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Pharma + social = Pharma 3.0?

When I first heard the term “Pharma 3.0” I thought that it was the latest in the trend to put “x.0” (where x = 2, or higher) after everything. I was delighted to find out that it wasn’t, and there is a (reasonably) well-defined “Pharma 1.0, and 2.0”.

To get to “Pharma 3.0”, we need to detour past Pharma 1.0, and 2.0.

To bring a pharmaceutical drug to market is not something for the faint-hearted. There are strict regulations that need to be complied with. The length of time taken to bring a drug to a point where it can be sold can be up to eight and a half years, or longer. And the cost can add up to more than US$800 million.

As a result, pharmaceutical companies rely on a “blockbuster” drug. Which is one that alleviates, or cures, specific problems, and for which there is a high demand.

This is what defines “Pharma 1.0” - the age of the “Blockbuster”.

However, Pharma companies also realized that there is more than just having a “really great product”. “Pharma 2.0” is a period where there was a recalibration to do business leaner, nimbler and more focused on emerging realities. Effectively, the focus was on redefining the business model.

There are no precise dates when the next “Pharma x.0” period is entered, but “Pharma 3.0” has started to emerge.

Pharma 3.0 can be described loosely as “Pharma + Web 2.0”.

That is, “social media” plays a big role. The advent of social media has brought a voice to the end consumer. With a greater wealth of knowledge at their hands, the patient has become more knowledgeable about their ailments, and more critical of the medicines they are taking. Insurance companies and governments are also now starting to look for real value in the medicines that they are paying for, rather than just relying on the claims of the pharmaceutical company.

As a result, the pharmaceutical company has had to redefine who the “customer is”. No longer is the customer the Medical Doctor. Now more focus is put on delivering real value to the patient.

And this is where social media, and related technologies, are coming into play. Companies are starting to identify ways that they can not only “talk to the customer”, but to also “listen”. Examples include smartphone apps that provide information on the medication that a patient is taking, allowing them to ask questions directly to the pharma company, or to get in touch with others using the medication; apps that give patients easy ways to record treatments and keep track of the symptoms they experience; through to devices that measure the blood glucose levels of a patient, and then transmit them to a mobile device where the data can be stored, and shared with a physician. (InPharm maintain a great list of apps currently available. Click here to see it). Initiatives include, also, more transparency, and information to both the patient and the doctor.

“Pharma 3.0” is about adding value by empowering the patient. And it’s something that the pharma companies are all involved with (in one way, or another). The newer, more dynamic pharma companies that are appearing in places such as Asia, and India, are able to put into place the business partnerships and innovation required to fully take advantage of Pharma 3.0. The tradition Big Pharma companies, however, are burdened with an “entrenched” value network that needs to be changed. This is happening.

It is likely that, in the current year, there will be quite some activity in this area. I’ll be watching with interest.

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The Hepatitis C Pricing Debate

The Hepatitis C Pricing Debate | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
The need for new drugs seems higher than ever with population-wide health crises such as Ebola, H1N1, Anthrax and HIV/AIDS. Maintaining an innovative drug development environment seems increasingly critical for our existence. In addition, we are facing healthcare issues related to our lifestyle, which through cardiovascular disease and diabetes alone contribute heavily to escalating healthcare costs.

Drug pricing is often challenged despite the lifesaving nature of many drugs. It is undoubtedly complicated to understand due to industry cost structure, scientific complexity and the “dinner for three” phenomenon. (For those of you who are not familiar with the term “dinner for three,” I will talk more about that in an upcoming blog).

The Next Generation of Hepatitis C Drugs

A new generation of hepatitis C drugs is essentially delivering a cure to patients that so far only had access to poorly tolerated and relatively ineffective drugs. Many patients have postponed treatment with these older drugs, thus creating a worldwide “pool” of patients, anxiously waiting for a better treatment.

The medical and societal value of Sovaldi, and now Harvoni, the first all-oral regimen for many patients, which received F.D.A approval October 10, is uncontested. These drugs are an unparalleled breakthrough in medicine that will dramatically change the lives of millions of people in the U.S. and abroad. (Read my interview with The New York Times on Harvoni winning F.D.A. approval.)

Economically speaking, these drugs offer great value as they could avoid complications from hepatitis C, including liver disease, liver transplants and hepatic cancer. On that basis, the critical U.K. watchdog group, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), has given Sovaldi a positive endorsement. (What is interesting is that the actual cost of Harvoni is lower than an alternative combination of Solvaldi with interferon and ribavirin or with Olysio, which has been prescribed off-label for this use.)

The challenge is that a new drug treatment like Harvoni is so good that demand is temporarily skyrocketing until the pool of hepatitis C infected patients is treated. After that, the treatment is likely to virtually disappear.

A large U.S. problem is that some insurance companies (including the very vocal PBM Express Scripts) will not see the medical savings as they are only responsible for drug costs. Other insurance companies that do cover medical expenses may be concerned about the time horizon of the immediate drug expenses vs. the savings that will occur much later.

The Hepatitis C Market Is Very Competitive

Many similar hepatitis C drugs are in development in a race to market. BMS recently decided to withdraw its drug combination. Vertex announced earlier this year that they are exiting the market, only a few years after their launch of Incivek. Many other companies will likely follow over time. As a society, and under the current circumstances of periodic public health scares, we need to nurture innovative companies that deliver miracle drugs, not chastise them.

We do need to find a solution for the funding challenges that these new treatments are causing in the short run and celebrate the long-term public health improvements that they help us achieve. I would encourage health insurance companies to collaborate with drug companies in finding solutions for patients in need, rather than challenging the value of these miracle drugs.

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Biosimilars Set to Revolutionize Drug Development | Thomson Reuters

Biosimilars Set to Revolutionize Drug Development | Thomson Reuters | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
South Korea emerges among the frontrunners in the race to lead the global biosimilars market
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5 Boring Companies With a Fascinating Social Strategy

5 Boring Companies With a Fascinating Social Strategy | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
Some "boring" companies have proved that even the boring can become fascinating. Here are five examples from various unsexy industries.
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The top 20 pharma app makers

The top 20 pharma app makers | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

The medical app market is dominated by the big players, since they have the resources to create the best apps and the financial muscle to push their products in the market.

 

The lion’s share of the medical apps market is occupied by established companies with historically strong brands. Bayer leads the pack with 11.2% market share, followed closely by Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and Boehringer Ingelheim


Via Andrew Spong
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Paulo Machado's curator insight, July 9, 11:14 AM

How about a measure of health impact of these apps?  As BioPharma(& other corps) move into health apps shouldn't they be measuring Benefits/Risks like is done with Medicine?

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Pharma, digital and patients: a healthy concoction? | Pharmafile

Pharma, digital and patients: a healthy concoction? | Pharmafile | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

A young woman sits stunned in an oncologist’s office, unsure of where to look or how to react to the terrible news. The doctor is telling her that she has cancer – meaning the woman is no longer the same person she was when she walked into the office, as for now she has become a ‘patient’.

And as a patient, she will have to make all sorts of life-changing – and possibly life-saving – decisions in the coming weeks and months. The news is a blow, but the doctor has many other people to see, and only has time to give a brief overview of her diagnosis and the basics about what to expect. 

Our typical patient’s life has now changed irrevocably, but she feels unequipped to deal with whatever may lay ahead. Twenty years’ ago, this scenario would have been left right there. The patient would have been expected to cope largely on her own, occasionally being told by doctors and consultants what procedures she would have and what drugs she would take.  

But there has been a quiet revolution in recent years – a shift which is restructuring healthcare across the world. This revolution has come from digital. There is always a danger of over-romanticising digital. Etymologically the word comes from the Latin digitus, meaning fingers or toes – thus to be ‘digital’ simply means to use one’s digits when performing an action. 

But of course it now means so much more than that. ‘Digital’ now incorporates much deeper connotations of engagement, networking and commercial opportunity. Today, our patient can face her disease in new ways: by writing blogs about her progress for instance, or engaging with an entire community of patients going through similar treatments. This can help her to predict what could happen further down the road, or even help her through the difficult first few weeks following diagnosis.

She can also do some research online to find out what treatments are available beyond what her doctors are advising, giving her the confidence to seek out different options, or even find new clinical trials that could benefit her. The young woman has gone beyond being a patient and become an ‘ePatient’ – an evolution of sorts, and increasingly the norm as people further their engagement with online information.

The rise of the ePatient

For pharma, this represents a major new opportunity to not only promote new medicines via social media and disease awareness campaigns, but also to come out of the shadows, to become more transparent and – for the first time – engage with patients on a one-to-one basis.

Digital is now becoming the tool of choice for many pharma marketers, where the line between traditional marketing and digital marketing is so blurred, the two have essentially amalgamated. Increasingly, if you want to deliver a message – especially to patients – you have to go online.

But the pharma industry as a whole has not embraced any form of digital revolution as readily as other sectors. There are many reasons for this, with legal restrictions being chief among them, especially in the European Union, where rules forbid pharma from discussing its products directly with the public. This limits just how much – and what – it can say to patients. 

But whilst the industry may not have taken on digital wholeheartedly, some individual firms, and individuals within those firms, have taken up the challenge of finding a way through the legal quagmire. At the beginning of the year, those pharma companies willing to embrace digital came to the fore through an IMS Institute poll of the best pharma firms in social media. 

Johnson & Johnson, which also has a large consumer unit, came top by some margin according to the metrics of IMS, followed by a close cluster of other companies: GSK, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Novartis and Boehringer, respectively.

You would expect most of these at the top given their large budgets and digital willingness – although Boehringer, which almost defines itself via its social media presence, may feel a little disappointed to be sixth on the list. 

But whilst lauding the success of the top 10 firms, the IMS Institute was quick to caution that pharma may not be using these new media platforms to the best of their ability, and will need to invest more to engage with younger, digital-savvy consumers.

And this is a problem. The young cancer patient can benefit from digital, but a fundamental demographic difficulty remains: the majority of people who require prescription medicines are over 50 – with many larger groups in their 70s, 80s and 90s. Patients in these age brackets use social media far less than their younger peers and are therefore largely ignored by pharma’s foray into social media.

However, recent reports suggest the tide may be slowly turning. Specifically, an annual survey by a UK governmental communications group says that the emergence of tablet computers is behind a swift rise in people aged 65 and over using the internet. 

Drawn up by the UK government’s Office of Communication (Ofcom), this report indicates that, in the past 12 months, the percentage of older people going online rose by more than a quarter to 42%, which could fuel more interest in health-based media. Despite this increase, however, the oldest group of people still spend the least amount of time online of any adult age group. 

According to Ofcom’s report, the over-65s spend nine hours and 12 minutes online every week on average. By contrast, those aged between 16 and 24 devote about 24 hours each week to online activities. In healthcare terms, this means that younger, chronic patients may well be the greater beneficiaries of digital campaigns.

The same study found that half of the apps people download are redundant because they are used so infrequently. On average, the survey says, smartphone users have 23 apps installed – but make regular use of only 10.

This is a major problem for developers, especially pharma and health app creators, who require regulator engagement with users for their programmes to work successfully. Finding a way to engage with older patients – and holding the attention of the younger ones – remains a key challenge for pharma if it wants to nurture any digital revolution.

Pharma’s foray into digital

But just what has the industry done to engage with the ePatient? Pharma has traditionally been publicity-shy, hoping instead for its products to be better known than its producers. As mentioned before, there are good reasons for this as they cannot be seen to promote prescription drugs on these platforms, and have to be very careful not to cross any legal parameters when talking to users. 

But this has not stopped the industry using social media, notably Twitter and Facebook, in order to (legally) engage the general public. So how do pharma companies use these new channels? Many use Twitter to publish links to press releases, which are primarily of use for journalists.

Some tweet about events they are running/sponsoring. Others attempt to increase their public reputation by announcing plans to increase access to medicines abroad, or other seemingly philanthropic gestures.  

There appears to be less engagement on Twitter – visibly less anyway, as interactions and direct messages cannot always be seen. Most companies do enjoy a fairly large following, however. GSK’s main Twitter account has nearly 50,000 followers, Boehringer has 32,000, Sanofi 40,000, and top dog Pfizer is closing in on the 100,000 mark. (This seems to reflect global size: Pfizer is the world’s biggest pharma firm by revenue, so it’s no surprise it has the most followers.)

The majority of these firms follow very few people in return – typically just a few thousand or even a few hundred. These are predominately news services and other medical charities and groups. But pharma’s figures are fairly high compared to other industries – BP Oil, for example, has fewer than 2,000 followers, whilst Barclays Bank has only 22,000. This is more impressive given that Sanofi, Boehringer and others are not the household names that BP and Barclays are. 

But pharma’s use of Twitter has not always been positive. The first reported case of a tweet landing a company in hot water came in 2011 when Bayer was reprimanded by the PMCPA, which polices the ABPI’s Code of Practice in the UK, after its UK Twitter account promoted a prescription-only drug to the public when it sent two product-related tweets.

These tweets concerned the company’s erectile dysfunction treatment Levitra and its multiple sclerosis spasticity drug Sativex, both of which were published in a way that made them seem promotional. Bayer was hit with a major reprimand from the PMCPA, and fined thousands of pounds.

And last year a European NASDAQ disciplinary committee found virology specialist Medivir guilty of breaching its rules, after data from a clinical trial were posted on Twitter before their formal release. This case, however, was a little more complicated as it was not Medivir who sent the tweet, but rather a participant who took a picture with his smartphone at an event the firm was hosting.

The picture was then published on social media hours before the data was officially made available to the public, thus breaking NASDAQ rules. Much was made of these cases in the press – especially Bayer’s tangle with the PMCPA– but they certainly weren’t earth-shattering enough to warrant rejecting digital in all of its forms.

In Bayer’s case, the tweets were sent mistakenly with perhaps a slight misunderstanding of the lines between information and promotion. And Medivir’s example was again a mistake, rather than intentional – there should have been a direct conversation with attendees that data were embargoed. In reality, neither firm was looking to use these media to advertise.

Facebook

A bigger problem has stemmed from Facebook, after the social media platform decided in 2011 that firms running corporate profiles can no longer simply delete comments they didn’t like. This means that companies can only retroactively delete comments if they break Facebook’s terms, or are illegal.

Janssen’s award-winning Psoriasis 360 Facebook offering was quick to fall foul of these new rules, and in 2012 the firm said it was ‘forced’ to remove the page – which also had Twitter and YouTube counterparts – after an increasing amount of ‘troublesome comments’ were posted.

Janssen said at the time: “Whenever a post on this page [Psoriasis 360] mentions a specific drug by name, or talks about the efficacy of a particular treatment (or its side effects), we have to ask for it to be changed, or pull it.” 

The J&J pharmaceuticals subsidiary went on to say that this was ‘stifling worthwhile discussions’, and constantly removing these posts simply become too onerous for the firm. Psoriasis 360 was seen as one of the shining beacons of what pharma could do with digital, but its removal from Facebook was worrying given that the firm had done nothing wrong – it simply couldn’t keep up with the public’s comments. 

This is the reality of becoming more open on the internet – a company that was once immune to direct public criticism can instantly become the target of ‘trolls’, rather than receive helpful feedback from people who are genuinely upset or concerned about a firm or its products.

Pharma may well have to develop a thicker skin and recruit more staff who are used to monitoring web comments. The travails here are certainly ones that pharma must be aware of, but if it wants to succeed in a brave new world risks will have to be taken – and understanding risk is, after all, what the industry is all about.

ROI questions

An argument remains that too much time and effort is being spent on digital communications, when the primary job of pharma should be to concentrate on its research and development. And a large question mark hangs over just what the return on investment (ROI) is for firms who want to grow their presence on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. 

Digital is a major buzzword and becoming all-encompassing at many pharma conferences. This was no more evident than at the recent eyeforpharma offering in Barcelona, where much emphasis was put on the use of digital to aid the industry’s future.

But this focus was at one point sharply put into perspective by a single slide, that showed only 6% of pharma’s entire marketing budget is spent on digital marketing. The question is: just how measureable is this 6% investment? Have more drugs been sold as a result, and is this even the point for pharma’s foray into digital? Can engagement be successfully measured and pitted against the cost of creating a campaign? 

These questions are not benign and the lack of answers is what prevents many pharma firms from fully embracing digital. In an interview with Pharmafocus in 2012, during the launch of Syrum – Boehringer Ingelheim’s Facebook game designed to promote disease awareness campaigns – its creator John Pugh dismissed enquiries about ROI, saying it ‘wasn’t relevant’ to ask that sort of question in relation to a digital operation. 

ROI is a key component of digital which is not discussed readily, but remains important to chief financial officers and to the healthcare payers who are ultimately funding pharma. The marketing budget for digital may certainly be small, but it still represents billions of dollars across the industry – and a good prediction of ROI is surely a necessary part of any business plan.

Embracing digital for the right reasons

Ultimately, as is so often the case with pharma, the issue boils down to trust: patients and lawmakers want to know that pharma’s use of digital media – and indeed its interaction with patients – is based on sharing information openly and helping to improve the experience of having a condition, whilst also aiming to deliver better medicines. 

It should not be, as some fear, an attempt at ‘back door’ direct-to-consumer advertising or in any way promotional. There is an opportunity here for pharma and medical communication firms to help shape the future of healthcare and chart the course of the ePatient. 

Our young cancer patient has now been given a louder voice and a community to engage with – and all at the touch of a button. The patients’ needs must remain the top priority for pharma and doctors, if the promise of digital is to be fully realised

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Samsung, the pharma company: biopharm investments; first biosimilars in 2016

Samsung, the pharma company: biopharm investments; first biosimilars in 2016 | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

South Korea’s biggest company is investing at least $2 billion in biopharmaceuticals, including the growing segment of biosimilars, which are cheaper versions of brand-name biotechnology drugs that have lost patent protection.

 

Samsung, with $327 billion annual revenue, aims to become a major force in biotechnology, an industry expected to generate sales of more than $220 billion in five years. With the electronics market reaching saturation, billionaire chairman Lee Kun Hee has been investing in new areas that might shore up growth for the family-controlled company.

 

Samsung plans to sell its first biosimilar version of Amgen Inc. (AMGN)’s arthritis therapy Enbrel in 2016 in Europe and a version of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)’s Remicade treatment for autoimmune diseases in 2017, according to Ko. A separate unit called Samsung Biologics Co. has contracts to manufacture biologic medicines for branded pharmaceutica


Via Andrew Spong
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Andrew Spong's curator insight, May 12, 4:18 AM

For me, this is the biggest health story of the year so far.

 

With Samsung's dominance in the mobile market and its focus on integrating health into its products, there can be little doubt that the company has the potential to make a huge impression on the future of healthcare.

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Pfizer begins using ‘digital’ reps

Pfizer begins using ‘digital’ reps | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

Pfizer has begun using digital drug representatives to market medicines, leaving the decision as to whether they want to see them in doctors’ hands.

It’s an unusual move that creates more of an indirect form of marketing. The firm’s new service it calls ‘Pfizerline’ has its own website with a blurb saying: “Ask Pfizer............, who can give you promotional product information at a time convenient to you. It’s simple. It’s flexible. It’s convenient. Calls can be arranged to suit your busy practice schedule.”

 

The service offers new ways for primary care doctors to talk to reps and also offers links to product information about branded medicines available in the UK.

 

There is in addition the ability to book an online meeting room that Pfizer says provides a “rich multi-media interaction where you can see our trained UK-based digital representative, as well as the product presentation they are discussing with you”.

 

In a nutshell, it means UK doctors can speak to reps via a Skype-like device about new products from Pfizer. Doctors can book online via a booking form and a ‘digital rep’ will arrange a time to talk on the phone, or video link at www.askpfizer.com.

 

The process, dubbed ‘digital detailing’, is designed around promotional product discussions and is within the ABPI rules.


Via Andrew Spong
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Sven Awege's comment, October 6, 2013 6:24 PM
Is this really new? I thought they were doing this many years ago - just new way to describe it?
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Strategy: Why Big Pharmas Do What They Do -- And How Silicon Valley Might Help Them Think Differently - Forbes

Strategy: Why Big Pharmas Do What They Do -- And How Silicon Valley Might Help Them Think Differently - Forbes | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

AstraZeneca’s revitalization strategy, announced this week, follows the same well-worn playbook used by so many in the industry, employing approaches vividly familiar from my consulting days: cut headcount, externalize R&D, focus on select therapeutic areas, push biologics, and explore an interesting flyer (in this case, technology from Moderna, a Cambridge, MA-based company developing novel mRNA therapeutics — see Luke Timmerman’s recent Xconomy post).

 

While not offering profound solutions, these restructuring activities, through cost cutting and distraction, are likely to buy AZ at least a little bit of breathing room from the increasingly critical analysts that have massed at the company’s gates.

 

I’d like to review what may be driving these changes in the industry, and conclude with several alternative strategies big pharma might consider.

 Read the full article at Forbes by clicking the title

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Fixing a Broken Drug Business by Spreading the Wealth, Wired.com

Fixing a Broken Drug Business by Spreading the Wealth, Wired.com | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
Photo: Bill David Brooks / Flickr You might plausibly argue that ice cream parlors and bobby socks reached a peak back when Elvis was still the king, b
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Will "Robust Pipeline" Yield More New Drugs?

Will "Robust Pipeline" Yield More New Drugs? | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

Biopharmaceutical companies are touting their huge investment in R&D, which has filled the drug pipeline with more potential first-in-class medicines, including orphan drugs, personalized medicines and new therapies based on novel scientific strategies. A report by the Analysis Group for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) documents more than 5,000 new medicines in the pipeline globally, many for untreated diseases and life-threatening conditions. The promise is that this more robust pipeline will lead to more new critical therapies for patients.

Yet, the data also reveals that most of these therapies are in early stages of development:  less than 1000 of the 5400 products in clinical development have reached stage III, and only 82 are headed for market following approval by the Food and Drug Administration. The attrition from phase II to phase III remains very high despite a range of scientific advances and regulatory improvements. Of nearly 3000 new molecular entities (NMEs) to treat cancer, only 288 have reached stage III clinical trials, and only  a handful make it to market. Therapies for infectious diseases seem to have a higher success rate, with about 700 investigational projects yielding 22 recent approvals. Certainly a higher “early kill” rate may be a sign of progress in the  risky world of pharma R&D, where a key goal is to avoid costly phase III studies that won’t pass muster with FDA. The current study doesn’t provide the historical data that could tell more about whether pharma R&D is becoming more productive, but there doesn’t seem to much evidence of progress.

A more telling sign is the recent rise in FDA’s approval numbers for NMEs, reaching almost 40 in 2012 and still providing steady good news for sponsors. The promise is that more INDs eventually will yield more new approved medicines. “There are no guarantees” from a stronger and more diverse pipeline, but the study reveals the “depth of possibilities,” observed Genia  Long of the Analysis Group in a PhRMA webinar. However, it also is important for pharma to reduce the overall cost of developing new drugs, and that will require more informative early stage research strategies that efficiently separate potential winners from likely losers. Researchers are making progress in developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, pointed out Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter, acknowledging that success “will require longer, more expensive studies to show benefit for patients.”

The PhRMA report aims to demonstrate to the public and policymakers the high value of biopharmaceutical R&D and the importance of continuing government support for FDA programs and research funded by the National Institutes of Health. It also highlights the value – and the need to pay for – new therapies to treat rare diseases and conditions that currently lack effective treatment. Ultimately, these new, costly research endeavors could lead to cures and preventives for cancer, Alzheimer’s and other devastating illnesses that affect millions. But the costs for individual patients may be enormous, and it remains to be seen if public and private health programs will pay for them.

 
Via Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek
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How is medical communications responding to the evolving needs of its pharma clients? A live Digitally Sick podcast from the MedComms Networking event in Oxford on 17th January

How is medical communications responding to the evolving needs of its pharma clients? A live Digitally Sick podcast from the MedComms Networking event in Oxford on 17th January | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

Recorded live in front of an audience of 70 medical communications and pharmaceutical professionals in Oxford by the @Digitally_Sick team of Faisal Ahmed (@sickonthenet), Alex Butler (@Alex__Butler) and Andrew Spong (@andrewspong) at the kind invitation of Peter Llewellyn (@NetworkPharma)


Via Alex Butler, Andrew Spong
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Alex Butler's curator insight, January 21, 2013 4:22 AM

The first live recorded podcast from Oxford tackles medical communications in an age of social technologies and digital media.

 

In front of 70 medical communications professionals the team look at the definition of medcomms, what the challenges are at the present time and in the future and what needs to be done to meet these challenges. There is comment and perspective from a lively and engaged audience.

Sven Awege's curator insight, January 22, 2013 3:05 AM

Bravo to our Digitally Sick pioneers! Real engagement under the spotlight has taken this to another level.

Alex Butler's comment, January 22, 2013 8:49 AM
Thanks Sven, appreciated :-)
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Pfizer vows to learn from virtual trial failure: (#hcsm lessons learnt)

Pfizer vows to learn from virtual trial failure: (#hcsm lessons learnt) | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
Several months after Pfizer failed to recruit patients to its first ever virtual trial, the firm said it was looking to learn from the setback.

The pilot REMOTE trial was looking to recruit 600 patients suffering from overactive bladder disorder, and was asking them to use electronic diaries to record their experiences.

It was designed so that patients could avoid having to travel to clinics during the trial.

It was a first for pharma - as reported by InPharm last year - but the hype succumbed to practical difficulties when no one signed up for the trial.

Writing on Pfizer’s ‘Think Science Now’ blog, Craig Lipset, head of clinical innovation at Pfizer, said: “This pilot was testing a series of modules needed to enable patients to participate in a […] clinical trial entirely from home.

“Patient recruitment was one of many modules being tested, and the other modules worked very well. In the near-term we are focused on applying these successful modules to studies being planned and executed at Pfizer today.”

He added that the firm would not shy away from using social media and online tools to recruit patients, despite the problems it has had, and would re-launch REMOTE in 2013.

Lipset said: “I also want to clarify that this project does not represent a failure for, or withdrawal from the use of the internet or social media for patient recruitment.

“We routinely use the internet as a channel for recruitment in our studies and will continue to do so wherever it is appropriate. Recruitment strategies tend to be very study-specific, and we will be working to refine such strategies specific to a virtual trial approach.”

Comment

But a major problem with this trial, given the condition it targets, is that many patients affected by overactive bladder disorder are elderly, and may not use the internet as regularly as younger patients.

This could have been one reason as to why the REMOTE pilot failed to recruit and will prove to be a systemic problem for all trials targeting diseases that afflict the elderly.

Ben Adams is the reporter for Pharmafocus and InPharm.com and author of the DigiBlog site. He can be contacted via: email or Twitter.

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Video streams through Johnson & Johnson and Boehringer Ingelheims Veins

Video streams through Johnson & Johnson and Boehringer Ingelheims Veins | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
The world has gone social media crazy. The phenomenon has lent a strong culture toward sharing material, gathering useful data and creating greater engagement. People power has become the most democratic way of ensuring videos, articles and photos enjoy optimum visibility. Statistics including the number of views, volume of subscriptions and comments, from the general public, are a huge part of this.

YouTube has become so successful that it has built a webpage to showcase these figures. It is undoubtedly one of the first sites you think of when it comes to locating video content, whether it’s comical, educational or catch-ups that you desire. Additionally, other sites, such as Vimeo, Hulu and Veoh are following closely behind. Some, such as Metacafe.com, are even monetising their sites, whereby, the site pays users for their videos.

It seems that online video footage is valuable stuff as pressure from the public and, indeed the commercial sector, to upload content appears relentless. We can certainly expect fresh, new and exciting changes to evolve in the near future.

One novelty associated with videos is that they do not have to be viewed on their specific platform, but can be embedded onto your home page or as an advertisement on pages which your target audience are likely to visit. This may be the reason why videos are so widely used on the Internet today. Even pharma, who traditionally have a reputation for being conservative and prefer to refrain from following the crowd - because of the nature of their products - have signed up to the viral video concept! Here are a few examples:

 

 

Johnson & Johnson are using video content alongside other content on their corporate site. Boehringer Ingelheim, has an oncology site for journalists, named The White Room. The site primarily features video content and downloads, which are extremely popular mediums as previously discussed. The third example features the Life with Lung cancer site which is a new patient site for lung cancer patients outside of the US. It primarily includes video content and interactive tools interactive tools can additionally be found on this site, which help to engage with the audience. Pharma is no longer about uninspiring and dry information! Another progression might include specialised video sites, specifically designed for industries that handle sensitive information. These sectors could hugely benefit, as sites will carry an industry code which will provide direction on uploaded content. Pharma TV fits into this category and presents a site similar to the extremely popular TED talks, but instead will be directed by news and sound bites from leading industry experts.

 

My post has clearly shown that pharma is increasingly moving toward embracing the culture of social media. There seems to be plenty more room for communication via video platforms and those who dare are slowly invading that space. Healthcare is no longer inaccessible to the general public and pharma brands now have the tools to educate as well as communicate.

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Restoring the pharmaceutical industry's reputation : Nature Biotechnology

Restoring the pharmaceutical industry's reputation : Nature Biotechnology | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

Big pharma's storehouse of trouble has fostered consumer mistrust and a negative view of the industry. How does the industry go about restoring its flagging reputation?

 

Click the title to read artcle at source 

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Pharmaceutical R&D Innovation | KPMG | GLOBAL

Pharmaceutical R&D Innovation | KPMG | GLOBAL | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
KPMG’s new report Growing the pipeline, growing the bottom line: Shifts in pharmaceutical R&D innovation looks at the research challenge through the eyes of senior R&D executives from some of the world’s leading pharma companies.
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Key Strategies that Pharma Companies Shouldn’t Ignore in 2014

Key Strategies that Pharma Companies Shouldn’t Ignore in 2014 | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

Scan through recent announcements from pharmaceutical companies and one will see recurrent themes including expanded R&D pipelines, focused efforts on core capabilities and tax inversion benefits.IBM’s Life Sciencesteam recently interviewed Professor Frank Cespedes and Board Member Michael Wong from the Harvard Business School community to see if there were other sources of value during these transformational times for the industry.

Q. Recent pharma announcements seem to have focused on a few key themes; what other sources of value might they be missing out in their pursuits?

A. (F. Cespedes) R&D provides a crucial component of pharma’s sustainability and always will. But the percentage of total resources invested in R&D is less than the dollars invested in Sales activities. If you look at U.S. companies in general, they invest almost $900 billion annually in sales forces—more than three times the amount that they invest for all media advertising, and twenty times more than the total spend on digital marketing. Yet research indicates that on average, companies deliver only about 50-60% of the financial performance that their strategies promise. These suboptimal results signify a significant amount of wasted money and managerial effort.

Q. But haven’t pharmcos already uncovered value from past investments in sales efforts and it is now time to look at other strategic opportunities?

A. (M. Wong) Not necessarily because while there were efforts that led to tremendous value for some companies,  the industry is at an interesting juncture given that many firms have equipped their teams with similar tools (laptops, smart phones, etc.). Now, the crucible for them is to figure out how to creatively configure these assets with their human capital to deliver value to their clients.

Read more about how IBM is helping its clients improve this line of business at: http://www-03.ibm.com/software/products/en/category/SW333

Q.  But aren’t innovative products more important than sales reps to customers?

A. (F. Cespedes) I would say that innovative products are as important, not more important, than efficient and effective sales efforts. The key to linking strategy and sales usefully is, first, to understand how market factors affect required sales tasks. The fact is, these tasks have changed significantly in pharma over the past decade due to regulatory factors, changes in buyers and buying behavior, M&A activity, and differences in the strategies of individual pharma firms. Then, the issue is aligning actual selling behaviors with those required tasks and using the appropriate levers for doing so. The key levers are: People—how you hire, train, develop their skills and attributes over time so they are good at executing your strategy, not those of a generic selling methodology; Performance Management systems that help to influence behavior, especially sales compensation and incentive systems; and the Sales Force Environment—how communication works across organizational boundaries, for instance, is a growing requirement for effective selling at pharma firms.

Q. What business analogues can you provide where you have seen such creative deployment of technology with Sales Force members, which led to commercial success?

A. (M. Wong) For a division at one company, they leveraged systems to create balanced scorecards that provided insights on their strategic plan’s progress. Sales results, from a single source of trusted data, were transparently shared across teams. Second, the business units were empowered to include additional key performance indicators (KPIs) that addressed local needs. One team tracked the career movement of their reps since many of them were promoted into HQs. While good for those promoted, it sometimes led to prolonged periods of vacant territories and hence these KPIs helped pivot recruiting towards hiring individuals who were interested in long-term territory assignments. Finally, these scorecards served as a trusted tool that could be leveraged for mid-year and year-end performance reviews. In terms of observed performance, in under two years, this team moved from the bottom half of 31 business units to 2nd in the country. Here is a good read on this domain: Analytics Across the Enterprise.

Q. Why is a single, trusted view of data so important?

A. (M. Wong) With the restructurings that have hit pharma during the past decade, the focus on each employee’s contribution has likely never been under greater scrutiny. Having a single source of trusted data provides objective context for how internal employees are contributing towards the company’s strategies. Single sources of data are being used by some of IBM’s clients via “Next Best Action Optimizers”. These are tools that contain rich sets of attribute libraries and a proprietary clustering algorithm which can help catalyze customer variables into actionable segments for targeting. They are leveraging them so that they’re able to secure similar benefits that other industries like Insurance have captured, where increased retention rates up to 40% were secured by identifying which customers should be contacted by an agent’s representative. Data quality and analytics have moved up as the highest priorities in this industry to achieve the company’s strategy, as we learn in this site.

Finally, it enables deeper analysis for resource allocation which is still significant per Cegedim Strategic Data’s recent report; “…pharma companies spent just under $85 billion on their sales forces and various marketing channels in 2013, about equal to 2012 spending levels.”

A. (F. Cespedes) I would only add that this single view is increasingly important, in pharma and other industries, because of the impact of the internet and social media on go-to-market effectiveness. The options available to customers put more pressure on the rep’s value added during the sales experience. And the reality is that, no matter how you organize your sales force, most firms today require a multichannel approach: online and face-to-face sales initiatives. A common view of the customer is vital to making that work.

Q. What is your forecast for the pharmaceutical industry?

A. (F. Cespedes) For those companies that are able to successfully link their strategy to daily sales activities and motivate them to engage well with their customers, I see a turnaround in terms of growth and opportunity. But this requires an ongoing systemic approach and not just a motivational speech, a grand off-site, or an allegedly all-purpose selling methodology. Unfortunately, when under pressure, many companies do opt for these quick fixes; they may be quick, but they’re rarely a fix. By contrast, those firms that are able to link the levers of People, Performance Management, and Environment will find that sales results and strategy formulation improve. Industry is not destiny: not now, not ever. As always, management counts. It’s human performance that drives operating performance in the marketplace, which in turn drives financial performance, not the other way around.

A. (M. Wong) Given what the high-tech industry experienced during the late 1980s; I envision a similar landscape for pharmcos. Just as high-tech had a number of historically well-regarded firms like Digital Equipment flounder, we’ll likely see similar patterns again within pharma. To build a sustainable entity, it will be important for pharmaceutical companies to creatively address Professor Cespedes’ assertions around their strategic sales and marketing activities. With so many exciting developments around mobile apps, social media, cloud, and predictive analytics to name a few; the test is not only selecting which ones make best sense for an entity, but also determining how to secure high-employee engagement levels so that people embrace such changes.

Looking at the high-tech industry as an analogue, the good news is that many pharmas will likely bounce back just like Apple did, who recently earned recognition as Fortune’s Most Admired Company. The better news is that research has shown how this type of recognition has strong correlations with shareholder value; which can benefit both stockholders and hardworking employees.

Read more about IBM Life Sciences Industry Capabilities & Offerings at: http://www-935.ibm.com/industries/lifesciences/

 

Frank Cespedesis the MBA Class of 1973, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He has run a business, served on Boards for start-ups and corporations, and consulted to many companies around the world. He is the author of six books and many articles in Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, California Management Review, and other publications. His latest book, Aligning Strategy and Sales: The Choices, Systems, and Behaviors that Drive Effective Selling (Harvard Business Review Press) is available now for preorder on Amazon.com. Frank can be reached at fcespedes@hbs.edu.

Michael W. Wong serves as a Board Member of the Harvard Business School Healthcare Alumni Association. He has over 20 years of sales, marketing and strategy experience working at companies including Apple Computer, AstraZeneca, IBM, and Merck. His insights have been shared in publications including the MIT Sloan Management Review,Harvard Business Review Blog Network, Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal, and PM360. Mike can be reached at mwwong@us.ibm.com.

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What's in pharma's future? Patient centricity, healthcare services, competition with big data firms

What's in pharma's future? Patient centricity, healthcare services, competition with big data firms | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

Healthcare reform is prompting consolidation and leaner pharmaceutical companies and personalized medicine applications are a source of growing interest. But what other trends figure in to the future of the life sciences industry? How about adding healthcare services and competition with big data analysis companies? Those were a couple of the findings from an Industry Healthcheck survey of 1,600 pharmacy professionals by EyeforPharma.

The 971 who responded included managers (39 percent), directors (30 percent), consultants (10 percent), CEOs (9 percent), and sales reps (9 percent). Most of the respondents are in Europe, Asia and the U.S. The majority are in marketing, sales and general management.

Is patient-centric push lip service or reality? Justifiably, there’s a certain amount of cynicism around this issue. Asked if they agreed with the statement, “I believe a focus on patient-centricity is the best route to future profitability,” 80 percent agreed — 30 percent said they strongly agreed. The fact that the majority of the respondents are in sales and marketing underscores that it’s a big talking point, sure. But pharmaceutical companies have seen that to generate greater participation in clinical trials, improving adherence and understanding patients’ needs they need to have more conversations with patients and their advocates and that’s happening.

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Christoph Schmidt, the head of global commercial excellence at Actelion Pharmaceuticals, agrees. “Patient centricity as a strategy is also the result of the shift in decision-making power in the more complex and educated stakeholder landscape,” the report notes. But David Laws of Global Partners said there’s a huge disconnect between intent and action.

“I guess pharma’s definition of patient centricity is going to be somewhat different from other stakeholders and this may help explain the perception gap. Pharma is all talk in this area and continues to behave as a product focused industry… Clearly good products are important but on their own they do not produce any income and certainly no profits. Profits come from customers!”

Life science innovation is key to profitability: Asked whether they agreed with the statement “Quality medicines are the best route to future profitability for the company,” 77 percent agreed. The debate over the cost of Gilead’s drug Sovaldi — the first drug to cure Hepatitis C — is a good example of the upside and downside of how innovation is viewed. Everybody seems to want innovation, but if the price is too high, there’s a lot of grousing, particularly from payers and patients. It’s understandable but in cases where it’s a question of costs down the road and more immediate costs, it should be a no-brainer. Still, reimbursement isn’t the only challenge to innovation. More than half of respondents (56 percent) view the success of new medicines as hampered by an outdated regulatory system rather than an ability to innovate.

Pierre Morgon, CMO at Cegedim, said the pharmaceutical industry will need to change to adjust to these cost concerns.

“Going forward, the industry will have to take a different stance on affordability of novel therapies as perceived by the payers and the net consequence for the shareholders will be to admit that the story becomes ‘profitability, but not at any cost,’ almost as an integral component of the company’s CSR policy.”

Healthcare services will be part of pharma strategy: About 73 percent of respondents agreed that they need to become genuine healthcare providers and offer healthcare services. Still, there are a lot of challenges ahead for companies to move “beyond the pill.” Although Pfizer’s Integrated Health division only lasted a couple of years, Christian Isler, the former global head of solution and product development for Pfizer Integrated Health, learned a good few lessons from the experience. It will take years before it’s profitable. He recommends setting up a separate legal entity. It also will require a change in culture — more listening and responding to customer needs.

The competitive landscape will shift in the future: It seems like a weird statement but 59 percent believe that pharma’s greatest competition will be from companies other than current pharmaceutical manufacturers in 20 years. So who will that competition be? Big data analytics companies seem to be the biggest suspect. I tend to see them as complementing pharma, but others view that dynamic differently, as Morgon suggests. ”

When it comes to discovering new medicines, the ‘competition’ will likely remain within the space that we know today, involving academia, start-up companies and larger ones. But there will be other players, specializing in the mining of the huge amount of data allowing to better profile responders to a given treatment. These new players will play a critical role in the generation of insights and the subsequent discussion on the value of the medical interventions.

The life science industry as we know it today will therefore need to learn how to partner with these new players, if it wants to retain a seat at the table of the decision makers about the real life, and not be “cornered” in the world of the laboratory and the randomized clinical trials.”

 



Read more: http://medcitynews.com/2014/06/whats-pharmas-future-patient-centricity-healthcare-services-competition-big-data-firms/#ixzz35SBHxJ9K

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A New Era of Value-Driven Pharmaceuticals

A New Era of Value-Driven Pharmaceuticals | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

At the end of March the Amercian College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AMA) issued a joint statement saying they “will begin to include value assessments when developing guidelines and performance measures (for pharmaceuticals), in recognition of accelerating health care costs and the need for care to be of value to patients.”

You may have heard of value-based medicine, but are we entering a new era of value-based medications or value-driven pharma?

Price transparency is great, but it has be combined with efficacy to get to value (price for the amount of benefit). Medical groups are catching on to how important value assessments are, because if patients can’t afford their medication, they won’t take their medication, and that obviously can turn into poor outcomes. Twenty-seven percent of American patients didn’t fill a prescription last year according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Survey. This trend seems likely to continue as we move toward higher-deductible plans, where those with insurance can have great difficulty affording medications.

Included in the ACC/AMA statement was a quote from Paul Heidenreich, MD, FACC, writing committee co-chair and vice-chair for Quality, Clinical Affairs and Analytics in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.  “There is growing recognition that a more explicit, transparent, and consistent evaluation of health care value is needed…These value assessments will provide a more complete examination of cardiovascular care, helping to generate the best possible outcomes within the context of finite resources.”

Spreading risk and payment to different members of the health care value chain is beginning to make it apparent to more people and organizations that resources are finite. Patients and their physicians are starting to ask which treatments are worth the cost and have best likelihood of adherence.

An outgrowth of the move toward digital health and accountable care is that we’re entering every patient into a potential personal clinical trial with their data followed as a longitudinal study, and we can look much more closely at efficacy and adherence and reasons why it happens and why it doesn’t.

It won’t be long before we start to see comparative effectiveness across a variety of treatments and across a variety of populations. When we can connect outcomes data, interventions and costs all in the same picture we begin to see where the value (price against results) is and where it isn’t.

The opportunity to assess value of treatments is bringing non-traditional players into the value-driven pharma arena. Samsung recently announced that they are becoming a drug company. According to Quartz:

“Electronics giant Samsung recently announced a foray into big pharma. The South Korean company is set to invest over $2 billion into biopharmaceuticals—drugs developed from biological sources (e.g. vaccines or gene therapies) as opposed to traditional chemical cocktails—with a focus on creating cheaper versions of existing therapies.”

The real advantage may be access to patient information via mobile. The Quartz article goes on to say:

“…cheapness won’t be Samsung’s only advantage. The company better known for its smartphones could also take advantage of the fact that the pharma industry has been slow to explore mobile health technology…The biotech industry is expected to generate sales of more than $220 billion in five years, Bloomberg reports, and Samsung expects to be taking a $1.8 billion slice of the pie by that time. The company will start by copying Enbrel (an arthritis therapy by Amgen Inc.) and Remicade (Johnson & Johnson’sautoimmune disease treatment) in the next couple of years.”

Samsung is going after arthritis, which Enbrel and Remicade treat. On the surface, this makes sense. Mobile devices are good at tracking and reporting what arthritis impairs– movement– opening up the opportunity for Samsung to close the loop on the effectiveness of their own drugs using their smart phones, tracking progress and improvement.

Pharma has been slow to explore mobile health and data science and slow to leverage social media and other sources of consumer health data effectively for a variety of reasons — some legal (we aren’t responsible for what  we don’t know) and some historical.

This could be a severe disadvantage when looking to leverage existing therapies. Combing through available data from existing research can provide new and cheaper alternatives and, with relatively easy biosimilar approval, see how they compare.

Industry observers are beginning to see this shift and this opportunity, raising alarm bells for big pharma. Are they listening? Over the past month there’s been a virtual outcry for a business model for Pharma that’s based on value. Ernst & Young released a report (.pdf)calling for “radical collaboration.” Dan Munro at Forbes picked out the key line and bold proclamation from the report:

“Almost every life sciences company, regardless of their product or offering, will soon be expected to help change behaviors and deliver better health outcomes.”

EY hits the nail on the head. The combination of value-based care, digital health, and mobile technologies is inevitably driving toward pharma price and evidence transparency and a much better look at the efficacy of various treatments.

Samsung came late to the smart phone market, then experimented with pricing and models before taking over the top place from Apple. Now focusing on biosimilars, Samsung could be following a similar pattern in pharma, testing to see what combinations will work best, powered by ongoing results in a closed feedback-loop system.

Munro asks the question, “To what extent, and in what ways, should pharma companies move beyond the product?” Samsung may be answering that question.

AthenaHealth’s Jonathan Bush echoed the chorus for a new pharma business model in April to a group of pharma executives saying:

“Take every drug you have and organize it by disease by the number of hospital days that could go away…Find the moments that matter financially and clinically.” And further, “Follow up on the prescriptions that are written and make sure the patients get those drugs but also ‘don’t end up in the hospital…Relentlessly follow up on all conditions for success…”

We wonder if “all conditions for success” might also include the condition of affordability.

Jamie Heywood, CEO of PatientsLikeMe, hinted at a value-based medication future in a Nature Medicine interview recently on their new collaboration with Genentech, saying, “What we need to do is get more value for health care, and value means you have competitive outcomes. And that’s what, in our longest dreams, I think PatientsLikeMe begins to bring to bear.”

Samsung is in a unique position to capitalize on social, mobile and, peer interaction. Munro writes in Forbes about a social network/app, Whisper, that is on a fast-track trajectory because of its anonymous posting. Pharma companies could learn great deal of information on the derailing of adherence to treatment by following these posts. And if they don’t, others will fill the void by both providing and applying data to physicians and consumers as well as pulling in data from consumers.

On the data provider and application side, one Startup Health company seeks to provide cost and value transparency of medications at the point of care and bring the price discussion into the exam room.

RxREVU provides data services via API to use peer-reviewed value-based medication decisions for clinicians and their patients (full disclosure, RxREVU is a client of VivaPhi, Leonard Kish’s agency). Because it’s an API, it could also be deployed in the context of a mobile app at the point of care.

This data has always existed, what’s new is the demand for it and how it’s applied.

On the data intake side, more clinically-focused companies such as GoGoHealth are allowing remote EHR intake, improving access to consumer health data, including social determinants of health, to allow for faster, individualized attention by providers (GoGoHealth, also a StartupHealth company, is mentored by Center of Health Engagement, Nayer’s organization). Part of that is allowing patients to lower barriers to enter the system, getting remote office visits and phone refills. A side product of these kinds of interactions is an understanding of what prevents and what enables patients from continuing on a course of treatment.

As providers and patients assume more of the risk and pay more of the bill, they are seeking solutions that can provide value-based treatment decisions that fit their personalized needs.

The most valuable solutions in a value-driven era will be those that we are able to customize based on information from a wide variety of sources and place the solutions into a contextual format in which patients ultimately have to treat themselves, including financial contexts. Those that stick with the old pharma model, leaving data and consumers-as-patients out of the mix, will wind up with much less valuable medicine.

Cyndy Nayer, the founder and CEO of the Center of Health Engagement, an agency promoting strategic investments in health value for employers, health plans and provider organizations. She has been called the ‘voice of value-based designs’ and selected by EY as a national thought leader in health care innovation.

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Drugmakers And NIH Band Together To Speed Up Research

Drugmakers And NIH Band Together To Speed Up Research | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

The National Institutes of Health is teaming up with major drug companies in a new effort to identify disease-related molecules and biological processes that could lead to future medicines.

The public-private partnership is called AMP, for the "Accelerating Medicines Partnership," and it will focus first on Alzheimer's disease, Type 2 diabetes, and two autoimmune disorders: rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

This is a five-year, $230 million venture. NIH is splitting the cost with industry. In addition to ten companies that include Pfizer, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson, nonprofits like the American Diabetes Association and the Alzheimer's Association have also joined.

They'll work together to identify the most promising biological targets for new therapies. All the scientific data produced by the venture will be shared publicly. "Even if we weren't working with companies we would do this," says Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH. He officially unveiled the partnership at a press event in Washington, D.C., and in a blog post. The Wall Street Journalreported on the venture late Monday.

Collins says after new targets are found, companies can then develop drugs that take advantage of them. The goal is to speed new therapies to market, while avoiding the costly and disappointing failures that currently plague the drug-development process.

The project will be managed by the Foundation for the NIH. It's not the first time that pharmaceutical companies have come together under its leadership to form research consortiums.

What sets this venture apart is its comprehensive approach in prioritizing diseases where the science is evolving and patients' needs are pressing, plus the breadth of this many companies and the NIH working together, says Mikael Dolsten, head of research and development at Pfizer.

"I have considerable enthusiasm that this is unique," says Dolsten. "It's complementary, and we should aspire high here."

Hopefully, the collaboration will help illuminate the fundamental basis of what's driving disease, says Lisa Olson, vice president of immunology research at AbbVie Bioresearch Center, Inc., one of the industry partners. Asked if she had seen a partnership similar to this one before, she said simply, "No."

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Digital Health: Will Pharma Follow or Lead? - Forbes

Digital Health: Will Pharma Follow or Lead? - Forbes | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

Time to step up or step out of the way?

The digital health movement is growing rapidly.  Almost everyday we hear of new technology, apps and ideas that bring the promise of improved medical care, health and wellness. From hand-held ultrasound devices to smart phone arrhythmia monitoring, the digital health movement isn’t only about expensive pedometers and the ‘gym elite’ but about key areas in health and wellness that will have a direct impact on medical care.    Pharma–for better or worse–has a seat at this table.

Yet there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between pharma and many of the innovations that are emerging. Perhaps it’s the very nature of these innovations that conflicts with the conservative pharmaceutical industry.  Perhaps it’s still a period of ‘watchful waiting’.  Or even, it could be yesterday’s brand managers, sales reps and administrators who, while caressing the piles of pills that define an industry, are just missing what many define as the next revolution since the personal computer.

Whatever the case, there are many compelling reasons for pharma to embrace digital health.  If not for today, certainly in the not so distant future.

The future of medical practice and pharmaceutical selling

The pressures on the practice of medicine are numerous.  From healthcare reform to the tsunami of clinical information and data, today’s providers are looking for ways to care and to cope.  Technology is an essential part of the solution.  And digital health is a central part of this equation.   The touch points for pharma are numerous and represent areas for engagement and support.  On demand information and analytics will shift the focus from bed side ‘rote memorization’  to “augmented digital expression” where a differential diagnosis and interventions come with the aid of a hand-held computer screen.  Further, the looming role of the electronic medical record will also set into motion a transformation from paper to electrons will catalyze the digital health movement and accelerate adoption. Many of these changes are happening now as a new generation of medical students begin to use their smart phones at bedside as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool with the same zeal as yesterday’s physicians who clung to their stethoscopes as validation of their clinical acumen.

The traditional role of the sales rep must also change.  The consultative nature of the brand detail will shift in parallel with the technology-driven changes in practice.  Pressing the flesh will transform to clinking a link and clinicians will adopt the conventions of today’s consumers and seek information in a controlled on-line setting. But perhaps more importantly, the days of typical case studies and efficacy charts will be replaced with a richer and more compelling presentation that are consistent with what this ‘techno’ generational  will simply expect.   And the experts themselves will change too–the standard practice of expert professorial engagement and peer to peer influence may be enhanced by none other than IBM IBM -1.1%‘s Watson and other ‘electronic’ thought-leaders.

Patients and caregivers will play an important role in the evolution of healthcare and digital health.  The emergence of “citizen scientists” who are empowered by increasingly focused and filtered information will act–alone and with like-minded people–to take greater control of care.  Self-advocacy will change ‘population-based’ treatment guidelines to more personalized care.  And the pandering “ask your doctor” headlines of DTC advertisements will shift to data-based claims that empower the patient and make a much stronger and direct link between the pharmaceutical industry and the true end-user, not the physician.

Maybe it’s digital narcolepsy?

Whatever the cause,  pharma needs to take notice. The cases studies and talking points that drive a traditional brand detail must be rethought and redefined in the context of tomorrow’s clinical reality.  A reality that’s actually happening today.

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FDA Lacks Priorities for Social Media for Pharma

FDA Lacks Priorities for Social Media for Pharma | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

Last December at the FDA-CMS Summit, Douglas C. Throckmorton, MD, Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) said, “This is a transformational time in the healthcare system. Expectations, resources, and challenges all changing,” but he forgot to mention social media for pharma companies.

He pointed out that “today many more treatments are available, but patterns of manufacturing, use and access to information have shifted dramatically. Patients and clinicians want:

New products sooner that are safer and more effectiveDeliver on the promise of basic science discoveriesIncreased involvement in processAccurate and understandable information sooner, especially in post-marketing”

Who could argue with that? And just a few of the key priorities for 2013 would include:

Focus on Patient Participation in Drug Development ProcessPatient Participation in Medical Product DiscussionsPatient-Focused Drug DevelopmentMore systematic and expansive approach to obtaining the patient perspective on disease severity or the unmet medical need in a therapeutic area to benefit the drug review process

With all of this focus on the patient, does regulation or corporate social media policy need to change to allow a real dialogue about medicines? Unlike the 2013 Strategic Priorities established for FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), CDER’s strategic plan isn’t so… strategic. The plan doesn’t include any guidance for social media. Industry claims that it is working under antiquated laws and a lack of guidance from the agency. Those claims aren’t off-base, particularly when you consider the only social media guidance the FDA has issued so far has been in the form of warning letters about the use of the Facebook “like” button.

A core group of new technologies at companies such as Abbott, Novartis, Actelion, Novo Nordisk, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, ProPharma, Genentech, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Janssen, Takeda, Vertex, Merck, Sharp & Dohme, Watson, Nektar, Wyeth, Schering-Plough and Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals is expected to grow rapidly for communication and education purposes. Industry expects social networking, podcasts and online video to grow in use as critical tools for communicating disease state and product information

 

I’m on a panel at ePharma Summit in NYC this week, Social Media for Pharma: A Match Made in Heaven or Hell? moderated by Bob Brooks, Executive Vice President, WEGO Health. Michael Weiss, Crohn’s Health Activist, Tiffany Peterson, Lupus Health Activist, Dee Sparacio, Ovarian Cancer Health Activist, and I will be discussing how advocate groups use social media to communicate and educate their group members.

Marketers are seeing the tools as a way to spread information rapidly and educate through podcasts, video and social networks.  They also have found that these mediums prove to hold very effective messaging for those who they communicate to.  For Pharma companies to be truly successful today they need to find a way to communicate successfully internally to their market place of physicians and those selling the drugs, but also externally to communicate the effectiveness of those buying the products. What can Pharma learn about interacting with their community online from patient advocacy groups?

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Top pharma companies in social media: whose opinion are we polling?

Top pharma companies in social media: whose opinion are we polling? | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
An entry in the '100 Steps for Pharma' series Millions of words have been written over recent years across media channels about the relative performance of pharmaceutical companies in social enviro...
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Pharma's digital health strategy: four options

Pharma's digital health strategy: four options | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

David Shaywitz writes:

 

As pharma companies confront the digital health wave and contemplate their digital health strategy, I see four high-level options:

 

1. Opportunistic adjacency: Leverage healthcare knowledge and regulatory expertise to develop technology in a related but distinct area, ultimately anticipating it evolves into a discrete business unit, analogous to animal health (e.g. Lilly’s Elanco), generics (Novartis subsidiary Sandoz), nutrition, and consumer health.

 

2. Follow with interest: Determine that digital health, while promising, is still in its earliest days.  Just as some pharmas may be relieved they resisted investing in the first round of stem cell technologies, for instance, they might be similarly inclined to adopt a watchful waiting posture, and give the field some time to settle out.  Functional areas could utilize specific digital health solutions when they evolve to the point they are available from vendors, similar to the way other solutions are utilized by the industry.

 3. Elevate: Set up a dedicated “digital health” division envisioned not as a standalone business unit, but tightly integrated and explicitly intended to support the main pharma business, similar to the way many companies have dedicated “biomarker” divisions, for example.  This group could be responsible for monitoring external developments and internalizing and operationalizing the most promising technologies.

4. Planned obsolescence: My personal choice, this approach would set up a dedicated “digital health” group, as in 3, but with the stated mission of catalyzing technology adoption, and with the explicit expectation that it would wind down within a set time (say five years).  If successful, awareness of the relevant digital health opportunities and expertise in their appropriate utilization would by that point be located in the individual functional areas.

 


Via Andrew Spong
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Andrew Spong's curator insight, January 25, 2013 2:52 AM

In my opinion, 4 is the only viable alternative.

 

However, rather than effectively innoculating the business against innovation by hiving it off in the way David describes in order to reintroduce it in a nominal 'five years' (the classical 'long grass' time frame; imagine asking this question in 2008 when most of the digital health technologies we now use didn't exist), I'd favour seeding innovation across all business units simultaneously by supporting the intrapreneurs within each team who've shown aptitude.

 

Some will thrive, some will fail; however, digital health evolution will be supported across the entire enterprise in some capacity which will prove to be of greater utility than merely supporting an 'innovation showcase' at the margins of the business.

 

The former strategy attempts to side-step the major obstacle here (implementing and integrating changes that will have a real impact); the latter strategy confronts it head-on.

 

Pharma has to get better at failing faster, and learning from its experiences in order to inform its next experiments.

 

It's the science of digital health.

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Pharma and healthcare innovation: ten steps forward

Pharma and healthcare innovation: ten steps forward | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
If one takes a long view of the history of technological innovation in business, a pattern can be perceived:

An innovation emerges
A cohort of early adopters perceive its superiority to existing solutions, identify the benefits it can bring to their business, and begin to evangelise
Resistance is encountered from users of the incumbent dominant technologies, assisted by those who have a vested interest in its continuation such as vendors, developers, and service providers who have built business propositions around the existing solutions
A break point is reached: the technology either continues to attract adopters organically until it becomes a dominant solution, or else it falters and becomes a residual technology, dwindling to the point where it is used only by ideologically committed devotees and hobbyists
The majority are now users of the dominant solution, with all its benefits, and all its flaws.

However, the restless early adopter cohort will long since have moved on to explore the possibilities of more recent innovations,

For them, evolution is not over, and innovation will never cease.

Those innovators within pharma who are forging its digital future are not distracted by the chimerical threat of adverse events, interminable discussions regarding regulations, or the comfortable futility of considering the various merits and disadvantages of this week’s new hardware or social platform.

In order to thrive within healthcare’s global future, pharma innovators understand that companies will need to:

Reform corporate strategies around the principles of social business
Be instrumental in precipitating the transition from treatment to prevention in healthcare
Find ways to add value to the shared decision making agenda
Socialise the clinical trial process
Become a trusted provider of accurate, balanced information about its own products in discoverable contexts such as Wikipedia
Move to, and then move beyond, mobile-first development
Make sensor technologies, genomics and personalised medicine central to the future development of their enterprise
Adopt open technologies
Deploy secure, cloud-based solutions
Support intrapreneurial activities

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Allergan uses augmented reality to promote OTC eye drug

Allergan uses augmented reality to promote OTC eye drug | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
Allergan is using image-recognition smartphone app Blippar to bring print adverts for its OTC dry eye treatment Optive Plus to life.

Advertisements run this month in Ophthalmology Times Europe and in Ocular Surgery News will offer an augmented reality experience to readers who have downloaded the Blippar app.

Mark Wilson, marketing director, ocular surface disease, ophthalmology, Allergan, said: “Allergan’s ads reach ophthalmologists in a new and more engaging way, demonstrating how our product actually works, all by hovering a smart phone or tablet over a still image in a journal.

“In this case when the doctor points his phone at the Blippar enabled ad, three buttons appear allowing you to make the choice of immediately watching the mode of action animation, viewing the molecular structure or going straight to the optive.co.uk website and of course reviewing any of the relevant references for our product Optive Plus.”

Allergan was assisted on the campaign by Publicis Life Brands Resolute, who said the technology has “massive and enriching potential in healthcare communications” with potential applications in product packaging and patient information leaflets.

Blippar, which launched in the UK last summer, is the first image-recognition smartphone app to bring augmented reality and instantaneous content to real-world newspapers, magazines, products and posters.

Augmented reality provides a view of a physical environment, augmenting it with computer generated input based on sounds, video, graphics or GPS information.
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