Is that drug ad for me? Peo­ple pay more at­ten­tion to phar­ma DTC for fa­mil­iar con­di­tions, study finds

Drug ads on TV are al­ways telling peo­ple to “ask your doc­tor.” But guess what? Al­most one in five ac­tu­al­ly do bring up a drug they’ve seen in ad­ver­tis­ing dur­ing a med­ical vis­it while one in 10 say they even ask di­rect­ly for the pre­scrip­tion.

That’s ac­cord­ing to a new Deep­In­tent study field­ed as a fol­low-up to an ini­tial deep dive in­to per­cep­tions around phar­ma di­rect-to-con­sumer mar­ket­ing in March. Back then re­searchers at the dig­i­tal health­care mar­ket­ing plat­form found, not sur­pris­ing­ly, peo­ple were see­ing more DTC ad­ver­tis­ing thanks to in­creas­es in dig­i­tal con­sump­tion dur­ing the pan­dem­ic.

A lot more in fact. Phar­ma and health­care com­pa­nies’ dig­i­tal ad spend­ing jumped to more than $9.5 bil­lion in 2020, eMar­keter re­ports, and pre­dicts an­oth­er big jump by the end of this year to $11.3 bil­lion, an in­crease of 18%.

Yet at the same time, peo­ple al­so re­port­ed feel­ing less in­formed than ever. While 75% agreed that be­ing in­formed about phar­ma treat­ment op­tions could save lives, more than 30% said they didn’t know enough in­for­ma­tion be­fore they talked to their doc­tors.

One of the goals of Deep­In­tent’s sec­ond study was to fig­ure out what peo­ple are find­ing on­line when they look up a drug and how phar­ma com­pa­nies can bet­ter con­nect the dots be­tween con­sumers and physi­cians.

The num­ber one ap­peal of a drug ad was rel­e­vance. More than half (51%) of the more than 1,200 con­sumers sur­veyed paid more at­ten­tion to drug ads that dis­cuss a health con­di­tion they have, and an­oth­er 33% pay at­ten­tion to ads that talk about a loved one’s con­di­tion. A small­er 15% point­ed to good con­tent as a rea­son they paid at­ten­tion to the ad.

Mar­cel­la Mil­li­et Scior­ra​

“Con­sis­tent with our first re­search, when peo­ple see an ad that’s rel­e­vant to their con­di­tion, they will go on­line and do more re­search about the drug,” Mar­cel­la Mil­li­et Scior­ra​, Deep­In­tent’s se­nior VP of mar­ket­ing said, adding go­ing on­line — and im­por­tant­ly, find­ing the right con­tent, will help peo­ple “have bet­ter ed­u­cat­ed dis­cus­sions with their doc­tor.”

The study al­so took a phar­ma in­dus­try tem­per­a­ture check ask­ing if the pan­dem­ic in­flu­enced opin­ions about it af­ter the rapid Covid-19 vac­cine de­vel­op­ment. An even split said they had a high­er (19%) or low­er (20%) opin­ion of phar­ma, while 47% said their opin­ion didn’t change.

That’s not-so-great news for phar­ma com­pa­nies’ rep­u­ta­tions as they push to build on pub­lic health good­will af­ter the pan­dem­ic.

“COVID be­came such a po­lit­i­cal is­sue, it cloud­ed a lot of the achieve­ments of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try. I’m not sure that’s the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try’s fault, but just the re­al­i­ty we live in to­day,” Scior­ra said.

Alexander Lefterov/Endpoints News

A new can­cer im­munother­a­py brings cau­tious hope for a field long await­ing the next big break­through

Bob Seibert sat silent across from his daughter at their favorite Spanish restaurant near his home in Charleston County, SC, their paella growing cold as he read through all the places in his body doctors found tumors.

He had texted his wife, a pediatric intensive care nurse, when he got the alert that his online chart was ready. Although he saw immediately it was bad, many of the terms — peritoneal, right iliac — were inscrutable. But she was five hours downstate, at a loud group dinner the night before another daughter’s cheer competition.

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Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Pfiz­er de­buts Pre­vnar 20 TV ads; Lil­ly gets first FDA 2022 pro­mo slap down let­ter

Pfizer debuted its first TV ad for its Prevnar 20 next-generation pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. In the 60-second spot, several people (actor portrayals) with their ages listed as 65 or older are shown walking into a clinic as they turn to say they’re getting vaccinated with Prevnar 20 because they’re at risk.

The update to Pfizer’s blockbuster Prevnar 13 vaccine was approved in June, and as its name suggests is a vaccine for 20 serotypes — the original 13 plus seven more that cause pneumococcal disease. Pfizer used to spend heavily on TV ads to promote Prevnar 13 in 2018 and 2019 but cut back its TV budgets in the past two fall and winter seasonal spending cycles. Prevnar had been Pfizer’s top-selling drug, notching sales of just under $6 billion in 2020, and was the world’s top-selling vaccine before the Covid-19 vaccines came to market last year.

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Graphic: Alexander Lefterov for Endpoints News

Small biotechs with big drug am­bi­tions threat­en to up­end the tra­di­tion­al drug launch play­book

Of the countless decisions Vlad Coric had to make as Biohaven’s CEO over the past seven years, there was one that felt particularly nerve-wracking: Instead of selling to a Big Pharma, the company decided it would commercialize its migraine drug itself.

“I remember some investors yelling and pounding on the table like, you can’t do this. What are you thinking? You’re going to get crushed by AbbVie,” he recalled.

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Dominic Borie, Kyverna Therapeutics CEO

Well-con­nect­ed, Gilead-backed biotech gets an­oth­er stack of cash to pur­sue CAR-Ts for au­toim­mune dis­ease

Almost exactly two years after its debut at the 2020 JP Morgan confab — and on the heels of a new partnership with the gene editing experts at Intellia — a Gilead-backed, autoimmune disease-focused startup has returned to the well with a clearer outline of just what it plans to do with its CAR-T platform.

Kyverna brought in $85 million in its oversubscribed Series B, the company announced Wednesday. Northpond Ventures led the round, and Westlake Village BioPartners, Vida Ventures, Gilead and Intellia all contributed as well.

Days af­ter Gilead yanks PI3K drug, In­cyte with­draws NDA for its own PI3K — say­ing con­fir­ma­to­ry tri­als would take too long

The FDA’s intensifying scrutiny on accelerated approvals isn’t just putting pressure on drugmakers with marketed products. It is also subtly reshaping the regulatory dynamics.

Case in point: Incyte announced late Tuesday that it has made the “business decision” to withdraw an NDA for parsaclisib, its oral PI3Kδ inhibitor, after deciding that running the confirmatory studies the agency was asking for to support an accelerated approval wouldn’t be worth it.

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Dan O'Day (Getty Images)

In a set­back, FDA or­ders Gilead to hit the brakes on their late-stage, $5B can­cer play

Gilead’s $5 billion drug magrolimab has run into a serious setback.

The FDA ordered Gilead to halt enrollment on their studies of the drug in combination with azacitidine after investigators reports revealed an “apparent imbalance” in the suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions between study arms. And the halt is raising questions about Gilead’s plans for a quick pitch to regulators.

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Amgen's Twitter campaign #DearAsthma inspired thousands of people to express struggles and frustrations with the disease

Am­gen’s #Dear­Asth­ma spon­sored tweet lands big on game day, spark­ing thou­sands to re­spond

Amgen wanted to know how people with asthma really felt about daily life with the disease. So it bought a promoted tweet on Twitter noting the not-so-simple realities of life with asthma and ended the post with a #DearAsthma hashtag, a megaphone emoji and a re-tweet button.

That was just over one week ago and the responses haven’t stopped. More than 7,000 posts so far on Twitter replied to #DearAsthma to detail struggles of daily life, expressing humor, frustration and sometimes anger. More than a few f-bombs have been typed or gif-ed in reply to communicate just how much many people “hate” the disease.

Roy Baynes, Merck

FDA bats back Mer­ck’s ‘pipeline in a prod­uct,’ de­mands more ef­fi­ca­cy da­ta

Despite some heavy blowback from analysts, Merck execs maintained an upbeat attitude about the market potential of its chronic cough drug gefapixant. But the confidence may be fading somewhat today as Merck puts out news that the FDA is handing back its application with a CRL.

Dubbed by Merck’s development chief Roy Baynes as a “pipeline in a product” with a variety of potential uses, Merck had fielded positive late-stage data demonstrating the drug’s ability to combat chronic cough. The drug dramatically reduced chronic cough in Phase III, but so did placebo, leaving Merck’s research team with a marginal success on the p-value side of the equation.

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Albert Bourla (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Pfiz­er fields a CRL for a $295M rare dis­ease play, giv­ing ri­val a big head start

Pfizer won’t be adding a new rare disease drug to the franchise club — for now, anyway.

The pharma giant put out word that their FDA application for the growth hormone therapy somatrogon got the regulatory heave-ho, though they didn’t even hint at a reason for the CRL. Following standard operating procedure, Pfizer said in a terse missive that they would be working with regulators on a followup.

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