Justice Department  filed a civil false claims lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. involving alleged kickbacks paid by the company to health care providers (read the details here).

DOJ claims that Novartis violated the Anti-Kickback Statute by paying doctors to speak about certain drugs, including its hypertension drugs Lotrel and Valturna and its diabetes drug Starlix, at events that were often little or nothing more than social occasions for the doctors. 


Many speaker programs were held in circumstances in which it would have been "virtually impossible for any presentation to be made, such as on fishing trips off the Florida coast," the suit claims.

"Other Novartis events were held at Hooters restaurants."

 

Read "Novartis Wines -- er, Beers -- and Dines Docs at Hooters!"; http://bit.ly/PMBalbum042713 

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All We Have to Fear is... Scary #Pharma Disease Awareness Ads!

All We Have to Fear is... Scary #Pharma Disease Awareness Ads! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Novartis may have just handed the many critics of pharmaceutical advertising a gift.


The drug maker is running a promotional campaign, including a 30-second TV spot, designed to raise awareness of heart failure. But the campaign, which features a man blissfully sitting in an easy chair while water quickly fills his living room, is being called “alarmist,” “terrifying” and “shameful” by heart specialists, according to CardioBrief.


The TV ad does have an ominous feel to it. As water rises, a voice warns that “heart failure is always on the rise. Symptoms worsen because your heart isn’t pumping well. About 50 percent of people die within five years of getting diagnosed. But there’s something you can do. Talk to your doctor about heart failure treatment options. Because the more you know, the more likely you are to keep pumping.”


The controversy arises just three months after the American Medical Association called for a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines. In reaching its decision, the professional society argued that the advertising is designed to generate demand for new and expensive drugs, which may not be necessary.


One marketing expert believes Novartis is making a mistake.

“Scaring consumers is precisely the goal of this and many other disease awareness ads,” said John Mack, who publishes Pharma Marketing News. “Novartis should pull the ad because it is getting some negative feedback from prominent physicians.


“This is not the time to give the AMA more ammunition to use in its campaign to ban all prescription drug DTC advertising. With all the so-called talented ad agencies out there, I’m sure they can come up with a more creative, less scary, and just-as-effective replacement ad.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

Not everyone agreed, though, that the campaign is off the mark. “I think this (ad) is very well done,” said Richard Meyer, a pharmaceutical marketing consultant who writes The World of DTC Marketing blog. “It is helping patients become more empowered by learning about heart failure.  I can’t see any patients running to the doctor to say ‘I have heart failure.’ Rather, it provides information something that most doctors don’t do.”

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Novartis’ Pharma CEO Says Today's "Strange" Drug Payment Model "Cannot Exist in the Future"

Novartis’ Pharma CEO Says Today's "Strange" Drug Payment Model "Cannot Exist in the Future" | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Keynote speaker David Epstein, CEO of Pharmaceuticals, Novartis sat down with eyeforpharma for an exclusive one-to-one in which he revealed what the future holds for Novartis. 

In a wide ranging interview David addressed the importance of inspirational leadership, brand reputation and patient centricity. You can see David’s complete insights by clicking here http://goo.gl/oG8b5V 

Hear how Novartis delve into: 

• The company’s future direction: Why culture, coaching and innovation are priority 
• What’s next since the public patient declaration and why this is only the beginning 
• Novartis’ approach to embedding inspirational leadership across the business

Pharma Guy's insight:

Epstein said:

"...you only want the right patients treated. After all, fundamentally, we have a strange industry. If you go shopping, buy a shirt, and find it’s wrong, what do you do? Take it back and exchange it. If you don’t like a product, you get your money back. In our industry, our drugs work perhaps 30 or 40% of the time: patients have consumed it, buyers have paid for it, but people can have side effects and are getting no benefit. However, that model cannot exist in the future. We are one of the few industries on this route, and we need to move towards more risk sharing. You need to do the digital stuff and the real world evidence stuff in partnership with payers to make that happen. Patients need to contribute by being more compliant."


Speaking of paying for Novartis drugs, you might be interested in reading this: "A Patient Journey Story Pharma Wishes Wasn't Told"; http://bit.ly/1Fx2jfb 

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A Patient Journey Story Pharma Wishes Wasn't Told

A Patient Journey Story Pharma Wishes Wasn't Told | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Attend any pharma marketing  conference these days and most likely you will hear these buzzwords: "storytelling" and "patient journey."

For example, at iPharma 2015, Brandon Graham, Chief Creative Officer, EUXmedia, talked about "storytelling" and the "patient journey" and how to effectively use video to follow a typical patient in their "journey" from pre-diagnosis through therapy (read more about that here).

I hate to tell you this, but the news media does a much better job following Graham's advice than any pharma company I know. But media stories more often than not portray pharma as the villain, not the shinning knight that rides in to save the damsel in distress!

Take, for example, last night's NBC Nightly News story about Lauren Baumann, a cancer patient who manages her chronic myeloid leukemia by taking Gleevec, a medicine developed by Novartis (after much pushing & shoving by cancer patient advocates -- but that's another story).

What's her story? Why was it told on national TV? And what should have been done to prevent the story in the first place?


Read more here: http://bit.ly/1Fx2jfb

Pharma Guy's insight:


After seeing this story, I want to kill Novartis (in a Supreme Court kind of way, not literally).

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Novartis Must Face a Kickback Lawsuit Filed by DOJ Over Sham Speaker Events at Smith & Wollensky & Hooters!

Novartis Must Face a Kickback Lawsuit Filed by DOJ Over Sham Speaker Events at Smith & Wollensky & Hooters! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
A federal judge has ruled that Novartis must face a lawsuit in which the U.S. Department of Justice charged the drug maker with paying millions of dollars in kickbacks to physicians – including numerous lavish dinners – in order to persuade them to prescribe its medicines.


In the lawsuit, the feds maintain that Novartis boosted prescriptions by orchestrating “sham” speaker events, some of which were held at expensive restaurants, sports bars and fishing venues, where little or no direct connection to its drugs were discussed, according to court documents. And the drug maker allegedly paid various doctors to make the same presentation to the same group of doctors over a short period of time.


As an example, the lawsuit cites a July 2005 dinner at Smith & Wollensky in Washington, D.C., for $2,016 for three people, or $672 per person. There was also a May 2006 dinner at Nobu in New York, where a doctor was paid to speak, but only the physician, two of his friends – one of whom brought a girlfriend who was not a health care professional – and a Novartis sales reps had attended.


The lawsuit explains “in detail why the speaker events were shams and how they served as a vehicle for kickbacks,” U.S. District Court Judge Paul Gardephe wrote in a 90-page ruling. “Novartis has cited no case demonstrating that the government entities’ pleading of particular false claims is deficient.”


Pharma Guy's insight:


Smith & Wollensky wasn't the only restaurant Novartis treated Docs to. Novartis also Wined -- er, Beered -- and Dined Docs at Hooters! LOL!

 

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Novartis Must Reveal Details of Alleged 79,200 “Sham” Physician Speaker Events

Novartis Must Reveal Details of Alleged 79,200 “Sham” Physician Speaker Events | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

After a year-long battle, a federal judge ordered Novartis to turn over to the Department Justice documents containing details of allegedly 79,200 “sham” speaking events the drug maker used to encourage doctors to prescribe several blood pressure medicines.

 

The decision stems from a whistleblower lawsuit, which was initially filed six years ago by a former Novartis sales rep, contending the drug maker violated federal anti-kickback laws for nearly a decade. The Justice Department later joined the lawsuit, which alleged Novartis paid bribes to boost prescriptions and, as a result, caused federal health care programs to overpay for medicines (read “U.S. Seeks Records of 80,000 Novartis `Sham' Events for Doctors”; http://sco.lt/5PtPkX). 

 

The Justice Department initially received documents from the company about the speaking events, doctors who spoke at or attended the events, and the effect these events had on sales and market share on several blood pressure medicines. The Justice Department last year sought more information about event budgets and incentives that Novartis sales reps received for arranging the events.

 

But the drug maker argued the government was unfairly expanding the scope of its inquiry to a larger number of speaking events and that the request was “extraordinarily burdensome,” according to court documents. However, US District Court Judge Paul Gardephe decided that Novartis failed to prove the feds waived the right to seek documents pertaining to the nearly 80,000 speaking events.

 

The drug maker often treated doctors to expensive dinners at high-end restaurants, according to the documents. In one instance, a dinner for three, including the speaker, at a Washington, D.C., restaurant cost $2,016, or $672 per person. At another event held on Valentine’s Day in 2006, Novartis paid $3,127 for a meal for two at a West Des Moines, Iowa, restaurant.

 

Read "Novartis Wines -- er, Beers -- and Dines Docs at Hooters!"; http://bit.ly/PMBalbum042713

 

Novartis and a former employee are cleared of exaggerating drug claims in Japan

During the 10-year span, Novartis spent more than $65 million and ran more than 38,000 speaker programs for three of its blood pressure drugs. Speakers were paid an average of between $750 and $1,500, although some received $3,000 per program, according to the court documents. The feds also allege that Novartis had few checks on whether sales reps accurately reported attendance.

Pharma Guy's insight:

I love the story about the speaker event Novartis hosted at a Hooter's restaurant. I can only imagine what went on there between the docs and waitress staff! Perhaps the documents will reveal that my imagination is "somewhat vindicated."

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Novartis CEO Worries About the Market for New Drugs in U.S. After Obamacare is Repealed

Novartis CEO Worries About the Market for New Drugs in U.S. After Obamacare is Repealed | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Donald Trump's policies could be good for the economy but Obamacare should be replaced if it's repealed, the CEO of drug giant Novartis told CNBC on Tuesday.

 

Joseph Jimenez played down some of the negative comments that President-elect has made towards large pharma firms. Trump accused the drug industry earlier this month of "getting away with murder" (read “Trump's Comments Are Big Pharma's Nightmare”; http://sco.lt/8QzAsT).

 

But Jimenez said that some of Trump's policies could benefit industry.

 

"Some of the policies that could reignite the economy in the U.S. would be good for this industry and it would be good for jobs."

 

Jimenez urged the Trump administration to consider a replacement for Obamacare.

 

"What's important to us is that all Americans get access to important medicines. The discoveries that are happening right now are amazing. We want to make sure that if the ACA is repealed that it is replaced with something that will ensure that these Americans still have access to the innovative medicines that we are able to launch," Jimenez said.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Trump responds: "Jimenez? Sounds like one of those Mexicans to me!"

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Partial Transparency: 80% of Physicians Paid by Novartis OK with Public Disclosure

Over 80% of doctors and other healthcare professionals who received payments or benefits in kind from Novartis disclosed their data publically in 2015.

 

Novartis is proud of its collaborations. Working together with the NHS, its staff and patient groups is vital for improving outcomes for patients and ensuring they receive the best possible care. Patients benefit from these collaborations with new and improved medicines, better services and care, and clinical teams that have benefited from education.

 

The disclosure of payments to individuals is an industry-led initiative, which Novartis fully supports and has fully complied with by providing the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI) with a list of payments to be published on their common platform, where all pharmaceutical company payments to individuals and healthcare organisations in the UK are listed.

 

Transparency across the public sector, including healthcare, is increasingly being demanded by the general public. Novartis has made every effort to encourage all individuals to disclose details of their payments, and is committed to continuing working with all stakeholders to increase transparency around these relationships.

 

We believe that open communication about these interactions helps foster trust with patients, the NHS, and the public, and we are dedicated to full transparency. We are committed to working with integrity, upholding high ethical standards, and following all laws and regulations.

Pharma Guy's insight:

80% is better than 69%, which is the overall consensus of EU physicians - see"Sun Rises on UK Pharma Payments to HCPs"; http://sco.lt/5MQJqD But one wonders who the remaining 20% are and if they are the ones getting the biggest payments?

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DTC Didn't Work, So Novartis Bumps Up Entresto Physician Marketing by $200M

DTC Didn't Work, So Novartis Bumps Up Entresto Physician Marketing by $200M | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Novartis is significantly boosting its marketing spending — by at least $200 million — for Entresto, a heart-failure drug with blockbuster ambitions and lukewarm sales.

 

“We made the decision to increase spending in the second half of the year significantly versus our original budget,” Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said during the investor call. “This will be to support the U.S. field force primary care buildout as well as additional medical support.”

 

But Entresto hasn't performed as expected. The drug generated $32 million in sales in the second quarter of 2016, up from $17 million in the first quarter of the year. That means the therapy needs to bring in $151 million in sales within six months to meet projections of $200 million for 2016.

 

Novartis believes that marketing to primary-care physicians as well as cardiologists will help solve that problem, in part because primary-care doctors are more familiar than cardiologists when it comes to filling out prior-authorization forms. Primary-care physicians have “have better or more well-developed skills ... that have been on this journey themselves before in helping overcome these barriers,” said Paul Hudson, the new CEO of Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

 

In April, Novartis launched a direct-to-consumer ad campaign for Entresto, which featured seniors singing “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie.” (Read “Tomorrow, Tomorrow, After DTC, Sales Will Come for Entresto, Bet Your Bottom Dollar!”; http://sco.lt/7L6LHl).

It spent $5.5 million to advertise Entresto during the first three months of the year, according to Kantar Media.

 

Novartis has also worked with Greater Than One on the Keep it Pumping campaign, a global social campaign that includes a donate-your-heartbeat app. Greater Than One CEO Elizabeth Izard Apelles described the purpose of the campaign as creating “awareness among people who might not know they have heart problems, and then engaging as many people as possible in the program.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

I assume the lion's share of the extra $200 million will go toward physician marketing and not additional "Tomorrow, tomorrow" direct-to-consumer advertising. So, let's change the song accordingly:

 

Entresto sales'll come tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sales
Just thinkin' about extra sales reps tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow till there's none
When I'm stuck with a day that's gray and lonely
I just stick out my chin and grin and say
The sales'll come tomorrow, after more physician details
So you got to hang on till tomorrow, came what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow
You're always a physician detail away
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#Pharma Disease Awareness Ads Scare You, Branded Drug Ads Reel You In With Calm Music

#Pharma Disease Awareness Ads Scare You, Branded Drug Ads Reel You In With Calm Music | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

I [Bob Ehrlich] was a strong supporter of the Novartis heart failure disease awareness ad. This was the one with the man in the room with water pouring in and filling up the room. It was criticized by some doctors for being alarmist. I never thought so myself, as heart failure is about as serious cause for alarm as there can be.

 

 

The disease ad was a precursor to a branded ad for Entresto, which I can’t stop thinking of as Ernesto. This ad is the polar opposite in tone to the disease education campaign. While the message of preventing heart failure is the same, the branded ad takes an uplifting approach.

 

The ad uses the song from Annie, “Tomorrow” which I guarantee you will sing for at least 24 hours after seeing it. It is a series of patient vignettes where the actors sing parts of the song. The message is that Entresto will help make more tomorrows possible.

 

The disease ad really stopped you in your tracks alerting viewers that heart failure is something to watch out for and act on. While deadly serious in tone, I think it was entirely appropriate. They could have used the same idea for the branded ad but they smartly chose to play up the positives. It is better to promise in the branded campaign hope about living longer than warning about early death.

Pharma Guy's insight:

"What was necessary in the disease ad to get your attention was not the best approach in the branded ad," Ehrlich says. This seems to be a mantra of the drug industry. Boehringer, for example, produced a couple of scary, dark disease awareness videos (read "Another Dark Disease Awareness Youtube Video from Boehringer"; http://sco.lt/5WjHhx).

 

Meanwhile, Novartis hopes uplifting TV ads may sell more Entrestro (read, for example, "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, After DTC, Sales Will Come for Entresto, Bet Your Bottom Dollar!"; http://sco.lt/7L6LHl).

 

Entresto sales'll come tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sales
Just thinkin' about DTC tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow till there's none
When I'm stuck with a day that's gray and lonely
I just stick out my chin and grin and say
The sales'll come tomorrow, after DTC
So you got to hang on till tomorrow, came what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow
You're always a DTC ad away
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New #Pharma Bad Boy: Novartis!

New #Pharma Bad Boy: Novartis! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

An anonymous whistleblower has accused Novartis of paying bribes in Turkey by using a consulting firm to boost the use of its medicines, according to Reuters. The alleged bribes reportedly resulted in $85 million in benefits to Novartis.

 

The firm aided the drug maker by getting medicines added to formularies, or list of medicines that were approved for use in government-run hospitals, according to a 5,000-word email that Reuters reviewed. The consulting firm also helped Novartis avoid price cuts in other countries by winning government approval to change the names of two medicines.

 

This is only the latest instance in which Novartis has confronted charges of paying bribes to boost business.

 

Earlier this week, the drug maker agreed to pay $25 million to settle charges that it violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by making illegal payments to health care providers in China. Last month, South Korean authorities raided Novartis’s offices in search of evidence the company provided bribes to local doctors.

 

In the United States, Novartis is squabbling with the Department of Justice over documents that allegedly contain details of nearly 80,000 “sham” events that the drug maker used to encourage doctors to prescribe several medicines (http://sco.lt/5PtPkX).

 

Last fall, meanwhile, Novartis paid a $390 million settlement over charges of inducing specialty pharmacies to boost prescriptions. This case also was the result of a whistleblower lawsuit.

Pharma Guy's insight:

What's going on with Novartis these days? 

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#Pharma Not Yet Ready for Multi-Channel Marketing, Says Novartis Head of Digital

#Pharma Not Yet Ready for Multi-Channel Marketing, Says Novartis Head of Digital | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Pharma is no stranger to multi-channel marketing (MCM), but, according to Panos Papakonstantinou, Novartis's Head, Digital Commercial, Europe, the industry still needs to perfect its approach to MCM. 

PE: Why is pharma is still trying to get multi-channel marketing right after talking about it for so long?

Panos Papakonstantinou: It may raise some eyebrows and surprise people but the fact is that when we bring multi-channel marketing into a discussion with a view to actually changing the business model, we see that people are conservative in terms of moving ahead as the old model has been working. So I don’t feel there is a burning platform within the pharma industry that is forcing it to re-inventing itself and change its approach.

Other industries such as banking, finance, media, etc, have already gone through this process of change; they had their margins hit and have been pressured by advancing technology and competition. Pharma is not yet feeling that pressure — that’s one of the reasons we’re not seeing the business model changing and why we have pretty much had the same one for the last twenty years, even if the customer is shifting. Change is still is not an absolute priority. We need to ramp things up in the next five years to get ready for it.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Back in 2012, 69% of respondents to a survey by Len Starnes believed that pharma marketing would become de facto multichannel marketing within 5 years. See http://bit.ly/pmn11703h  Fat chance! In any case, "The old model" is indeed working. As one survey respondent said: "it will take turning Pharma marketing and its entire business model on its head - that's where it is getting stuck today...old familiar models, Sales in their DNA, product centric focus - maybe it's safer to do what we've always done?"

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John Grant's curator insight, March 26, 2016 3:36 PM

Back in 2012, 69% of respondents to a survey by Len Starnes believed that pharma marketing would become de facto multichannel marketing within 5 years. See http://bit.ly/pmn11703h  Fat chance! In any case, "The old model" is indeed working. As one survey respondent said: "it will take turning Pharma marketing and its entire business model on its head - that's where it is getting stuck today...old familiar models, Sales in their DNA, product centric focus - maybe it's safer to do what we've always done?"

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#Pharma CEOs Fill in the Drug Pricing Debate "Gaps"

#Pharma CEOs Fill in the Drug Pricing Debate "Gaps" | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
Several factors are being overlooked when discussing drug pricing in the U.S., three pharma CEOs say.


The public is getting overly simple arguments in the debate about drug pricing, three pharma CEOs said Monday.


The issue first took center stage last September when Martin Shkreli, then-CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of a specialty drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill.


Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter said Monday the public is not getting the full picture. "Some of the noise you hear about drug pricing neglects the fact that we often must pay deep discounts in a market-based environment where we're competing in many cases against other alternative therapies, including those low-cost generics," he told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." 


In another interview, Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said "innovation has to continue to be rewarded or we're just not going to be able to see the kind of breakthroughs that we have seen" on cancer research, specifically regarding the uses and benefits of the cancer-fighting drug Gleevec. 


"We continued to show that the drug was valuable in other indications in cancer and so we needed to be reared for that innovation and we're pricing according to that," he told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Monday.

Pharma Guy's insight:

The 3rd CEO is Pfizer's Ian Read who famously who suggested we look at the "other side of the ledger"; http://bit.ly/ianpish 

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One Thing MS Patients Should NOT Expect from #Pharma: Affordable Drug Prices

One Thing MS Patients Should NOT Expect from #Pharma: Affordable Drug Prices | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

I don’t think anything hit home for me as much as MS patients talking about the difficulty in paying for their MS drugs and struggling to cut through the bureaucracy of trying to get financial assistance to help them pay for them.  The worst for me was listening to a woman in her late 40’s talk about how she was going to afford a $17,000 monthly treatment after her $40,000 in her savings was gone.  She had insurance, but her insurer refused to pay for the treatment. When she contacted the biopharma company to ask for financial assistance she was told “she didn’t qualify” because she made too much.


For those who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), perhaps the only thing more shocking than receiving their diagnosis is learning how much the disease modifying drugs (DMDs) used to control it will cost.

Pharma Guy's insight:


Rich Meyer, the author of this piece, ends with this plea: 

So please spare me the self-promotional “we rode for the cause” and find a way to get more patients on therapy who can’t afford it.

Meanwhile, Novartis is hosting an innovating for patients event in Basel and talking a lot about how it understands MS patients. The company even published a pledge to patients titled "What Patients Can Expect from Novartis" (see image). Unfortunately, that pledge does NOT mention affordable drugs.

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Pfizer Imitates FDA in Citing Violative Novartis OTC Ad Claims

Pfizer Imitates FDA in Citing Violative Novartis OTC Ad Claims | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
Pfizer, through the Better Business Bureaus National Advertising Division, disputes that Novartiss Theraflu starts to work in the body in 5 minutes.


Pfizer challenged Novartis's claim through the NAD on the basis that while acetaminophen—one of the ingredients in Theraflu—is found in the bloodstream within five minutes of administration, this doesn't necessarily mean that the drug starts to work within five minutes. Pfizer, which declined comment, counts Theraflu competitors Dimetapp and Robitussin among its consumer offerings.


During two TV spots for Novartis's Theraflu, small print accompanied the challenged claim, noting that it “refers to the availability of acetaminophen in the bloodstream,” according to NAD's case documents.Pfizer contends that this addendum may further mislead consumers into thinking that acetaminophen may alleviate a cough or suppress nasal congestion, although acetaminophen is only approved for use as a fever reducer and pain reliever. The drugmaker also asserts that the burden of proof lies with Novartis and that it “must demonstrate that consumers will begin experiencing relief of their severe cold symptoms within 5 minutes.”

Pharma Guy's insight:


Pfizer's challenge sounds like something the FDA would write in a Warning Letter if FDA regulated over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.

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Why Google and Novartis are teaming up

Why Google and Novartis are teaming up | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
First there was Google Glass. Now, there might be Google contact lenses.


They're working on smart lenses that will be able to monitor blood sugar levels for diabetics through the natural tears in our eyes.  


Google and Novartis also say they’re developing another lens that can auto-focus the eye. It could help with reading, because as the eye ages, it’s harder to see things up close.   


The two companies complement each other pretty well: Google doesn’t need any money from Novartis, while Novartis can help Google navigate the clinical and regulatory side of things.


“They need more the expertise in terms of running clinical trials, getting approval from the FDA, and then marketing after approval,” says John Mack, who follows the pharmaceutical industry as publisher of "Pharma Marketing News."

Pharma Guy's insight:


Just to clarify: Yes, FDA went after pharma companies because of paid Google ads that did not contain relevant risk info and yes, Google encouraged these kinds of ads (google "Girl from Google" to learn more about that). But, as I mentioned to Nancy on the phone (but not quoted here), the real reason Google DEFINITELY can use an FDA go-between is because it was caught in an FDA sting operation soliciting ads from illegal online pharmacies despite its own policy not to accept such ads. FDA posed as an illegal pharmacy in the sting operation. For more on that, read "How FDA, in Cahoots with DOJ, Brought Google Down

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