Industry Briefs May 2017

Group Aims to Decrease Stuttering Stigma

Millions of Americans who stutter live within a “vocal prison,” according to the American Institute of Stuttering (AIS), which recently held its first National Stuttering Awareness week. Their goal is to raise awareness of stuttering to destigmatize the condition and help those who see stuttering as a joke or a reason to bully to become more empathetic. The AIS wants people to understand that stutters are not minor hindrances, but they can negatively affect a person’s entire life. Those with a stutter have nothing to feel ashamed of and are encouraged to follow in the footsteps of the many successful “escapees of the vocal prison,” including Ed Sheeran, Bruce Willis, Joe Biden, and more. Early intervention, therapy, and other support resources are available through the AIS.

Are Drugmaker Pricing and Rebates Connected?

The level of rebates and discounts manufacturers negotiate with the pharmacy benefit managers has no correlation with the prices drugmakers set, according to a new study by Visante. The data shows that drugmakers will increase prices regardless of rebate status. Despite these results, the study did also imply that a noticeable amount of lower-than-average price increases in drug categories in which manufacturers negotiate relatively high rebates occurs. “This study debunks the notion that the prices drugmakers set are contingent on the rebates they negotiate with PBMs,” says PCMA President and CEO, Mark Merritt. “Ironically, many higher priced drugs involve little or no such rebates.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb Heads to the Supreme Court

Photo Credit: ShutterstockThe Supreme Court heard Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California in order to determine if plaintiffs may sue in a state that has no particular connection to them, but has significant connection to the defendant. Bristol-Myers operates nationwide and is contesting the California State Court’s decision to side with 700 plaintiffs from 33 different states, who are suing the drugmaker for manufacturing a defective anticoagulant. The drug was manufactured in New Jersey and has only limited connection to California (86 plaintiffs are residents of California), allowing Bristol-Myers to argue that the California court lacks power to adjudicate this case since the company’s conduct in California is not causally connected to the plaintiffs’ injuries.

The state’s decision was based on its general jurisdiction over the company. After an appeal from Bristol-Myers, the California court then ruled that it had specific jurisdiction rather than general, again asserting that it could adjudicate the out-of-state plaintiffs’ claims. After failing twice at the state level, Bristol-Myers Squibb has appealed to the Supreme Court and can expect a ruling sometime in June.

Novartis to Pay $50 Million in South Korea Bribery Fine

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Novartis is under investigation for bribing doctors in South Korea to boost sales of certain drugs. Now, Korea’s Ministry of Health & Welfare has fined the drugmaker $50 million and suspended reimbursement of Exelon and Zometa. The company’s cancer medication, Glivec, was also set to be suspended, but the ministry feared it would leave 3,000 to 5,000 chronic myeloid leukemia patients with no other treatment options. The decision comes a year after South Korean officials raided Novartis offices and indicted six execs, more than a dozen doctors, and five medical journal heads. They found that the company’s employees provided approximately $2.3 million in unlawful kickbacks. Novartis is facing similar problems in Greece and Turkey.

Migraines As Art

Allergan is asking those who suffer from migraines to create artwork that depicts their physical and emotional experiences to raise awareness of the crippling symptoms of the condition. The “Frames of Mind” movement aims to get patients actively involved by asking artists to email high-resolution photos of their work for display at the annual American Headache Society meeting in Boston this June, as well as on Allergan’s Chronic Migraine Facebook page.

New Study on Restricted Sales Rep Visits

Academic medical centers (AMCs) that implemented polices restricting pharma sales rep visits to physicians saw modest but significant reductions in the number of prescriptions written for detailed drugs across six of eight major drug classes, according to a new study published by JAMA. However, changes were not seen in all of the AMCs that enacted these kind of policies.

The study examined a number of the AMCs that implemented polices restricting sales rep access between 2006 and 2012. The researchers compared changes in prescribing by physicians 10 to 36 months before and 12 to 36 months after implementation of detailing policies at AMCs in five states. They found that enactment of detailing restrictions at AMCs was associated with a decrease in the prescribing of detailed drugs of 1.67 percentage points of market share, and an increase in prescribing of non-detailed drugs of 0.84 percentage points.

QuintilesIMS Allies With SalesForce

To move treatments more efficiently and effectively from molecule to market, QuintilesIMS will use its information technology services with SalesForce’s Intelligent Customer Success Platform. QuintilesIMS will build new solutions on the SalesForce Platform using built-in cloud, mobile, social, and artificial intelligence capabilities. These devices aim to help life sciences companies better manage clinical trials, accelerate patient recruitment, improve efficiency and effectiveness of marketing activities, as well as achieve other key commercial objectives as they bring new therapies to market and beyond. Kevin Knightly, President, Information & Technology Solutions at QuintilesIMS says, “We believe this alliance with SalesForce has transformative potential for the life sciences industry as it will better equip and enable our customers to meet the clinical-to-commercial challenges they face as they move healthcare forward.”


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