News for pharma marketers

fridaynewsPOST SUMMARY: Welcome back.  Here are some stories that you may have missed from last week that are relevant to our business.  It seems the environment in which we market continues to change.

DDR on DTC Tecfidera – We’ve written before about how bad DTC advertising can be when it appears to be simply a consumer version of an HCP visual aid, not a strategic, insight-based communication. In Tecfidera, an oral treatment for relapsing MS from Biogen, we have such an example.  I am sure the ad scored well on “stopping power.” But for an MS patient, there is nothing to connect with. There is only the aspirational image of a hiker caught up in a weird visual pun.

More Medicine Goes Off Limits in Drug-Price Showdown –  Steve Miller is waging war on high-priced medicine, guiding decisions to ban drugs from the health plans of millions of Americans and sending companies reeling in a $270 billion market. He and his colleagues at Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX) say they are just getting started.


Retail clinics are in, traditional primary care practices are out – The so-called “retailization” of healthcare is picking up significant steam, especially after the high-profile announcement from Kaiser Permanente and Target Corp last week, wherein Kaiser will staff four Southern California clinics. That follows a steady push by retail pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS Health and Rite Aid into the primary care setting, and as the trend gains further traction, traditional primary care providers ought to be watching closely, lest the get surpassed as new providers take services directly to patients and consumers.

The price of failure – IN THE pharmaceuticals business there are few issues more loaded than the cost of developing a new drug. For a number of years estimates from industry groups on either side of the Atlantic have put it at $1.2 billion-1.8 billion. A new study by the Centre for the Study of Drug Development at Tufts University in Massachusetts reckons the average cost for drugs developed between 1995 and 2007 was $2.6 billion. Among those rejecting this new figure as highly misleading are Médecins Sans Frontières, a charity, and the Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment, a patients’ group.

The main point of controversy over such estimates is that they roll in the costs of those drugs that failed to win approval and, for good measure, the cost of capital required for the R&D. Tufts’s estimate includes $1.2 billion for the return on capital forgone while a drug is in development, on the assumption it would have otherwise earned a generous 10.5% a year. The remaining $1.4 billion is the average R&D cost of a random selection of drugs, multiplied by risk factors that account for the chances of failure at each stage.

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