Latest Commentary

Sunshine fact: $3.5B + 546,000 docs equals one unwieldy database

A few things are certain about the Sunshine Act data that hit the Internet Tuesday afternoon. One, it's incomplete. Two, it's controversial. Three, the numbers are pretty staggering, with $3.5 billion in payments to 546,000 doctors and 1,360 research institutions over a 5-month period.

Copay coupons get the Inspector General treatment

The HHS Inspector General's office says the fine print isn't enough to safeguard against Medicare recipients' coupon use. Drugmakers have to do more--or risk violating antikickback laws.

First-to-market launch? Bonus--but double bonus if you're Big Pharma

When it comes to launching a next-generation drug, first is always best, right? Press releases can call it a "first-in-class" product. Sales and marketing teams can get a leg or two up on any follow-up rivals. What's not to like? McKinsey & Co. wanted to find out.

Free speech, PhRMA? Not in this off-label marketing case, feds say

The pharma industry's free speech stand in a whistleblower lawsuit against Millennium Pharmaceuticals? Not so fast, says the Department of Justice. The First Amendment doesn't protect speech that spawns illegal conduct, federal prosecutors say in their own brief in the case.

It's megablockbuster halfsies for Sanofi, Amgen in next new cholesterol market

When is cholesterol fighting a game of six of one, half dozen of the other? Could be when the contest is between Amgen and its PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab, and Sanofi and Regeneron's rival alirocumab. Despite some dramatic new data from the latter team--and a first-up filing with the FDA by Amgen--analysts figure on a dead heat once the drugs hit the market.

Bristol-Myers gets the approval Gilead didn't want: Daklinza + Sovaldi for hep C

Want a window into the future of hepatitis C drug marketing? Keep an eye on Europe. Bristol-Myers Squibb bagged European approval for its hepatitis C fighter Daklinza (daclatasvir) Wednesday, setting the company up for head-to-head competition with Gilead Sciences' upcoming combo drug.

Massive Novo insulin plant aims to make more with less

About an hour and a half west of Copenhagen is a little coastal town, Kalundborg, with 16,000 inhabitants, a famous five-steepled church and a castle dating back to at least the 14th century. It also happens to be the home of the plant that produces half of the world's insulin, the key component to most diabetes treatments.

Merck taps celeb chef to deliver diabetes message to Hispanics

Merck's America's Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals campaign is aimed at persuading patients to do what it takes to keep their blood sugar in check. Now, Merck is launching a similar campaign aimed at the Hispanic community, which is disproportionately affected by the disease.

Communiqué to sales reps: With today's docs, it's the medium and the message

Almost half of doctors bar their doors to pharma sales reps some way, somehow. What with all the talk about rep access to physicians, that state of things may seem quote-unquote normal. But it's not. Just 6 years ago, the numbers were quite different.

The formularies are here! Brace yourselves for the 48 new exclusions

It started in 2011 with just a handful of drugs. CVS Caremark chucked 34 meds off its formulary, partly in a snit over copay coupons, partly just to see what would happen. Now, CVS' excluded list comprises almost 100 drugs and related products.