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Industry News Update: 4/6

This week in pharma:

  • Arbor took a novel marketing approach by recruiting former NBA basketball star Shaquille O’Neal as the face of the longtime heart failure drug BiDil. BiDil was approved specifically for the African American population with heart failure back in 2005. Arbor partnered with Shaq to gain more momentum for the drug and “close the gap… to mobilize patients and mobilize caregivers.”

  • Bayer recently reported that they had successfully contained a cyber attack that occurred in 2018. This news comes almost two years after the infamous attack on Merck that cost the company nearly 1 billion dollars. Fortunately, Bayer has reported that they have no evidence of any data being compromised or stolen. Since the Merck attack and various cyber crimes committed against European pharma companies, there has a been a marketwide shift towards enhanced cyber security.

  • Following a Trump proposal last year, Johnson & Johnson has released the first television advertisement to contain a medication’s list price. Although the proposal has yet to be passed, J&J announced they would be utilizing the proposed guidelines to market their most popular drug, Xarelto. They have altered their pre-existing ads to include the list price and typical out-of-pocket costs to the ends of each ad. This comes a week after J&J and Bayer’s $775 million Xarelto settlement to resolve roughly 25000 cases of severe and sometimes fatal bleeding events.

  • Novartis sued Amgen for trying to end their partnership after their collaborative launch of AIMOVIG, a CGRP migraine prevention drug. On Thursday, April 4, Novartis sued Amgen in Manhattan federal court for backing out of their deal. As a result, Amgen sued Novartis in retaliation and reported that Novartis was in violation of their contract when they helped Alder BioPharmaceuticals bring the drug’s competitor to market. Novartis claimed they only have a contract manufacturing deal to produce Alder BioPharmaceutical’s drug, and is still within the contract terms. With the ‘overwhelming’ interest in Aimovig by patients and healthcare providers, it will be interesting to see which company comes out on top.

  • Although Scott Gottlieb is departing from his position as FDA chief, he told The Washington Post that he is not abandoning the industry and what he stands for. Gottlieb announced that he plans to take a fellowship with American Enterprise Institute and carry on his fight for lower prices and quicker approval for biologic products. Gottlieb’s first order of business is to simplify the biosimilar FDA approval pathway in order to approve “insulin products that can be substituted at the pharmacy level.” Hopefully, his work in the private sector will carry on the legacy he left at the FDA.

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