Cost of Drugs, Marketing and Managed Markets Grabbing Pharma Headlines

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The rising costs of medical care is a concern across the board. This week, the discussion centered on cancer drug pricing at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting. While the ASCO drives discussion about cancer drug’s increasing costs, elsewhere in the industry the focus is on managed markets and marketing news.

1. Big Pharma and Insurers Play Nice

By Arlene Weintraub, published on BloombergBusiness

The introduction of game-changing drugs teaches pharma valuable lessons

Specialized drugs have the potential to change the game for the diseases to which they treat, but the cost of purchasing these superstars has some reeling from sticker shock. One such example is Amgen’s injectable anti-cholesterol drug, which showed superior abilities for reducing LDL. However, the sticker price sent the industry into a tailspin, with a 12-week course of medication costing $84,000.

Insurance carriers and pharmacies refused to carry it, even though it had the potential to transform treatment and patient health. The incident gave pharma reason to pause and reevaluate its methodologies. Now, the pharma company is involving stakeholders early in the process to both educate them about product benefits and gain insight into pricing to get the product to market.

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2. Commercial Markets Customer Needs, Issues and Partnering Opportunities (Spring 2015)

Published on HIRC

Soaring drug costs signal concerns

HIRC’s quarterly report reveals specialty drug costs as one of its key findings. The primary concern for commercial managed markets involves the rising cost of specialty drugs. As the price of drugs continues to rise, the ability for the majority of the population to pay for and use them decreases. Experts predict that just 3 percent of the population will benefit from such drugs in the future. Other key findings include the desire for drug utilization support and quality initiatives.

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3. Will Big Pharma Cancer Drug Collaborations Set The Stage For Lower Drug Costs?

By John LaMattina, published on Forbes

Cancer-drug costs set to destroy their efficacy

While the release of new, exciting drugs to effectively treat cancer has many abuzz with their capabilities, the combination of these drugs is set to drive a firestorm of new treatment potentials. That is, if the cost of combination drugs can be managed. With the estimated cost of treating an individual at $300,000 annually, pharma needs to manage costs if they want to see people actually use these wonder drugs.

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4. FirstWord Lists: Best selling cancer drugs – 2014 and 2020

By Simon King, published on FirstWord Pharma

Cancer-drug landscape dominated by checkpoint inhibitors

The release of the list of best-selling cancer drugs continues with the march of checkpoint inhibitors dominating the pharma landscape. While ASCO’s annual meeting was replete with excitement over the products, the list confirms that direction.  As evidence, Bristol-Myers Squibb estimates that Opvido will generate $6.2 billion by 202. Merck & Co. reports that Keytruda will generate $3.6 billion in revenue by that time.  Many other pharma manufacturers estimate sales in the billions. However, some are not so sure that these products will garner the gangbuster revenue estimated. For some cancers, the drugs aren’t performing as well, leveling the playing field.

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5. Here’s Why Orphan Drugs Will Remain Attractive M&A Targets

By Ed Silverman, published on The Wall Street Journal

M&A in hot pursuit of orphan drugs

High prices continue to be a theme in the pharma industry as mergers and acquisitions see a boom with orphan drugs. Because patients often need treatment over their lifetime, it’s easy for drug makers to target these orphan-drug products and drive higher prices. Due to the highly competitive landscape for these drugs, the regulatory space indeed affirms companies’ high prices for pursuing drugs that deliver products to the unmet needs of this medical community.

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6. Managed Markets: Medicare Marketing Confidential

By Tom Reid, published on Medical Marketing & Media

Medicare Marketing Insights

With the most recent Medicare enrollment period coming to an end, experts found that individuals applying for coverage were also digitally savvy. They also discovered that consumers are eager to root out information about Medicare, and they routinely turn to digital channels to source that data. However, marketers should be aware of problems that result from pursuing perfection, instead of supplying reliable information for which consumers are looking. Marketing testing also shows that the period of time for luring eligible patients doesn’t start at the time the enrollment period opens. For many looking for coverage, the discovering stage starts much earlier.

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