Do We Feel Bad for the Drug Reps?

Pharma-watchers know that rare diseases are all the rage these days. With primary-care blockbusters falling to generic competition, drugmakers are zeroing in on ultra-expensive treatments for conditions that affect only a few hundred patients, rather than millions of them. And companies don’t just benefit from the ability to command high prices. They also save on sales reps and ad campaigns.

For pharma sales reps, it may seem like adding insult to injury, after the past several years of mass layoffs. But as Medical Marketing & Media reports, companies won’t be staffing up much to launch rare-disease drugs. Take Corcept Therapeutics ($CORT), now preparing to roll out its Cushing’s syndrome drug Korlym. “I don’t have to hire an army of sales reps,” Corcept VP Steven Lo tellsMM&M.

Instead, Corcept will target just 300 endocrinologists to reach the 5,000 or so Cushing’s patients Korlym could benefit (of the total 20,000 in the U.S.). Those 300 doctors handle 70% of Cushing’s cases in the U.S., Lo says. Corcept will send out medical liaisons, supported by professional advertising and CME. An agency that specializes in orphan and specialty meds will handle advertising to patients and online.

Korlym will no doubt benefit from another advantage that rare-disease drugs usually enjoy: They have no competitors. Cushing’s patients who haven’t benefited from surgery don’t have other drugs to turn to. It will be Korlym or nothing. At what price has yet to be seen; Corcept hasn’t yet said how much it will charge for the drug.

Read more: Rare-disease drugs won’t help out-of-work pharma reps – FiercePharma

Day Two, Cushing’s Awareness Challenge

I would be remiss if I didn’t use today’s Challenge post to remind readers that there is a wonderful opportunity to ask Dr. Theodore Friedman questions about thyroid or other issues.  Dr. Friedman (or Dr. F, as he is called on the boards) has been a help to so many Cushies.  He specializes in cyclical Cushing’s and seems to be able to diagnose what other, lesser, doctors cannot.

Dr. Theodore Friedman

Dr. Theodore Friedman

According to his website,

So many of us believe that fatigue, weight gain, loss of libido and other problems are just symptoms we must learn to live with. What if these symptoms are not the result of stress, diet, or aging, but are actually caused by a hormonal disorder? Symptoms of hormone deficiency or excess may be subtle and difficult to diagnose. Many hormonal problems are misdiagnosed as depression, especially in women.

You know your own body better than anyone else, and you know when something is wrong. Dr. Friedman is a compassionate, caring physician who will listen carefully to your concerns and work with you to establish a treatment plan. As an experienced, board-certified endocrinologist and researcher, he has the capabilities to diagnose and treat even the most difficult hormonal problems.

Dr. Friedman has found that some of his patients suffer from undiagnosed pituitary or adrenal problems. These include many people suffering from Cushing’s disease, which can present a baffling array of symptoms and is frequently misdiagnosed. Other patients may have pituitary or adrenal insufficiency, which has numerous symptoms and is equally hard to diagnose. Dr. Friedman is a world expert in these difficult-to-diagnose diseases and he welcomes inquiries from patients and their physicians.


Dr. Friedman is not a stranger to Cushings Help.

Dr. Friedman will Return April 2, 2012

Have questions about thyroid issues?

Ask Dr. Theodore Friedman.

Theodore C. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D. has opened a private practice, specializing in treating patients with adrenal, pituitary, thyroid and fatigue disorders. Dr. Friedman has privileges at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Martin Luther King Medical Center. His practice includes detecting and treating hormone imbalances, including hormone replacement therapy. Dr. Friedman is also an expert in diagnosing and treating pituitary disorders, including Cushings disease and syndrome.

Dr. Friedman’s career reflects his ongoing quest to better understand and treat endocrine problems. With both medical and research doctoral degrees, he has conducted studies and cared for patients at some of the country’s most prestigious institutions, including the University of Michigan, the National Institutes of Health, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and UCLA’s Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

Read Dr. Friedman’s First Guest Chat, November 11, 2003.
Read Dr. Friedman’s Second Guest Chat, March 2, 2004.

Listen to Dr. Friedman First Live Voice Interview, January 29, 2009.
Listen to Dr. Friedman Second Live Voice Interview, March 12, 2009.
Listen to Dr. Friedman Third Live Voice Interview, February 13, 2011.
Listen to Dr. Friedman Fourth Live Voice Interview, March 12, 2012.

Dr. Friedman will return tonight, April 2, 2012.  The call in number with questions or comments is (646) 200-0162.

Listen live at

This interview will be archived afterwards at the same link and on iTunes Cushie Podcasts


 MaryO, Imperial Web Mistress
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