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Posted by Bill Gadless on June 19, 2023

Introducing biopulse, your must-have weekly newsletter dedicated to the marketing trends, strategies, and insights within the biopharmaceutical sector. Each week, we delve into the most interesting stories, examining how products are being launched, branded, and communicated in this dynamic and innovative industry. We spotlight the game-changing campaigns, marketing technologies, and regulatory impacts that are driving market shifts and redefining engagement with healthcare professionals and patients. BioPulse provides a unique blend of industry news and expert commentary, making it a crucial resource for marketing professionals navigating the biotech and pharma landscape.

June 19, 2023

Texas Demands Pfizer Surrender Meta Advertising Records

The Texas State Attorney General, Ken Paxton, has demanded that Pfizer and several other companies provide advertising data related to Meta due to concerns over consumer data privacy. The state alleges that millions of Texans had their private biometric data misused in the past decade. Pfizer is required to share any records on Meta’s usage of facial recognition technology, as it is claimed Meta collected biometric data without user consent.

The Texas Attorney General has also subpoenaed companies like Procter & Gamble and Home Depot as part of its investigation into Meta. This follows a 2022 lawsuit against Meta for allegedly capturing biometric information for commercial gain. The state of Texas has been similarly pursuing Google over data privacy concerns. Infringements of Texas’ Capture or Use of Biometric Identifier Act can incur a fine of up to $25,000 per violation. Full story …

Cutting-Edge Biotech Spearheading Development of Future Ozempic Successor

Structure Therapeutics, a small biotech firm, is striving to develop medicines that could compete with Novo Nordisk’s blockbuster diabetes and obesity drug, Ozempic. Structure’s lead candidate, GSBR-1290, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist, is in phase 2 clinical trials for obesity and type 2 diabetes. They’re also exploring a ‘next gen’ approach targeting GLP-1 and gastric inhibitory polypeptide receptors (GIPR), which could result in superior weight loss effects.

However, there are significant risks to consider. Structure is pre-revenue and will need to generate returns from its pipeline before it runs out of money. Although it had $240 million in cash as of Q1 end and no debt, competition from big players like Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer presents significant challenges. It has no apparent competitive advantages and even a superior drug may not guarantee market success. Full story …

Insights into Pharma Executives’ Strategies on Drug Pricing and Other Challenges

Pharmaceutical industry leaders are grappling with the implications of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which empowers Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Merck recently legally challenged this law, while industry group PhRMA is researching its adverse impacts. A contentious provision grants biologics 13 years of exclusivity and small molecule drugs just nine years before being subject to government price negotiations.

David Ricks, CEO of Eli Lilly, criticized this measure as detrimental to small molecule innovation. If the law is implemented, Eli Lilly plans to increase biologics development, accelerate some small molecule programs, and consider developing two molecules with staggered plans. Ricks noted that while larger companies have more adaptation options, smaller, early-stage companies face greater challenges. Full story …

Eli Lilly Resumes Twitter Posting and Advertising with Limited Scope

Eli Lilly has ended its self-imposed exile from Twitter. After a controversy involving a fake Twitter account, the company temporarily stopped posting on the platform. However, it has now resumed limited posting and advertising on its newly renamed corporate account, @EliLillyandCo, as it evaluates its social media strategy.

The controversy began when a user paid to create an account with a blue tick, typically reserved for notable individuals and organizations, and posted a misleading message about free insulin, causing a drop in Lilly’s share price. Following the incident, Lilly halted all ad campaigns on Twitter and paused its publishing plan for corporate accounts. The company has now returned to Twitter with caution, emphasizing its commitment to providing accurate information about its medicines to patients and customers. Details about Lilly’s revised social media strategy are yet to be disclosed. Full story …

GSK Aims to Enhance U.S. Vaccination Rates through New Project

GSK has launched the COiMMUNITY Initiative to improve adult immunization rates in the US and address health inequities. The initiative includes grant funding to support non-profit organizations and community-based groups focused on adult immunization and health equity. GSK will provide up to $1 million USD in grant funding, with proposals accepted until mid-November 2023. The company will also enhance data transparency through its Vaccine Track platform, providing access to immunization trends to inform public health efforts.

GSK aims to share resources, tools, and best practices to help stakeholders implement solutions for addressing adult immunization gaps. The initiative comes in response to adult immunization rates remaining below pre-pandemic levels. GSK aims to reduce health inequities and set a new precedent for adult immunization rates in the US through this comprehensive initiative. Full story …

Lady Gaga Criticized for Teaming Up with Pfizer as the Face of Nurtec ODT Migraine Campaign

Lady Gaga recently partnered with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to promote Nurtec, a leading migraine medication in the U.S. This collaboration involved a paid Instagram post and a TV advertisement where Gaga, a self-acknowledged migraine sufferer, endorsed the drug, stating it had significantly helped her and wished she had found it sooner.

The partnership, however, sparked controversy online, particularly on Instagram, where critics accused Gaga of exploiting healthcare for commercial gain. Some commentators argued that healthcare is a human right, not a commodity to exploit for profit, calling on her to use her platform more responsibly.

In contrast, Gaga’s supporters defended her actions, pointing out her history of openness about her chronic illnesses. They mentioned her struggle with fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, and how she’s often used her music as a platform to discuss these personal health issues, particularly in her album, Chromatica.

These events underline the complex issues surrounding celebrity endorsements, especially when such endorsements involve pharmaceuticals and personal health conditions. Gaga’s collaboration with Pfizer is a clear example of how the intersection of celebrity influence and healthcare can generate divisive reactions. Full story ….

AstraZeneca Violates Marketing Rules with LinkedIn Post Engagement, but Avoids Major Code Violations

AstraZeneca has been found to have breached three clauses of the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) in the UK due to an employee’s engagement with a LinkedIn post about the company’s heart drug, Forxiga. The PMCPA ruling stated that AstraZeneca failed to maintain high standards, advertised a prescription-only medicine to the public, and encouraged members of the public to ask their health professional for a specific prescription-only medicine.

The breach occurred when an AstraZeneca employee liked and commented on a LinkedIn post about new trial results for Forxiga. AstraZeneca’s own social media policy prohibits such engagement. The PMCPA concluded that the employee’s activity on LinkedIn disseminated the post to the public, potentially encouraging them to request the drug from their health professionals. AstraZeneca was not found guilty of the more serious breach of bringing disrepute to the industry. Full story …

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