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Deep Dive: Future Pharma July 2017

From deep-dive.pharmaphorum.com

It was back in 1993, while I was studying to become a doctor, that I first dreamed of how computer science would transform medicine. At that time, ‘digital’ was in its early days, with the internet only just emerging and the appearance of social media still a decade away, but already I saw the potential for digital to radically disrupt healthcare.

 

Today, over 20 years later, I think we are finally reaching the point of ‘healthcare convergence’, where digital technology and traditional medicine combine in a way that will forever change the way we manage health. This convergence has enormous implications and opportunities for the life sciences industry.

To understand why and how this industry – comprising the major global pharmaceutical, consumer health, medical devices and diagnostics companies – needs to adapt, we first need to explore the stages of digital disruption that have led to this point.

 
 
1. Information democratisation

The first stage of digital disruption, which began in the 1990s with the internet and early health-related websites and forums, was the democratisation of information. As online information and discussion around diseases and medical interventions became widely available, patients were no longer dependent on their doctors to provide the facts, and healthcare providers were no longer dependent on commercial companies and infrequent meetings with their peers for evidence on interventions. Medical information was now in the hands of the masses and it disrupted traditional models of sales, marketing and communication.

 

During this stage, a new wave of health companies sprang up building digital communities for patients, caregivers and medical professionals, such as PatientsLikeMe, Inspire, HealthUnlocked, Sermo and Doximity.

 
 
2. Beyond the pill

The next step on the road to healthcare convergence was the era of ‘beyond the pill’ services. As life sciences companies reacted to information democratisation, they also realised the power of providing direct support in ensuring their interventions delivered value to healthcare systems. This evolution has, of course, also been powered by the concurrent increasing concentration on ‘outcomes’ and ‘cost-effectiveness’ over simple clinical efficacy, safety and quality.

Today, going beyond the pill has seen traditional commercial players focus on websites, apps, social media, chatbots, and so on, as ways of providing information and support to ensure patients understand their conditions and take medicines as prescribed. Alongside this, a whole new sector of digital agencies has been born to support this evolution, alongside specialist ‘out-of-the-box’ communication tools like Videum.

 
 
 
3. Digital epidemiology

Data, data everywhere, but not a drop of insight? This is no longer the case in healthcare as the third wave of digital disruption accompanied the exponential growth in real-world data. A new field of digital epidemiology has emerged, with mobile applications that have the power to tap into real-world, real-time insights into the state of our health and how we are managing medical conditions.

 

We have known for some time that there is a gap between clinical studies, which measure the efficacy and safety of an intervention in a broad, largely homogenous population, and its real-world impact on an individual patient with potentially very different characteristics. Now, we have the tools to track those individual patient characteristics – understanding individual patients to a level previously not possible. At the macro level, this ‘digital epidemiology’ is reshaping our understanding of specific conditions, but at a micro level it is helping us to tailor interventions on a very personal basis.

 

For an example of digital disruption in this space, look no further than diabetes technology company MySugr, which was only recently acquired by Roche Pharmaceuticals. With its real-time tracking of over 1 million diabetes patients it not only delivered immense levels of real-world data, but could also intervene ahead of a dangerous episode for an individual patient due to digital early-warning signs.

 
 
 
4. Digital therapeutics

But digital disruption has not stopped with the real-world, real-time data revolution. Technology is emerging that can go beyond helping to tailor individual traditional interventions, and potentially replace them. Early digital diagnosis, which is possible through digital epidemiology, can avert the need for downstream medicines, at least in the short term, but technology is also now competing with traditional medicines and devices in certain areas.

While this stage of disruption is still the most nascent, for a good example of a digital medicine, consider the ‘treatment’ for tinnitus, Tinnitracks, by German startup Sonormed. By eliminating the specific frequency for an individual patient’s tinnitus from their iPhone music collection, this software-based application controls the condition simply through playing their favourite songs, negating the need for older, device-based interventions.

 
The future of healthcare convergence

So, what does all of this mean for traditional healthcare players – pharma, consumer health, devices and diagnostics companies? Will they go the same way as Blockbuster video or Kodak in the face of this digital revolution?

 

Not if they embrace healthcare convergence and work with this disruption!

 

The technology companies, which are driving this change, need the years of experience, understanding, commercial knowledge and reach of these traditional companies. Likewise, these traditional players need to embrace the innovation brought by new technologies, as they cannot acquire or build this expertise quickly enough internally.

The smart companies are therefore building digital innovation and incubation groups, designed to tap into this new ecosystem of health technology startups – to engage with them, mentor them, invest in them and work in synergy for mutual benefit. Consider the recent work by Bayer with its Grants4Apps programme, or Sandoz with its SandozHACk initiative, as good examples of this evolution.   

 

The age of healthcare convergence is here and it has brought two of my great passions – and two great sectors of industry – together: medicine and technology. Our health will be all the better for it.

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How pharma and patient advocacy groups can become in sync

From www.linkedin.com

At next month’s Patient Summit Europe (19-20 October, London) find out how you can be more than a trusted partner – get yourself on the same side as your patients, and deliver sophisticated advocacy that fights their cause.

Patient advocacy groups and pharma companies have the same ultimate goal – better health outcomes – but managing these relationships needs care on both sides.

To give you an insight into the level of discussion you can expect at the summit, we spoke with:
- Nisith Kumar, Director, Global Patient Affairs, Pfizer
- Ann Kwong, Founder and CEO, TREK Therapeutics
- Lynn Bartnicki, Patient advocate, Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Read the article ‘Dancing to the same tune?’ here: https://goo.gl/hgVVms
Kind regards,
Cintia Hernandez Marco

rob halkes's curator insight, September 13, 8:27 AM

“Some drug companies are really focused on patients, and some don’t have a clue.” Lynn Bartnicki, patient advocate

- a quote from the report of Eyeforpharma.

Good to see some words from pharma and patient advocates published.

Even better to follow and read one of the many publications about the pharma and patient groups' relations: a trying but difficult engagement

You can look at the patient perspective in "pharma corporate reputations",

or overviews of the patient movement. A study about pharma and the connected patient. And above all: check your own credibility as a pharma company in the eyes of patients: your bespoke data on your company, for its different affiliations and therapy areas, based on 6 years of global data on corporate reputation in the perspective of patients and patient groups.

rob halkes's curator insight, September 13, 8:41 AM

“Some drug companies are really focused on patients, and some don’t have a clue.” Lynn Bartnicki, patient advocate

- a quote from the report of Eyeforpharma.

Good to see some words from pharma and patient advocates published.

Even better to follow and read one of the many publications about the pharma and patient groups' relations: a trying but difficult engagement

You can look at the patient perspective in "pharma corporate reputations", or at overviews of the patient movement. 

A study about pharma and the connected patient. And above all: check your own credibility as a pharma company in the eyes of patients: your bespoke data on your company, for its different affiliations and therapy areas, based on 6 years of global data on corporate reputation in the perspective of patients and patient groups.

Big Pharma Can't Figure Out Social Media, and the FDA Isn't Helping

From motherboard.vice.com

Pharmaceutical companies are finding that the best—or at least safest—route to take with social media is to just ignore it. Given the a so-far unadapted FDA regulatory scheme for communication via things like Twitter and YouTube comments, rules for how drug companies can and can't interact with consumers online have remained prohibitively vague.

If a patient posts something online, like "this drug made my face turn into a giant boil," does it count as the sort of adverse event that pharmaceutical companies are required to report to the FDA? Historically, an adverse event is an adverse event, but the word-barf of social media makes this a murky proposition. If that's an adverse event, then what are the responsibilities of the drug manufacturer in tracking those events, which might pop up in any number of places online, from obscure message-boards to an @-tweet to, indeed, a YouTube comment?

It's nice to imagine a system, likely administered by the FDA, for mining comments like that, but in the meantime this is yet another online Wild West. Believe it or not, drug companies are in fact capable of playing it safe, especially when it comes to regulation, and so just about 50 percent of all pharmaceutical companies are choosing to sit social media out. This is according to a report published in Nature Biotechnology outlining a state of confusion that's hampering Big Pharma's marketing efforts, sure, but also repressing information that could prove to be critical in assessing the ongoing safety and efficacy of drugs, from clinical trials to the marketplace.

There are two broad categories of problems. One has to do with trials, which can drag out for extended periods of time in which supposedly blind trial subjects are free to post and read whatever they want online. And they do. In 2014, a trial for a drug designed to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was effectively nuked as subjects described their symptoms on the forums of PatientsLikeMe, revealing who had and who hadn't received the experimental drug. The study was then no longer blind, with 27 percent of trial participants active on the same site.

Health is a hyperactive topic within social media

The second category is what's known as "pharmacovigilance," a guiding force in pharmaceutical research and manufacturing since the 1961 thalidomide disaster. It is what it sounds like: Essentially, it's the science of adverse reactions. Some of this information is provided to drug companies through pharmacovigilance agreements with doctors and patients or "spontaneous" reports, while some comes from research, the media, and regulators themselves. Theoretically, adverse event reporting comes from anywhere, and in most countries, drug companies are required to submit this information to regulators.

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It's a data quandary then. Health is a hyperactive topic within social media, as anyone that's spent much time on illness-related forums can attest, and so it should be a golden age of adverse event reporting. But how to actually do that and when to stop is an ugly science. How are social media comments to be weighed? What sources count as quality data? What's to keep an anti-vaccine brigade from trying to sink a safe, life saving drug?

"With social media, anybody can publicly complain in just 140 characters," the Nature report frets. "It's not yet clear under what circumstances companies are supposed to be monitoring these reports, so many of them are choosing the simplest option: ignore."

But ignorance really shouldn't be an option when it comes to adverse event monitoring, particularly if it's intentional ignorance. So what now? The FDA will be coming out with updated guidelines at some point TBD—it published some "vague and overbearing" preliminary guidance in 2014—but the issue really shouldn't be of what on social media drug companies are allowed to ignore so much as what the FDA can do to net as many possible social media comments about potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals. It could be a golden age, or it could be Big Pharma business as usual.

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Médicament, une filière industrielle que la France n’attire plus

From www.egora.fr

L’industrie du médicament est une filière prometteuse, tant les besoins de santé à l’échelle de la planète restent gigantesque
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Abbott recall signals new era in medical-device cybersecurity

From www.chicagobusiness.com

Visit Crain's Chicago Business for complete business news and analysis including healthcare, real estate, manufacturing, government, sports and more.
Florian Morandeau's curator insight, September 13, 5:30 PM

Cybersecurity issues in medical devices are now a point of concern for devicemakers and the FDA.

The Pharma Digital Health Accelerator Club: Companies Leading the Way Implementing Disruptive Innovations

From www.news.pharma-mkting.com

According to Fard Johnmar, founder and president of Enspektos, pharmaceutical executives are flooded with digital health opportunities and executives and leaders at these firms are having trouble triaging these innovations to determine which ones will meet key organizational, business and health goals.

 

Nevertheless, many drug and device companies are establishing internal innovation groups that are responsible for locating, developing and supporting the integration of digital health technologies into their operations. These companies are form an exclusive "Pharma Digital Health Accelerator Club."

 

This article features several examples of what the pharmaceutical industry is doing to implement disruptive digital innovations that help them manage clinical trials, improve their products, and support healthcare professionals and patients.

 

Contents (partial list):

  • Opportunities & Obstacles for Pharma's Use of IoT
  • Novo Nordisk Develops Remote Digital Glucose Monitoring Tools
  • Top Pharma Companies Establish HCP Technology Standards
  • Apple Tightens Health App Rules
  • JNJ Innovation Aim: Develop Breakthrough Medical Devices
  • Takeda Awards $35K to Digital Startup App for Depression
  • JNJ Expands Membership in Digital Innovation Club
  • Takeda Joins Pharma Digital Innovation Club
  • Important Digital Health Incubators in Europe
  • GSK & MIT Test Flumoji - An App That May Provide RWE
  • Pfizer Shuns "Next Shiny Thing" When Developing mHealth Apps
  • The Potential of Apple's ResearchKit in Clinical Trials
  • Google & GSK Team Up to Launch "Bioelectronics Medicine"

 

Download the PDF here.

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GSK and Novartis lead at PM Society Digital Awards

From www.pmlive.com

GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis made their mark at last night’s 2017 PM Society Digital Awards in London last night, each picking up two golds at the ceremony.

GSK’s My PAH mobile app by the EarthWorks and its ERS meeting by ebee Health were rewarded, as were Novartis’ COPD life is calling by Health Unlimited and the HACk – Healthcare Access Challenge by its Sandoz unit.

Bayer, MSD and Teva all picked up a gold each, for work that included multichannel work in hypogonadism and budget modelling in antifungal prophylaxis.

GSK - alongside partner agency The Earth Works - was also acknowledged for its work on the MyAsthmaApp, which received one of two new Inspiration Awards.

HealthiQ picked up the other Inspiration Award on offer for its ‘ground-breaking’ approach to the diagnosis of children with ultra-orphan metabolic disease MPS I.
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Festival de la Communication Santé 2017 : inscrivez-vous ! - Le Club Digital Santé, partenaire du #Fcsanté

From club-digital-sante.info

La 28ème édition du Festival de la Communication Santé se déroulera les 24 & 25 novembre 2017 à Deauville. Un évènement dont le Club Digital Santé est partenaire. Chaque année depuis 28 ans, le Festival de la Communication Santé récompense les meilleures communications santé. Il a pour mission de mettre en lumière les communications numériques…
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The Global Digital Marketing Gap · Forrester

From go.forrester.com

Husson: Over the past few years, I was lucky enough to travel to many different places: in most European countries, in the US, in Brazil, in the Middle East, in India, in Indonesia or very recently in Japan and Thailand. The digital revolution is happening all over the place and it is fascinating to see how it is changing people’s habits. In particular, mobile is a game changer in most economies and this will only accelerate. (..)

Significant economic, political, and technology trends will strain global digital strategies further by elevating the importance of local relevance. Over the next few years, we expect the following trends:

  • Geopolitical shifts drive global fragmentation..
  • Empowered consumers seek brands who reflect their local values (..)
  • Innovative local competitors emerge (..)
  • Mobile’s primacy forces a re-evaluation of local offline marketing(..)
  • Rise of conversational interfaces reward local knowledge. (...)

 

To close this capability gap, marketers must evolve their cultural mindset, adapt their organization to share more responsibilities with local teams, implement an insights-driven approach to personalize experiences, and upgrade their global technology infrastructure.

rob halkes's curator insight, September 12, 5:57 AM

Unexpected(?) trend in Engaging global brands with local customers/users. Thomas Hudson: ".. counter intuitively, digital complicates global marketing... digital increases customer expectations for relevance, giving local brands the edge. Such competition exposes global brands’ digital marketing gap, forcing them to localize their digital approach." I gathered this before for Pharma companies: Pharma needs to differentiate to local! See https://lnkd.in/gqb86hV - and here: https://lnkd.in/eDMsDdr .

 

B. Braun lance le Hack A Fond' au service des enfants malades

From buzz-esante.fr

Pour la 5ème édition de son Prix, la Fondation d’entreprise B. Braun lance le premier « Hack A Fond’ » au service des enfants malades.
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Bayer Unveils Latest Funding for Digital Health Start-ups

From pharmaphorum.com

The digital health start-ups selected for funding via Bayer’s Grants4Apps Accelerator programme have been revealed.

The Grants4Apps programme has been running since 2014, making it one of pharma’s most well-established digital health funds.

This year the scheme will foster four start-ups focused on medical adherence, endometriosis, atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis, and ultrasound diagnostics by providing mentoring and 50,000 Euros in funding.

Those selected include London-based firm aparito which combines wearable technology, an app and a dashboard for professionals to transform data capture during clinical trials.

Aparito’s tech has been used in rare disease and oncological trials in the past.

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FDA clears Adherium's third inhaler sensor, for AstraZeneca's Symbicort inhaler

From www.mobihealthnews.com

Melbourne, Australia-based Adherium, a digital health company that focuses in improving medication adherence and patient outcomes, has just received FDA clearance for a new inhaler monitoring device for AstraZeneca’s Symbicort aerosol inhaler, dubbed the SmartTouch for Symbicort.  
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Pharmaceutical Landscape on Social Media

From unmetric.com

Many pharmaceutical companies have been cautious about their social media presence. However, that’s no surprise given the advertising restrictions and potential minefields of discussing prescription medicine in an uncontrolled environment. This report looks at how 16 companies have embraced social media and the trends that have emerged in the industry over the last five years.

 

Due to the restrictions imposed upon the industry by the FDA, we found that pharmaceutical companies have split their social media presence into four independent silos (see image).

 

On Facebook, pharmaceutical companies saw growth from both Corporate pages and Career pages. The high growth of the Careers pages is perhaps an indicator of the low number of total Fans these pages have. As for the Corporate pages, the high growth rate suggests that this silo was a very important channel for pharma brands in 2016.

 

On Twitter, pharmaceutical companies struggled to increase Follower growth throughout 2016. The Branded portals’ handles were the biggest drivers of Follower growth mostly due to the comparatively low number of Followers. Just like on Facebook, the OTC Brand handles didn’t register any significant growth. This could be due to companies refocusing their efforts in other silos.

 

Further Reading:

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Ce que transformation digitale veut vraiment dire

From www.hbrfrance.fr

Plutôt qu’une simple numérisation de leur offre, les entreprises doivent entamer un processus de transformation globale basé sur l’expérience client, une révision de leurs process internes et leurs collaborateurs.

Dans un monde secoué par la prolifération des nouvelles technologies (intelligence artificielle, Internet des objets, blockchain, réalité virtuelle, cloud…), par les Gafa (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) et leurs cousins les Natu (Netflix, Airbnb, Tesla, Uber), par les start-up et leurs licornes, les entreprises doivent se réinventer et engager une transformation profonde. Beaucoup d’entre elles en ont conscience mais elles sont encore trop nombreuses, soit à se tromper sur le contour et l’ampleur de cette problématique et de ses enjeux, soit à faire un amalgame entre transformation digitale et innovation.

Les entreprises doivent ainsi se méfier d’une transformation digitale restreinte à la seule numérisation de l’offre, en lui préférant une transformation globale. La différence est importante et se fourvoyer dans la formulation de la problématique leur fera manquer le défi du digital et risquer d’être « disrupté ». Il ne faut pas non plus confondre la finalité et les moyens. La transformation digitale ne se réduit pas à développer une application mobile, à produire du contenu sur les réseaux sociaux et à embaucher un chief digital officer (CDO). Pour mener à bien une transformation globale, il est souhaitable de travailler sur trois axes en parallèle.

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#Accompagnement : Les Laboratoires Expanscience lancent leur 2nde saison d’accélération dans la santé, le bien-être et la prévention - Maddyness

From www.maddyness.com

Lancé en 2016, l’accélérateur de startups « santé, bien-être et prévention » des Laboratoires Expanscience ouvre son deuxième appel à candidatures.
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PhRMA: 2017 State of the Industry

From www.phrma.org

At biopharmaceutical companies across America, we stand for hope, treatments and cures that make a difference in the lives of millions of patients.
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Tumblr Not High on Pharma's Most Popular Social Media Platforms List for 2017 & 2018

From www.marketwired.com

A new study of pharmaceutical marketing teams found that the most popular social media forum groups plan to use in the next one to two years is Facebook (73%), according to data published by business intelligence firm Cutting Edge Information.


Data found in the study, Pharmaceutical Marketing: Reevaluate Digital Trends and Metrics for Social Media and Mobile Success, which was published less than a month ago, revealed that YouTube (64%) and LinkedIn (55%) are also common for surveyed life science marketing teams, with Twitter (45%) at a more distant fourth.


Not as popular, but still commonly used social networking sites include Instagram and Tumblr, with 18% and 9% of pharmaceutical marketing teams utilizing them, respectively. Additional data from the study show that no surveyed pharmaceutical and medical device companies report using Pinterest, Vine, Flickr and Reddit.


"New technology offers many opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry," said Natalie DeMasi, research team leader at Cutting Edge Information. "As a result, social media and mobile platforms are becoming more and more a part of teams' digital strategies."

 

But some consultants say Tumblr deserves more respect from pharma. Read “Pharma Tumbles for Tumblr. ‘It's Not Your Grandfather's Social Media!’"

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The rise of digital marketing: pharma and social media. earthware's thoughts, opinions and geeky tech blog

From earthware.co.uk

Most pharma companies use social media channels to broadcast content rather than converse with their audience. Typically, this follows two themes; broadcasting corporate news including regulatory approvals, appointments and disease awareness, and releasing other notable items, such as the latest data from congresses or stats on epidemiology.

Unlike many other industries, there is little attempt to use social media as a platform for conversation. This is primarily a result of the regulatory challenges faced by the industry.

There is still little in the way of true innovation in digital marketing across pharma. For most companies, having an e-detail, brand website and corporate twitter account ticks the digital boxes. Digital remains an afterthought of the marketing plan after the exhibition stands, symposia and patient leaflets have been ordered.

Fear of the known

The risk of not adhering to industry codes of practice means there is an inherent fear of digital channels and, in particular, social media. With most companies requiring approval of all external communications it is very difficult for pharma to converse over social media and certainly not with the immediacy that users demand.

Trust issues

There are a couple of key issues that reduce the impact pharma can have over digital channels. Firstly, social media users are used to engaging in conversation and debate. Pharma’s inability to engage in this way means their social media presence is far less engaging for patients and doctors than other content providers.

Secondly, there remains a distrust of industry. Deloittes’s report on pharma's adoption of social media* highlights the challenge, with 75% of doctors surveyed indicating a lack of trust in pharma.

Pharma companies should consider partnering with third parties who are trusted by their target audience. Partnering with professional bodies or third party networks offers great opportunities for industry to provide access to clinical data and insights which their partners are not able to deliver on their own.

HCP engagement

The rise in popularity of platforms such as doctors.net.uk, Medscape, Epocrates and Sermo indicate that like any consumer, HCPs are using digital platforms to engage with the content they want. In addition, HCPs are increasingly using digital platforms as a way of receiving medical education, whether via webinars, or new platforms like twitter’s Periscope. Tools like Skype are also being used increasingly by HCPs in their day-to-day working, including conducting MDT meetings with remote colleagues or even patient consultations.

As the traditional access to HCPs continues to increase in difficulty, perhaps a mix of online and face-to-face conversations will enable pharma reps to be more efficient.

Where the journey begins

Listening is key to developing digital solutions that meet the needs of HCPs and patients. Social listening, for example, by searching the web to see what’s being said about your company or products is a great way to gather insight and there are many free tools out there to get you started, such as Google Alerts.

Speaking to HCPs and patients and asking them to describe the patient journey and mapping out the challenges and gains at each point helps identify where solutions are needed. Co-create solutions with HCPs and patients rather than stopping at co-design. Co-creation means involvement at each step of the process as you design, prototype, test and refine solutions. Start small, get something out there and learn as you go.

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50% of Fast-Track Approved Drugs – Mostly Cancer Drugs – Have Not Been Proved Effective After 3 Years on the Market!

From www.statnews.com

The FDA, in an effort to bring promising new therapies to patients as quickly as possible, has introduced a spate of shortcuts to speed up the approval process. Those programs are working as intended, new research finds, but drug companies are often loath to fulfill their obligations.

The big idea behind the FDA’s accelerated drug approval program is that regulators will OK a promising drug based on clues that it will improve patient lives, so long as pharma companies later carry out larger trials to confirm those hints of efficacy. But looking at four years of data, a team of researchers found that only 50 percent of those trials actually took place within three years of approval.

Furthermore, 44 percent of such trials were not the placebo-controlled variety considered to be the gold standard but rather relied on the same surrogate measures used to win a quick approval, leaving each drug’s true value unclear. This was particularly striking for cancer drugs, accounting for 80 percent of studied approvals, which were cleared based on how well they shrank tumors, not how long they kept patients alive.

 

Further Reading:

  • “GAO Report: FDA Expedites Drug Approvals, But Its Postapproval Oversight Stinks!”; http://sco.lt/89j3Zp
  • "FDA is Lax in Enforcing Law Regarding Prescription Drug Postmarketing Studies"; http://bit.ly/1PoqAsY
Pharma Guy's curator insight, August 16, 7:13 AM

According a Research Letter published in the July 10, 2013, issue of JAMA. The authors of the study found that NONE (zero) of the 865 studies under FDAAA jurisdiction from 2008 through 2011 have been completed. Of the 387 studies mandated in 2011, 271 (70%) have not even begun.

The 'Hear' and Now for Pharma and Social Media

From www.pharmexec.com

Good news—the pharmaceutical industry is finally catching on to the social side of social media. Just a decade or so after Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter gave everyone the opportunity to share their own stories, pharma businesses are actually starting to listen.

Of course, there is still a broad spectrum of social media capabilities within the industry, from companies that are all in on the social scene to those who still haven’t managed to set up a basic account. Even within businesses, skills and usage can vary greatly between countries, therapeutic areas, or corporate functions such as HR and commercial.

The vast majority of pharma companies also still use social media as just another broadcast channel—a cheap alternative to direct mail. But the green shoots of sociability are starting to show through.

Less is more

One recent shining example is AstraZeneca’s Twitter strategy at June’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2017 meeting in Chicago. Ahead of the meeting, the company released a statement saying that it would be tweeting less and engaging more with retweets and comments.

The business was reacting to concerns expressed at 2016’s ASCO meeting, when some attendees worried that vital social media conversations around the event were getting lost among louder industry voices. The worry was that paid promotions were threatening to crowd out valuable scientific conversations.

AstraZeneca’s response was to publish a set of commitments to be "Being a Better Social Media Citizen." In a five-point pledge (see slide below), the company promised to preserve the social media space around the conference and allow the oncology community to “learn, discuss, and share the science that excites them at ASCO 2017.”

Click to enlargeKey to this was “talking less and listening more,” meaning a significant reduction in tweets sent. The flip side of that was “elevating important voices,” sharing tweets sent by researchers, patient organizations, doctors, and patients.

AstraZeneca also drew back from frivolous content like quizzes or fun facts to “be sensitive” and acknowledge that oncology is a serious business. And the  drugmaker stopped paid promotion of tweets for the duration of the meeting to “respect the organic conversation” taking place on Twitter among ASCO attendees and the broader medical community.

Finally, the company’s social media team committed to focus on explaining its own science in formats that were easy to digest and understand and “make complex science accessible.”

Contributing to the conversation

AstraZeneca’s “less is more” strategy appears to have contributed to a better online experience at ASCO 2017.

More than half of the 200-plus respondents to a Twitter poll by ASCO member Dr. Mike Thompson, with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, thought the 2017 meeting had a better “signal-to-noise ratio” than the previous year’s meeting.

Dr. Paul Tunnah, CEO of healthcare engagement agency Pharmaphorum Connect, was encouraged that AstraZeneca had carried through on its promises. “This is a good example of progressive social media,” he says. “They received positive feedback from the medical audience and stood out as being engaging rather than broadcasting.”

Annie Sullivan, director of corporate social media, AstraZeneca, says that while it approaches every congress or campaign with a fresh lens, being a “good citizen” is now central to the company’s social media strategy.

She explains that the business wants to deliver content that has a value through its social media channels, making its science accessible, highlighting important professional voices and sharing patient perspectives. “We are focused on remaining relevant to the ever-changing social media landscape,” says Sullivan. 

 

Crafting campaigns

The issue of relevancy features in Tunnah’s 2017 formula for the ideal social media campaign: “Integrated, relevant, and long-term.”

Being relevant, according to Tunnah, means that campaigns need to provide information that is useful to the target audience.  He says corporate objectives and messaging can be encapsulated in valuable information, but that marketers must avoid “corporate-speak.”

 

Being integrated requires social media linking to other digital and non-digital content that takes the customer on a clear journey to learn more about the company or a specific therapeutic franchise. And to be long-term, Tunnah says that pharma needs to be ever-present on social media, not just when it wants something.

Long-term commitment and social media marketing don’t always sit well together. Corporate concerns over ROI that is not always easy to prove and the frequent pivots of the social platforms conspire to shorten campaign time frames. But Tunnah advises the long view.

“Short-term campaigns will not deliver results without significant paid promotion, which may not deliver relevant audience,” he explains. “Trust takes time and the authenticity that being there more persistently provides is very powerful in building better customer relationships.”

Making connections

According to Jordan Deatherage, senior director, social media, at Intouch Solutions, the ideal social media campaign also needs to make a connection, regardless of the platforms or the technology being used.

She advocates a consistent and connected customer experience, not a mismatch of information or user experience. “Each messaging point of contact should be intentional and function in an expected way,” says Deatherage.

She believes it is possible for companies to be social without building a branded presence on specific platforms, so long as they understand that social media is an important part of people’s day-to-day Sidebar: Reaching Across Disease Areas (click to enlarge)communication.

“Information on the Internet is social if it’s shareable,” says Deatherage. “By providing valuable content and enabling visitors to cleanly share it, companies can implement a compliant, inherently social experience.”

In this way, companies can take on social media without setting up an owned brand presence like a Facebook page. But that doesn’t mean there is no value in developing an owned social presence.

Deatherage points to the work Intouch has done with Teva to develop its Lift MS Facebook page and blog. The award-winning Facebook page has almost 320,000 followers and hosts patient resources, discussions, and supporting videos and photos. “The Lift MS Facebook page and blog have contributed in a relevant way to this community in a very crowded category,” says Deatherage.

Teva previously had success with the “You Don’t Know Jack About MS” YouTube channel fronted by multiple sclerosis sufferer Jack Osborne. The channel gained 11,000 subscribers and the most popular of the 16 episodes clocked up almost half-a-million views.

“The two campaigns aren’t linked, but they are both a testament to a client that understands the impact of social media, especially in a very crowded disease state,” says Deatherage.

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25 Pharma Marketing Influencers to Follow on Social Media

From www.synthesio.com

Follow these 25 pharma marketing influencers for best practices to learn about leading pharma marketing strategies and trends.
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Pharma's giants, new and old, tell more tales than their numbers show | FiercePharma

From www.fiercepharma.com

It takes some mighty big forces to shift the enormous drugmakers that, like boulders in a stream, help define the course of the pharma industry. But shift they did over the last decade, and there's a story behind every changing revenue tally for Merck, Pfizer, Novartis, Bristol-Myers and their peers.
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Patients Love Social Media. But Will They See Your Clinical Trial?

From www.linkedin.com

Americans check social media 17 times a day -- that's nearly once every hour. They check their messages on Facebook, read news on Twitter, share photos on Instagram. Social networks let you advertise your medical research opportunities to a potential audience of millions. Here's how to promote clinical trials on social media in a compliant and effective way.

Why Is Social Media Marketing So Important?

Patients are on social media every day, multiple times per day. Sometimes patients come to social media sites like Facebook to seek community and support for their disease in one of the thousands of Facebook pages and groups dedicated to this effort. And sometimes patients are checking up on family and friends. Regardless, we can use the power of social media advertising to present them with information about your clinical study.

 Recruitment for clinical trials via social media is already on the rise. In one study, nine out 14 medical research companies planned to use social media to boost patient enrollment. Among organizations that already used social media for recruitment, Facebook was the most popular platform, followed by online patient communities, YouTube and Twitter.

The demographic is social media networks like Facebook is usually in the sweetspot of what researchers are looking for in trial participants. While you might think that social media skews to a young audience, 84 percent of people who check Facebook are aged between 30 and 49, and 72 percent are between 50 and 64. For a clinical trial for breast cancer, we found the highest degree of engagement on Facebook in women aged 50 and higher.

How to Use Social Media for Clinical Trials

Like any worthwhile effort, an effective campaign requires a solid strategy and great execution. Message and creative development are important as is having multiple options to test for optimization of the campaign.

It's important to stay compliant when promoting clinical trials. Facebook, for example, stipulates that all marketing must clearly represent the company and service being advertised. Twitter has a similar policy. In addition, all content shown to a potential subject must first be approved by IRB. Companies like Seeker Health offer customized compliance tools to suppress the comments on Facebook ads, which has become the gold-standard practice for clinical trials.

Accelerate Your Clinical Trial Enrollment Today

Research suggests that 80 percent of clinical trials in the United States are delayed by at least one month because of low enrollment. Social media marketing solves this problem by letting you advertise medical research opportunities to a huge audience.

If you want to accelerate patient recruitment through social media, we can help. Click here to contact us. 

Sandra Shpilberg is Founder and CEO of Seeker Health, a digital health company innovating the way that patients learn about and enroll in clinical trials. More information at seeekerhealth.com

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PinUp: Fake Advertising - Is It a Thing Now for Big Pharma Marketers?

From www.pharma-mkting.com

**********SUMMARY***********
I'm always on the lookout for misleading drug ads. Recently, however, I've become aware of "fake advertising" by pharma marketers. We've all seen fake ads in weight loss commercials that use retouched photos to gain competitive advantage. But mainstream "Big Pharma" companies also engage in fake advertising as well! Very sad.

 

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About Pharma Industry News Update

The Pharma Industry News Update (aka PinUp) is published every Tuesday and Friday as part of the Pharma Marketing News subscription service. It features curated pharma industry news and views of topical interest from a variety of sources. If you'd like to receive this newsletter, subscribe here.

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GSK hands new chief digital officer a transformative remit

From www.pmlive.com

GlaxoSmithKline has created a new chief digital and technology officer role as it seeks to transform how new technologies are used to improve the entire group’s performance.

The role will be filed by Karenann Terrell, who will join the pharma firm on 4 September and take up a seat on its Corporate Executive Team.

Emma Walmsley, GSK’s chief executive officer, said: “The impact of technology on the healthcare industry is accelerating and requires us to rethink our approach.

“As a member of the Executive Team, Karenann will have the scope to think radically about how we can exploit the latest opportunities and ultimately improve our business performance.”

GSK has consistently been active in the digital space, most recently looking to apply artificial intelligence to drug discover, targeting COPD adherence with sensor technology and rolling out its first medical device mobile app. However, new CEO Walmsley clearly wants more to be done when it comes to the bigger picture of applying digital technologies.
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