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Roche adopts Google apps

Roche adopts Google apps | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
Having recently moved to Google’s cloud, this story is very appropriate for our blog.

It has been announced earlier this year that Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Roche, will be rolling out Google’s email collaboration suite. The roll out is expected to be completed by the end of this year to the company’s 90,000 employees in 140 countries, which makes it largest Google Apps deployment yet.

According to Dr. Alan Hippe, CIO, Google Apps was selected by Roche since the separation between its calendar system and current email is an obstacle for collaborating effectively. On the enterprise blog of Google, Hippe also mentioned that being able to use the apps simply by using a control panel to enable them rather than deploying and planning for infrastructure that is complex in centers for data will assist in focusing on their main business and thus help save the lives of patients.

Using Google Apps will also preclude the necessity of virtual private networks to allow secure access to self-hosted system. This will ultimately reduce the support burden of IT departments.

Roche expects this to give them not just a strategic advantage but to bring it closer together. Here at Nitro, we certainly love Google Apps!
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IBM's Reinvention Should Inspire Flat Pharma Businesses - Forbes

IBM's Reinvention Should Inspire Flat Pharma Businesses - Forbes | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
The pharmaceutical giants look remarkably similar to the IBM of the late 80′s and early 90′s. For those of us who remember the IBM of that era, this is bad news. They can continue the path of the railroad industry early in the 20th century. Alternatively, they can look to the path IBM took when its future prospects were grim. Remarkably, IBM demonstrated how it’s possible for a large company to shift from a product-centric culture to a customer and service centered company. The handwriting is on the wall for pharma companies: They will succeed or fail based not on how many drugs they sell, but on how well their offerings improve health outcomes.

The marketing myopia of the railroad industry is well documented in the world of business yet most organizations makes the same mistake. Railroad businesses assumed they were in the “railroad” business, rather than the “transportation” business. Consequently, they missed out on countless opportunities to pursue growth in the auto industry. In contrast, IBM was able to use their near extinction to reinvent themselves over a 10 year period. The result has put Lou Gerstner in the pantheon of turnaround CEOs: A 10x increase in IBM’s stock value. In contrast, most pharmaceutical companies aren’t spending enough time thinking like IBM. Looking at the 10-year stock charts of these organizations you see flat or declining stock prices. It’s quite clear that reinvention has yet to happen for virtually all of the Life Science companies. Pharma’s Thrive or Survive Questions

Do pharmaceutical companies see themselves in the drug business or the disease management business? Or, where possible, in the disease prevention business? These are the key questions that will determine whether they will survive and thrive. Many of these diseases lend themselves to the use applications (mobile & web) or biometric devices. This is going to drive a greatly expanded focus on non-traditional partnerships.

An example of how a pharmaceutical company could transition from being product centric to being customer centric is doing something like the company, Ambucor. Ambucor provides Ambulatory Electrocardiographic and Remote Device Monitoring services for cardiologists. Pharma companies already have deep relationships with cardiologists. Imagine them buying or partnering with a company like Ambucor to sell that service. This would provide a more complete offering where their heart-related drugs may or may not play a role, just as IBM products may or may not play a role in their services. [See video below for examples directly related to pharma's current business.]

IBM Lessons
Most pharma companies are where computer makers were in the late 80′s: the handwriting on the wall is clear but pharma is still mainly focused on milking the cash cows just as DEC, Data General, Wang were in the 80′s. We know how that turned out. It was only when IBM brought in Lou Gerstner having recognized the threat, were they able to drive wrenching changes. During the subsequent 10 years, the stock price of this mature company grew nearly 10x — a stark contrast to the flat or declining stock prices of most pharma companies over the last 10 years.

While IBM’s transition looks smart, and without pain in hindsight, that was far from the case. At the time it was extremely controversial. Most business magazines characterized IBM as a soon-to-be-extinct dinosaur. At the same time, conventional wisdom was that Gerstner needed to break up IBM to drive shareholder value, not a massive transformation. Turning over half of their workforce added additional pressure on Gerstner. However, in the end, IBM came away much stronger in contrast to their competitors such as DEC.

Once pharma companies redefine themselves in the disease management/prevention business, they will recognize that they are way behind the market leaders. While they wait for the future to be defined by others, non-traditional competitors are taking action. Just look at Aetna. They have aggressively bought an array of companies including mobile startups such as iTriage. Pharma may wake up and realize they are late to the party and the most interesting companies already have found their dance partner.

Pharma Strengths Can Create Complete Solution
As IBM had a number of strengths it could leverage into its reinvention process, Pharma too has strengths such as:

Provider Relationships: Through its Sales and Medical Affairs organizations, Pharma has many relationships and a keen understanding of the healthcare landscape (though provider access has been dramatically curtailed). They know proper ways to work with healthcare professionals for research as well as the reimbursement environment for particular conditions.
Clinical Trials Management: Pharma has a critical competence in managing clinical trials with an array of patients and the necessary requirements to have research findings that can pass muster with the FDA and/or health plans. These skills could be scaled down to simpler studies on mobile apps, for example.
Long-term view: Pharma hasn’t been afraid to make long-term bets utilizing its deep pockets. Fortunately, most technology bets require dramatically less resource than what they are used to.
With ever-increasing requirements to run healthcare more efficiently and providers who often don’t possess the skills to address new reimbursement outcomes requirements, technology-enabled services are going to become more common. Purveyors of technology-enabled services don’t sell technology. Instead, they are selling an outcome. A straightforward example is ZocDoc — they sell a fuller docket of patient appointments for doctors (not technology). An example from the clinical side (Ambucor) was mentioned above. The cardiologist maintains their patient relationship while expanding the services they can offer through this turnkey service. There are other out-of-the-box ideas that can reap rewards, but I expect most will be services provided directly to healthcare providers.

The list below contains examples of technology-enabled services pharma can provide if they were to focus on disease management or prevention. One of the non-obvious benefits of operating a multi-tenant SaaS business is the insights that can be gleaned through the broad dataset from many customers hosted in one place. For example, ZocDoc will have supply and demand insights no one else has for healthcare services by helping consumers find open appointment slots. It’s not hard to imagine the insights that could be learned from the examples below.

Population Management: Patient-centered Medical Homes and Accountable Care Organizations place demands on providers that many are ill-prepared to address. Keeping track of the portion of their patient population that is up-to-date on vaccines, health checks, etc. and scheduling them for appropriate services is a big challenge. Already pharma pay doctors a significant amount of money to get patients to complete registries. Massively expanding this can not only provide a service to providers but also provide necessary data input for pharma’s research needs.
Family Medical History: Related to the previous item, Medicare announced its first wellness oriented reimbursement for an annual wellness visit. Relatively few healthcare providers have taken advantage of this. Not only could pharma help them with this proactive new revenue stream, the insights that could be gained would be phenomenal for pharma.
Rx for apps: Before long, rather than being prescribed a pill, people will be prescribed apps that have established an evidence-base that proves they are effective. Vendors such as Happtique will provide what amounts to an “app formulary” for providers. Not only enabling the prescription of an app but the accompanying app adherence could be a valuable service.
Telehealth: Related to the previous example, more and more services can be provided remotely. Providing the tools and services to manage conditions remotely that aren’t device related is very possible. One of the first areas this is being done in is behavioral health. It will expand.
Remote monitoring: Ambucor is one example. There is a wide range of remote monitoring devices. These span devices, disease and health management. While it can be used for serious diseases, it’s not hard to imagine that health coaches could provide a service to manage wellness programs as personal biometric devices become more pervasive.
Some of the skills necessary to succeed on the above items can be gained by focusing on items that are also near-term issues. Patient engagement is a big focus for most Life Sciences companies. For example, there is an overlap of the need that providers have for patient education materials with Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements that pharma could be pivotal in helping them address. In addition, pharma has long had various scales given to patients such as those focused on pain or depression. A key step on the path to a broader disease management program would be to have scales that are highly interactive between the patient and their providers. The insights gleaned from enabling are critical to enabling that future scenario.

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TechCrunch | What Pharma Can Learn From the Railroads and IBM

TechCrunch | What Pharma Can Learn From the Railroads and IBM | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
Pharmaceutical companies are in trouble with ongoing patent cliffs with a clear choice facing them. They can follow the path of the railroad industry which is the path most are on right now. Alternatively, they can follow the path IBM took when its future was similarly bleak. IBM demonstrated how it’s possible for a large company to shift from a product-centric culture to a customer and service centered company. It’s clear that pharma companies will succeed or fail based not on how many drugs they sell, but on how well their offerings improve health outcomes.
The marketing myopia of the railroad industry is well documented in the world of business yet industry after industry makes the same mistake. Railroad companies thought they were in the “railroad” business, rather than the “transportation” business. As a consequence, they missed out on countless opportunities to pursue growth in the auto industry. In contrast, IBM was able to use their existential threat to reinvent themselves over a critical 10 year period. The result: A 10x increase in their stock value. In contrast, most pharmaceutical companies aren’t spending enough time thinking like IBM. Looking at the 10-year stock charts of these organizations you see flat or declining stock prices. This is a clear indication that they haven’t reinvented themselves. The Key Question Pharma Must Answer

Does the pharmaceutical company see themselves in the drug business or the disease management business? Or, where possible, in the disease prevention business? This is the critical questions to survive and thrive. Many of these diseases lend themselves to the use applications (mobile & web) or biometric devices. This is going to drive a greatly expanded focus on non-traditional partnerships.

An example of how a pharmaceutical company could transition from being product centric to being customer centric is doing something like the company, Ambucor. Ambucor provides Ambulatory Electrocardiographic and Remote Device Monitoring services for cardiologists. Pharma companies already have deep relationships with cardiologists. Imagine them buying or partnering with a company like Ambucor to sell that service. This would provide a more complete offering where their heart-related drugs may or may not play a role, just as IBM products may or may not play a role in their services.

Lessons from IBM
Most pharma companies are where computer makers were in the late 80′s: the handwriting on the wall is clear but pharma is still mainly focused on milking the cash cows just as DEC, Data General, Wang were in the 80′s. It was only when IBM brought in Lou Gerstner having recognized the threat, were they able to drive wrenching changes. During his 10 years, the stock price of this mature company grew nearly 10x — a stark contrast to the stock price of most pharma companies over the last 10 years.

While IBM’s transition looks brilliant, and without pain in hindsight, that was far from the case. At the time it was extremely controversial. Most business magazines characterized IBM as a dinosaur. At the same time, conventional wisdom was that Gerstner needed to break up IBM to drive shareholder value, not a massive transformation. Turning over half of their workforce created additional heat for Gerstner. However, at the end of it, IBM came away much stronger in contrast to their competitors such as DEC.

Once pharma companies redefine themselves in the disease management/prevention business, they will recognize that they are far behind the market leaders. While they wait for the future to be defined by others, non-traditional competitors are taking action. Just look at Aetna. They have aggressively bought an array of companies including mobile startups such as iTriage. Pharma may wake up and realize they are late to the party and the most interesting companies already have found their dance partner.

Leveraging Pharma Strengths to Provide a Complete Solution
Just as IBM has a number of strengths it could leverage into its reinvention process, Pharma also has strengths such as:

Provider Relationships: Through its Medical Affairs and Sales organizations, Pharma has many relationships and a keen understanding of the healthcare landscape (though provider access has waned). They know proper ways to work with healthcare professionals for research as well as the reimbursement environment for particular conditions.Clinical Trials Management: Pharma has a critical competence in managing clinical trials with an array of patients and the necessary requirements to have research findings that can pass muster with the FDA and/or health plans.Information Technology Management: The IT departments of many pharma companies are sophisticated given the importance of security, research database management and the like.Long-term view: Pharma hasn’t been afraid to make long-term bets utilizing its deep pockets. Fortunately, most technology bets require dramatically less resource than what they are used to.

With increasing requirements to run healthcare services more efficiently and providers who don’t necessarily possess the skills to address new reimbursement outcomes requirements, I believe technology-enabled services are going to become more common. Purveyors of technology-enabled services aren’t selling technology. They are selling an outcome. A straightforward example on the business side is ZocDoc — they sell a fuller docket of patient appointments for doctors rather than technology. An example from the clinical side (Ambucor) was mentioned above. The cardiologist maintains their patient relationship while expanding the services they can offer through this turnkey service. There are other out-of-the-box ideas that can reap rewards, but I expect most will be services provided directly to healthcare providers.

The list below contains examples of technology-enabled services pharma can provide if they were to focus on disease management or prevention. One of the non-obvious benefits of operating a multi-tenant SaaS business is the insights that can be gleaned through the broad dataset from many customers hosted in one place. For example, ZocDoc will have supply and demand insights no one else has for healthcare services by helping consumers find open appointment slots. It’s not hard to imagine the insights that could be learned from the examples below.

Population Management: Patient-centered Medical Homes and Accountable Care Organizations place demands on providers that many are ill-prepared to address. Keeping track of the portion of their patient population that is up-to-date on vaccines, health checks, etc. and scheduling them for appropriate services is a big challenge. Already pharma pay doctors a significant amount of money to get patients to complete registries. Massively expanding this can not only provide a service to providers but also provide necessary data input for pharma’s research needs.Family Medical History: Related to the previous item, Medicare announced its first wellness oriented reimbursement for an annual wellness visit. Relatively few healthcare providers have taken advantage of this. Not only could pharma help them with this proactive new revenue stream, the insights that could be gained would be phenomenal for pharma.Rx for apps: Before long, rather than being prescribed a pill, people will be prescribed apps that have established an evidence-base that proves they are effective. Vendors such as Happtique will provide what amounts to an “app formulary” for providers. Not only enabling the prescription of an app but the accompanying app adherence could be a valuable service.Remote monitoring: Ambucor is one example. There is a wide range of remote monitoring devices. These span devices, disease and health management. While it can be used for serious diseases, it’s not hard to imagine that health coaches could provide a service to manage wellness programs as personal biometric devices become more pervasive.Telehealth: Related to the previous example, more and more services can be provided remotely. Providing the tools and services to manage conditions remotely that aren’t device related is very possible. One of the first areas this is being done in is behavioral health. It will expand.

An interesting byproduct of this approach is it would put pharma on a path to competing with healthIT vendors. Pharma’s own IT departments have focused their skills inward, however, it’s conceivable through strategic realignment and acquisitions that those skills could be pointed externally. This could be a formidable new competitor to traditional healthIT vendors.

There are people reading this who know far more about the Pharma industry than me. I’ve been asked enough times how pharma should reinvent itself that I gave it some thought. The only thing I know for sure is continuing the path that most pharma is on will lead to a continued flat business (and stock price). Where have I missed the boat? What opportunities for reinvention have I missed?
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Pharma Dives Deeper Into Social Marketing | ClickZ

Pharma Dives Deeper Into Social Marketing | ClickZ | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
A much-anticipated Facebook game from Boehringer Ingelheim, makers of Dulcolax, Zantac, and an array of prescription medications, is just one example of how pharma brands are plowing ahead with digital campaigns. Despite hand wringing about a lack of clear regulatory guidance, BI, Pfizer, and others were already breaking new ground before new draft social media guidelines were unveiled by the Food and Drug Administration in December.

Syrum is a social game in development by BI that has been in beta since last year. It promises to let players attack deadly diseases from their own virtual laboratories, discover new drugs, market them, and share and work with friends, according to the game website Syrum-Game.com. Players will be able to participate in clinical trials and learn more about patents.

The game initiative "shows a willingness to be in the space and test things out," said Alison Woo, director of social media for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Woo spoke on a panel Wednesday at the ePharma Summit in New York, and mentioned the BI game as an example of digital innovation for a pharma firm. The game may also help the industry at large to "overcome reputation challenges," she suggested, referring to the typically cautious approach taken by pharma brands using social media.

Current Google searches for "Viagra" and "counterfeit Viagra" turn up ads from the Pfizer brand, but pharma marketers have not always been comfortable using this otherwise popular form of digital advertising. In 2009, the industry was reluctant to try special search ad formats devised by Google to appease their legal counsels and the FDA. But Pfizer is one company willing to test the waters. Google search ads stating, "Counterfeit Pills Can Be Dangerous" link to the Viagra YouTube channel. There, people can watch a series of investigative reports that tell the story of how counterfeit drugs are manufactured, trafficked, and sold to consumers by illegal online pharmacies. The goal of the videos and some Viagra search ads is to drive people to a list of legitimate online pharmacies selling the real thing.

Another important goal of the Viagra campaign: to push down otherwise prominent organic search results that link to illegal sites. Search results "for fake Viagra rank pretty highly," said ePharma panelist Zoe Dunn, principal of Hale Advisors.

While unique, the YouTube effort exemplifies the risk aversion of pharma brands, many of which did not want to create YouTube content or channels before the video platform introduced its "Safe Watch" feature. It allows channel owners with 10 or more videos to control the videos that show up on watch pages. Exactly 10 videos were published to the Viagra channel in August, all of which are part of the "Counterfeiters are smart. You can be smarter" heading. In addition, the Viagra videos cannot be embedded elsewhere, a precautionary measure Google recommends to sensitive brands.

The FDA recently published its draft guidance for pharma marketers, only somewhat satisfying requests for clearer rules on how to handle posts, comments, and videos from people that mention off-label uses of drugs. For one thing, the new guidelines call on drug makers to respond to some remarks about off-label uses in a non-public forum, such as an email, rather than on Twitter, Facebook, or some other public platform.

"This is your chance to show that pharma can use social media appropriately and in a way that really does benefit patients," wrote Jonathan Richman in reference to the draft guidelines. Richman, group director of strategic planning for digital agency Possible Worldwide, posted an in-depth interpretation of the guidelines on his Dose of Digital site.

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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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Sanofi, Pfizer and NHS iPhone and Android Apps: Mobile Health Innovation | Nitro Digital

Sanofi, Pfizer and NHS iPhone and Android Apps: Mobile Health Innovation | Nitro Digital | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
According a report published by ABI Research in 2011, the mobile health market is currently worth around £77million with 44million health apps downloaded last year. There have been a number of new innovative pharma apps released in the course of 2011.
In partnership with the US National Kidney Foundation, Pfizer, a real social media heavyweight in the industry, launched Manage CVD Risk in Reduced GFR app, designed for healthcare professionals to reduce the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). In 2011, IBGStar by Sanofi has become the first monitoring system for blood glucose that has been cleared by the FDA which directly connects to Apple’s iPod touch and iPhone available in Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Italy. For a quick overview of the app’s features, watch the video below. Also released last year was MyAsthmaLog the NHS’s Android app designed to assist young people and children with asthma self-management by allowing them to construct an individual asthma plan and keep track of appointments and asthma attacks. For more detail, watch the video below.
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Abbott Digital Health Check: Website Review- pharma engagement

Abbott Digital Health Check: Website Review- pharma engagement | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
Welcome to the first edition of our new Digital Health Check series. In this feature, we will be evaluating pharmaceutical brands’ digital marketing performance focusing on various online channels, platforms and campaigns, highlighting best-practice elements as well as a set of recommendations.

I chose Abbott Laboratories as the subject of my first review for two reasons: 1) the company has been demonstrating impressive financial growth in the past year with strong profit margins and 13.4 percent share price increase since last year, and 2) it is one of the biggest drug-maker in developing countries like India where social media is booming right now. With the range of products and therapy areas they are involved in, Abbott has endless amount of online marketing opportunities. However, at present, the brand’s online presence is rather weak compared to digital heavyweights like Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim.

For this review, I’m focusing on Abbott’s website, the hub of the brand’s digital marketing activity. The website will be assessed according to its usability based on ‘accessibility’, ‘branding’, ‘navigation’, and ‘content’.

1) Accessibility – Factors that might keep the visitor from accessing the site.

Accessibility is arguably the most crucial factor when it comes to site usability. You may have the best looking site in the industry but if it is not compatible with your visitors’ browsers or loads slowly, you are at risk of losing a significant amount of traffic.

Abbott’s site performs well in terms of accessibility. There are no flash elements on the site and the ‘text size button’ feature is a particularly nice touch. The site however could benefit from a mobile site. According to Google, mobile health queries represent 18 percent of total search traffic, compared to 10 percent a year ago (Search Engine Watch 2011). With mobile search on the rise, having a well-designed and functional mobile site is a real must!

2) Identity – The clarity of your brand’s identity and offering.

As soon as visitors land on your site, within seconds it should be clear to them what your brand is all about and what products/services you offer to them. This is usually done through a home page feature, or intro text.

On Abbott’s site, while the logo is prominent on all pages, the tagline, which is hidden in the top right-hand corner, needs to be further emphasised. There appears to be two different styles of logos, which indicate a bit of an ‘identity crisis’, not to mention that they both click through to the home page. There is no clear indication on the home page that Abbott is a global healthcare company.

3) Navigation – Having a clear path to the information they are looking for

Organising your website’s structure and content to effectively target different types of users is crucial. Abbott’s website does this particularly well. The home page features a ‘Resources for…’ section, which breaks content down according to types of users i.e.: HCPs, investors, journalists, patients and caregivers, students, and job seekers. This way, when a visitor lands on the home page they can find what they are looking for in a matter of seconds.

The golden rule for achieving top quality website usability is that information must be available in no more than three clicks. Abbott’s website is a prime example of this. Moreover, there is also a good deal of interlinking between pages, which is not only good for SEO but also helps users find relevant information on the site.

My only suggestion would be to emphasise the main navigation bar further. There are quite a few links on the home page so it can be difficult to determine where to go next. You always need to think about the user-journey. When a visitor lands on your homepage, what do you want them to see and where do you want to lead them? What about people who land on pages other than the home page, will they be able to find information quickly?

4) Content – Clear, consistent and well-organised

Generally speaking, Abbott’s website content is clear and well organised. The content is broken up into short paragraphs and there is extensive use of headings throughout the site, which is perfect for allowing the reader to skim through the page.

However, there is some room for improvement. Firstly, the text could be broken down into columns further rather than being stretched across the whole width of the page. Secondly, the news on the home page should include teasers to entice the reader to find out more as it has been done for the ‘Features’ section.

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Digital marketing captures a greater ‘share of mind’ among pharma marketing

Digital marketing captures a greater ‘share of mind’ among pharma marketing | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
Digital communication channels are all the rage in marketing programs at pharma companies, even as the industry watches guardedly for new regulatory actions from FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP; formerly DDMAC). The industry is not standing still in anticipation of future DDMAC activity—but is proceeding with more caution than other consumer-goods marketers.

That’s one of the general conclusions of a new study from Cutting Edge Information (Durham, NC), which published Pharmaceutical Digital Marketing and Social Media: Managing Growth, Mitigating Risk and Mastering Strategy late last year. Cutting Edge typically does syndicated research and publishes aggregated data; in this case, 31 companies were involved.

In 2011, for the first time, digital media has exceeded traditional media in 2011 (Fig. 1), constituting 54.7% of the media “mix.” Cutting Edge is careful to define “mix” not as a measure of where marketing dollars are spent (which, generally, they did not analyze across all media), but in terms of the number of projects or activities that a pharma marketer engages in. It further distinguished “traditional digital” (mostly, developing and operating a website) from social media and mobile communication platforms. Mobile is the far-and-away leader in recent growth, up 288% over 2009 (but coming from a very small base). Social media is showing 99% growth over the three-year period.

In digging into the objectives of mobile communication channels, Cutting Edge found that nearly half (46%) of applications were for physician marketing—including sophisticated mobile apps for analyzing medical conditions that are available through iPhone and other online app stores. Another 17% were for medical affairs, including MSL programs, thought leader management and the like. Only 14% is currently directed to consumers.

Overall, however, “Pharma is in the process of deciding which part of the mobile app fray it wants to join,” says Cutting Edge, which views the situation as choosing between clinician-directed apps, patient-directed ones, or both—with the latter option being the most common. Cutting Edge sees this as a reflection of industry evolution. “If Pharma 1.0 was the blockbuster business model and Pharma 2.0 is the current model of diversified drug portfolios, … then Pharma 3.0 represents a greater emphasis on health outcomes.” Pharma will be competing in the outcomes-oriented apps field with other sectors, including healthcare providers, payers and retailers. “Instead of the DTC model of marketing drugs, apps will reflect the growing importance of offering health solutions.”

Staffing is growing
Pharma companies are building up their in-house capabilities, but it is still very much a work in progress. “In general as newer functions—89% of surveyed companies’ digital marketing groups have been in place for less than three years—they are neither fully staffed nor fully funded. In fact, many groups have only a single dedicated FTE” [full-time equivalent employee], says Cutting Edge.

In looking at actual digital media budgets, the biggest companies have an annual budget in excess of $2 million, while the average for all companies surveyed is $733,000. But there are exceptions—when analyzed at a brand level at product launch, digital marketing activities averaged $1.66 million, and one company spent nearly $10 million on its campaign.

Despite OPDP guardrails on social media activities, “The fact is that pharma is doing social media—and the demonstrable change in such a short amount of time is quite remarkable,” says Cutting Edge. The survey found that 56% of companies are actively monitoring social networks; a like percentage is targeting physicians with social media tools, and 52% are using social media for corporate communications and public relations. The biggest challenge to use of social media, according to survey participants, is the regulation of off-label communications; demonstrating an ROI, and adverse-event monitoring and reporting followed closely behind. Some 57% of respondents note that the lack of effective FDA guidance in social media is affecting their strategy. Most pharma companies (indeed, most large companies of any type) employ outside advertising, marketing or market research organizations to assist in developing and operating their marketing plans; but in the case of new digital media, the pharmacos are struggling to identify their own goals and overall strategy. When they look to outside agencies, the frustration continues; Fig. 2 shows the responses to questions about the quality of services available from outside agencies. Interestingly, apparently no one rated agencies performance as “very good;” and the one category with the best scores, “executing a digital strategy,” rated only 30% as “good”.

Niche players
Cutting Edge says that pharmacos have two options to improve this situation: develop the digital capabilities in-house—with a dedicated digital marketing group; the other is re-evaluate outside-agency capabilities. “Many marketing groups find it convenient to delegate digital marketing responsibilities to the same firm that handles traditional marketing such as print, television and radio,” but these companies either have fumbled their responsibilities, or have simply outsourced the digital function itself to a third party. Cutting Edge says that there is a growing niche of digital marketing agencies specializing in “navigating pharma’s complicated regulatory landscape … with this specific skill set comes a price tag higher than a standard digital agency.” But this avenue might be the preferred direction to get “the peace of mind that the niche agency has a track record of compliance and success.”

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AZ taps electronic patient records for real-world evidence collaboration

AZ taps electronic patient records for real-world evidence collaboration | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
AstraZeneca is to use anonymised real-world data from European electronic patient records to gain a better picture of how its medicines perform once they reach the market.

The pharma company has signed a three-year deal with IMS Health for access to existing anonymised electronic health records - which include clinical outcome, economic and treatment pattern data.

The records will provide "real-world evidence based on observational and retrospective studies throughout Europe," according to AstraZeneca

The company said the information would be used to "inform the delivery of effective and cost-efficient healthcare."

In addition to broadening its understanding of its current product portfolio, AstraZeneca also hopes to use the information to inform its future discovery and clinical development programmes.

Greater understanding of how existing drugs perform in real-world settings could also help it to position new drugs favourably in reimbursement and health technology assessment (HTA) discussions.

AstraZeneca and IMS plan to develop a customised research and analysis tool to interrogate the data, which will be used to identify gaps in existing treatment that could be addressed by new medicines.

The main focus of the collaboration will be on chronic diseases, spanning several therapeutic categories.

AstraZeneca’s president of R&D, Martin Mackay, described the alliance as "a key milestone in our commitment to understand the impact of our medicines in the real world, beyond what we see in controlled trials."

The deal recognises that tightly-controlled protocols in clinical trials cannot take into account variations in doctors' prescribing habits and the way the public actually take medicines.

AstraZeneca said the information gained would paint a picture of unmet needs in the current standard of care and treatment patterns across a number of therapeutic areas, with an emphasis on chronic illnesses.

Pharma companies have understood for some time that there is a benefit from the inclusion of observational, non-international studies in drug development programmes - even if the concept is not universally applied in practice.

The company’s latest collaboration with IMS Health complements this emerging trend.

Jon Resnick, IMS Health's vice president of real-world evidence solutions, said: "This joint initiative reflects a shared perspective on the transformative power of real-world evidence on global health systems."

The IMS Health agreement builds on AstraZeneca’s existing ‘real-world’ data and research partnership with WellPoint’s health outcomes research subsidiary HealthCore in the US.

The February, 2011, deal also had a chronic disease focus and saw AstraZeneca and HealthCore partner on real-world studies to determine the most effective and economical treatments.

Under a four-year deal the firms are conducting studies analysing electronic medical records, claims information and patient surveys.

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Pharma Industry Seen ‘Rising From the Ashes’ From Mid-2012

Pharma Industry Seen ‘Rising From the Ashes’ From Mid-2012 | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
Investment prospects for Europe’s big drug makers look set to improve dramatically from mid-2012, despite the gloomy backdrop facing the sector as the year begins.

In 2012, the $50 billion-plus ‘global wave’ of lost revenues from patent expiries on major blockbuster medicines finally hits the entire pharmaceuticals sector. Tightened government health care budgets and downward pressure on drug prices will also keep hurting.

The sector’s ratings have suffered as a result. Patent losses for the large cap drug makers in Europe will peak this year at an estimated $12 billion, representing around 4% of their overall sales, according to analysts at Credit Suisse.

But drug companies haven’t been idle. Their managements have used the run-up to the so-called ‘patent cliff’ to strengthen balance sheets, diversify their businesses, expand into emerging markets and the more fortunate ones have grown pipelines and are launching products.

Many large drug companies have also reconfigured their research and development operations, targeting efficiency savings, productivity improvements and renewing their focus on specialty areas such as oncology and autoimmune diseases.

That is finally being noticed by sector experts.

Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note to clients last month:

“Despite an inauspicious backdrop in 2012 … we expect investors to gain in confidence in the pharma sector’s ability to return to growth from 2013. The recipe will be a mix of cost savings, growth from non-patent afflicted businesses and new drug sales.”

JPMorgan echoed that sentiment in a note to clients on Thursday:

“By mid 2012, we expect investors to turn their attention to 2013-2015, when we expect the growth outlook to return to high single digits. Hence, once market volatility declines and a focus on fundamentals returns, the relative outperformance of the sector should turn into absolute performance, as the depressed sector multiple of 10x forward P/E, still near historical lows, can expand, on the basis of a much improved mid-term outlook.”

This much brighter outlook for the European pharma sector–which has yet to be reflected in stock valuations–reflects improved late and early stage product pipelines within the sector, a more restrained approach to M&A generally, increased cash generation and the spreading policy of returning value to shareholders through dividend payments and share buybacks.

JPMorgan said European drug makers’ pipelines remain an important source of investor demand for the sector.

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Very interesting conversation about pharma and where it's heading

To find out about more eyeforpharma conversations happening close to you, visit http://www.eyeforpharma.com/events This discussion focusses on recent news, w...
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Pharma companies under report clinical trial results:Report British Medical Journal - The Economic Times

Scientists from the reputed British Medical Journal or BMJ have found that pharma companies under report data from clinical trials to regulatory authorities and journals, and at times also concealing their trial study. BMJ studied, to what extend companies reveal the details of the process of the trials and found that the "registry reports and publications submitted by companies insufficiently report clinical trials but may supplement each other".

Clinical trial studies are a pre requisite before launching and marketing a drug.

The journal undertook a detailed research that focussed on the three areas where clinical trial data are published; they looked at medical publications, clinical study reports and registry reports to evaluate to the reporting standards. The study found that 'publication bias' and 'outcome reporting bias' are a problem and responsible for distorting scientific evidences. The journal said "perception of the effects of healthcare interventions based on published literature is biased towards overestimating benefits and underestimating harms. This problem of distorted public record is widely prevalent".

Pharma companies have to register their clinical trials and also submit the study results with regulators; this information has to be accessible to the public. In 2005 drug companies signed what was known as the Ottawa statement, which made it mandatory for pharma companies to publish not only the initial study data, but also negative impact of the a particular drug.

The need for detailed reporting in clinical trial became evident when British pharma giant Glaxo SmithKline was held guilty by the New York State Supreme Court for withholding information and misrepresenting data of its anti depressant drug Paxil. In India too, there have been serious allegations against drug companies for undertaking clinical trial by misleading patients. The trial for Human Papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine undertaken by US Pharma Company Merk in association with the NGO PATH created a controversy when four tribal girls from Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat died while undergoing the trial.

The BMJ scientists say that insufficient public information leads to difficulty for healthcare professionals to arrive at a reliable medical conclusion and provide accurate medical interventions. The report concludes that, "there is a need for mandatory registration of all clinical trials and for a mandatory standard for registry reports containing sufficient details on study methods and results to allow full evaluation of the validity of a clinical trial and its outcomes".

 

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FDA's Social-Media 'Guidelines' Befuddle Big Pharma

After a two-year wait that included the fanfare of a two-day public hearing, the Food and Drug Administration this week quietly announced new social-media marketing guidelines for pharmaceutical companies.
Well, sort of.

The FDA on Tuesday posted its "Guidance for Industry Responding to Unsolicited Requests for Off-Label Information About Prescription Drugs and Medical Devices" in the Federal Register, an under-the-radar move neither announced by press conference or press release. And the guidance seems to fall a bit short of what a legion of pharma-industry and healthcare-agency marketing execs anticipated.

"What everybody was expecting was actual guidelines around social media," said Jim Dayton, senior director of emerging media for Overland Park, Kan.-based InTouch Solutions, a pharma-centric digital-marketing agency. "I still think it's monumental," he added. "The FDA finally addressed the digital channel in a specific way by mentioning Twitter and YouTube in the document, and those have never been mentioned before. But this is an industry that wants specific instructions and rules, and that didn't happen here."

"We understand the level of interest and wanted to get out what we had available to provide guidance," said FDA spokeswoman Karen Mahoney, who added that this was just "the first of multiple planned guidances that respond to testimony and comments from the Part 15 public hearing that FDA held in November 2009."

The 15-page FDA guidance addresses only off-label information, laying out instructions for pharma companies on how to respond to consumers seeking information for a prescription drug other than what it is indicated for. That is, in a very rudimentary example, if a consumer asked a question on Facebook or called a pharma company's 800 number asking whether it was safe for men over the age of 50 to use Botox, a representative for Botox-maker Allergan could certainly answer the question. However, if the consumer asked whether the use of Botox also helped grow hair on balding men, the representative should refer the consumer to the Allergan website on use and safety information.

"Firms may choose to respond to unsolicited requests for information about off-label uses of their approved or cleared products in a manner other than that recommended in this draft guidance. Such activity would not constitute a per se violation of the law, but could potentially be introduced as evidence of a new intended use," the FDA wrote in its guidance.

"FDA recognizes that it can be in the best interest of public health for a firm to respond to unsolicited requests for information about off-label uses of the firm's products that are addressed to a public forum, as other participants in the forum who offer responses may not provide or have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information about the firm's products. … Statements that promote a drug or medical device for uses other than those approved or cleared by FDA may be used as evidence of a new intended use. Introducing a product into commerce for such a new intended use without FDA approval or clearance would, under these requirements, generally violate the law."

But for some, that still leaves things ….."ambiguous," said one pharma company digital director who asked not to be identified. "It leaves a lot open to interpretation."

Big Pharma, which spent $1 billion in online promotion last year and was expected to reach $1.52 billion in spending by 2014, has been somewhat inhibited by the lack of guidance and ambiguity on social-media use.

But that's the best the industry can expect right now, said Peter Pitts, former FDA associate commissioner and now the president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. "What everybody was looking for was never going to happen. If you're waiting for divine guidance, you're still waiting," said Mr. Pitts.

Both Messrs. Pitt and Dayton said pharma should embrace this first leg of social-media guidelines. "On the face of it, you can look at it and say 'This is nothing,'" Mr. Pitts said. "In reality, I doubt there is ever going to be definitive rules for social media-marketing like there are for TV and print. And there's a reason for that. FDA has made it very clear they were not going to make platform-specific guidelines, like how to use Facebook, how to use Twitter, because social media evolves every day. How can you write guidelines for something that shifts in 90 days? Social media is unpredictable. If industry wants to use social media, they have to embrace ambiguity. The key element here is to use your judgment. If you wouldn't say it offline, don't say it online."

Added Mr. Dayton: "However ambiguous some might see this, I do not think this document should stop anybody from using social media for marketing purposes. We should use this document to show us how the FDA is thinking when it comes to social media. This is indicative of future guidelines around social media. It's going to have to be something we interpret, which is typical of a government agency. We're not ever going to be like Nike or Apple and say whatever we want in social media. The rules haven't changed for us -- it's the same rules this industry has for traditional media."

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Five ways pharma uses social media - Digital Handbook - Social media

Five ways pharma uses social media - Digital Handbook - Social media | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
The corporate presence

Traditional pharma websites – CompanyName.com sites – have generally been online for more than a decade. So the first step into social media tends to add to these sites with an equivalent presence on sites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and even, in some cases, Google+.

The social media accounts are usually run by the corporate communications team and, allowing for some variation in terms of conversational voice, tone, level of participation and type of information shared, generally concentrate on pushing out links to company information.

Regional accounts

These are often the next step in pharma’s social media journey and give companies a local voice and presence but, because they need buy-in and expertise on the ground, they are not universal.

Pfizer provides a typical example. The company has Facebook pages for its operations in Spain, Turkey, Finland, it’s running Twitter accounts for Spain, France, Austria and Slovakia and has YouTube channels for Europe, Spain, Turkey and the UK. But when it comes to more time-intensive uses of social media, Pfizer’s Swedish corporate social responsibility blog (miljö- och ansvarsblogg) is a rare example of blogging in European pharma.

Disease awareness campaigns

Chronic pain, hepatitis C, cancer and COPD are just a few of the therapy areas in which companies have used social media to help raise disease awareness in Europe.

But this use of social media, more than other initiatives, tends by its nature to have a finite, campaign-based, lifespan, and thus is the one most in need of a clear exit strategy.

Corporate social responsibility

Pfizer’s Swedish blog isn’t the only example of pharma using social media as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. The very nature of CSR work makes it an ideal ‘good news’ story to seed through social media channels.

Novo Nordisk runs a Twitter account from Copenhagen in Denmark, tweeting about ‘corporate sustainability’, and Bayer’s head of public policy and environment Dirk Frenzel tweets on similar issues from Leverkusen in Germany.

Clinical trial patient recruitment

Australian researchers recently concluded social networks had potential in recruiting patients for clinical trials, but this is new, emerging ground for pharma.

Lilly has run two pilot studies that used social media to recruit patients for trials in diabetes and head and neck cancer. The company received a “meaningful volume of responses” and was able to make cost savings of 10-15 per cent through the elimination of multiple project fees. “Social media is now on the map for Lilly,” declares Sara James, global enrolment consultant for Europe at Lilly Research Centre.

Meanwhile, Novartis ran a short pilot using Twitter and Pfizer has a dedicated YouTube channel – Pfizer Clinical Trials – to provide trial information
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Sanofi launches iPhone diabetes monitor and app in UK - NEWS - articles - Marketing and Communications - PMLiVE

Sanofi launches iPhone diabetes monitor and app in UK - NEWS - articles - Marketing and Communications - PMLiVE | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
Sanofi has launched an iPhone-compatible device in the UK it hopes will give the pharma company an edge in the tough blood glucose monitoring market.

The iBGStar is the first blood glucose monitor to sync with the iPhone and iPod touch, and the first that allows users to input their own data and notes via a specially designed app.

It costs £48 (about €57) and will be available exclusively through the Boots chemist chain, while Sanofi’s separate, standalone BGStar device, which is also launched today, will be available for free from healthcare professionals.

Jason Lovatt, Sanofi’s brand lead for BGStar and iBGStar, told PMLiVE: “BGStar is similar to other products on the market, in that it’s a standalone separate device to measure blood glucose levels and it has a very competitive feature set.

“The BGStar is a key piece of kit, but where the real innovation comes in is with the iBGStar, which connects to an iPhone and allows you to do a lot more with your results.”

Acting as an electronic log book, the iBGStar’s Diabetes Manager app allows users to input specific notes against the readings, such as recording carbohydrate intake, insulin use or other factors that may help them understand their results. Information also can be shared via email with healthcare professionals and family members,

The iBGStar also comes with additional support services, including a 24-hour freephone diabetes care line, a comprehensive website, patient support materials, a lifetime meter replacement service and free control solution.

“It’s about trying to provide more than just the meter, more than just an insulin, and complement them with things that help people manage and handle their diabetes," Lovatt said.

The product has already been launched in a number of other European countries, including France and Germany, where it has been well received Lovatt said.

“Blood glucose monitoring is quite a tough market. There are very good products and well established brands. So for Sanofi to have come into the market and have had some success is a big accomplishment for the company.

“What differentiates Sanofi from other companies is the fact that we are an insulin manufacturer as well,” Lovatt said. “The combined approach of looking at someone’s treatment needs with regards to their insulin, and then looking at their monitoring needs and then packaging together some education, that synergy is one of the key things that will differentiate Sanofi from other companies in the market.”

Sanofi will use the same salesforce that sells its insulin products to distribute its monitors and demonstrate them to healthcare professionals, in particular diabetes nurses.

The iBGStar has a CE mark as a medical device, in which setting it is classified as an accessory, and Sanofi is considering the practicalities of producing an Android version of the device, where the challenge will be working with smartphones that lack Apple’s standard connection slot.
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Mobile marketing for pharma - FEATURE - General articles - Marketing and Communications - PMLiVE

Mobile marketing for pharma - FEATURE - General articles - Marketing and Communications - PMLiVE | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
In the fourth of our series discussing the practical steps pharma companies can take to establish themselves in a digital environment, we look at mobile marketing and adapting to the growth of the smartphone.My mobile phone is typically the first and the last thing I see every day. Sad but true! Don’t you double-check to see if you have your mobile before you leave the house?

The UK has on average 1.5 phones per person - a bit scary! So why is a tool that is always on and always in reaching distance of us one of the last things we think about in our marketing.

In 2010, I read that Google planned to make sure that all their products would be designed for mobile first. And now something I say to everyone I meet in pharma and consumer advertising is “How will this idea or campaign look and work on mobile and how will it enhance the user’s life”?

With connection speeds getting faster, and more and more people switching to smartphones, this is a great opportunity to be relevant to your targeted customer.

Just imagine the possibilities of a doctor, nurse or HCP having the ability to quickly check the efficacy of your drug whilst on the move.

Conferences have great potential for mobile too – just think of having the ability to drive users to your conference stand with tailored messages via Bluetooth.

Or how about an app that gives details of the event; speaker schedules; local area information; hotel information; directions; a place to write notes; and then, after the event, the chance to send speaker videos and follow up information to keep engaging with your target audience.

That’s why you shouldn’t forget about the possibilities of mobile in your digital planning cycle.

So where do we start?

Mobile website

When thinking about your mobile website, please think about the end user first. They are mostly accessing your site whilst on the move, with limited reception so keep content to a minimum.

Using a fluid design will help you with all the screen sizes for tablet, make sure you design to 768 pixels wide and for mobile 320 pixels wide.

Keep the landing page simple; make sure you have key sections in simple lists so users can get to the information fast.

Make sure the size (weight) of the page is as small as possible as mobiles have various memory sizes.

There are no special coding restrictions for your mobile site, although flash will not work on an iPhone or iPad. Use either XML or XHTML instead, with HTML5 allowing you to be more creative for the iPhone.

Mobile SEO

As people search differently on mobile, the need for keywords is less.

Instead, a focus should be made to submit a site to all of the most relevant portals, directories and business listings services, as these places are also extremely important sources of mobile traffic.

Also ensure that your site is crawlable at the code level. Use the correct headers, don't block IP ranges unnecessarily, use the correct robots.txt file instructions, and ensure that all of the pages you want to be indexed are situated in the public domain and not restricted by things like registration or login.

Once this is done and you’ve created your site, make sure you test it at http://www.w3.org/TR/mobileOK-basic10-tests/

Bluetooth marketing

When used at conferences, Bluetooth marketing has the potential to lure people into your conference stand if you can deliver the appropriate message.

Purchase a Bluetooth marketing tool such as Blue 2, which usually start from £100. These simple devices usually come in the form of USB sticks that users can plug into a computer, download the software and get ready to start marketing.

Bluetooth marketing is very intrusive, however, so make sure you send a message that will be beneficial to the user. This can include games, images and short video clips.

SMS Marketing

We’ve all seen how this can help in quiz shows on TV, and it’s something companies can add to any marketing material or use at conferences for voting.

Setting up and building your own SMS tool can be very expensive, so the simplest solution is to use bulk messaging companies, with many just charging the cost of the message.

To set up a SMS campaign, simply:

Find an SMS provider who you can set up an account with, and make sure they offer the ability for MMS (multi media messaging) so you can send images or video clips.Your SMS provider will then provide you with a short code for marketing material and a management desk that allows you to set up a campaign and send messages.Add your short code to relevant material and explain what the end user will be getting. You should add an extra benefit for the user as they are paying for this communication.If you know the habits of the end user you’re sending an SMS or MMS to, it is best to personally tailor your message for them.

QR Codes

A Quick Response (QR) code is a fast and easy way to send data, such as video, email, text, games and images, to a smartphone.

Anyone with a smartphone can scan and read QR codes, and anyone with a computer can generate a QR code (use a service like www.qrstuff.com). Just choose your data method, enter data info, choose background colour, click on "download this image", and you can start using your QR code on campaign materials.

But make sure you have an added benefit - maybe send a MOA or KOL video if you’re adding it to detail aids or print campaigns.

And always explain what the user will get and how to scan the code next to the QR code.

PMLiVE has a guide on how to use QR codes.

Applications

Leave your desk and ask IT/procurement/the boss for a budget to invest in mobile hardware.

Buy a Blackberry, iPhone, Android, Windows phone, iPad, Galaxy tablet and download some apps see how they work.

You really don’t have to create from scratch. VW GTi Racing had over 8m downloads in a few months, but was a re-design of an existing app.

Don’t forget we’re entering the fourth year of app development so costs are coming down. And don’t just develop for the iPhone - ask your agency to create an app for all platforms.

Each type of device has a development kit and the common languages that you use for programming are PHP, Java, HTML etc.

Information on building mobile apps is available for each platform:

iPhone/iPadBlackberryAndroidWindows phone

Tips for marketing apps:

Get a lot of reviewsPromote the app for freeUse the latest features the provider has, Apple like to promote apps that have the latest features of their product on the appAll app marketing is about word-of-mouth, do develop your app around thisUse social media channelsGet a press release out thereAsk all your colleagues to download the app and get feedbackAdvertise on the journals where your targeted audience spend time.

 

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Searching for Side Effects

Searching for Side Effects | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
You're taking a new medication and have dry mouth and feel dizzy.

Want to know how many other people have reported those side effects—and how your drug compares with similar drugs?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has millions of such "adverse event" reports, ranging from fatigue to fatal heart attacks, for thousands of prescription drugs dating back to 1969. But the information hasn't been readily accessible—until now.

A start-up company, AdverseEvents Inc., has streamlined the FDA's often impenetrable database and made it easy to search the adverse-event reports for more than 4,500 drugs, free and online. Another start-up, Clarimed LLC, has done the same for reports filed with the FDA on 130,000 medical devices, a far more complex group that runs the gamut from syringes to stents to tanning beds and diagnostic machines that could impact tens of thousands of lives.

Both companies, which launched in September, see their services as empowering patients, many of whom now comb Internet discussion boards for medical information. "If your doctor tells you to take a drug and it's three times more likely to give you a heart attack than another drug, not having that information seems foolish," says AdverseEvents President and co-founder Brian Overstreet.

While basic searches will remain free, AdverseEvents plans to charge consumers $10 a month for access to full drug reports starting Wednesday, and will offer health-care professionals and businesses more detailed information for additional fees. Clarimed may follow suit. Both websites offer a way to file reports to the FDA, but few visitors have done so.

Nora Iluri, CEO and founder of Clarimed, likens these efforts to the advent of J.D. Power and Associates safety ratings for cars. "Suddenly, manufacturers started competing on quality," she says. "The best way to drive quality improvements is to make things crystal clear and transparent as possible."

The adverse-event reporting system for drugs (known as AERS) helps the FDA monitor side effects that crop up after a medication is approved and used in the real world. (The system for devices, called Maude, for Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience, started in the 1990s.) AERS has received 6.4 million reports, and the volume has risen steadily. There were 759,000 for drugs and 238,000 for devices in 2010. But reporting is voluntary, and represents only a fraction of all the side effects and malfunctions, the FDA says.

Agency analysts mine the data for worrisome trends that prompt further investigation and sometimes stronger warning labels or even removal from the market. The cholesterol-lowering drug Baycol, for example, was withdrawn in 2001 after 52 deaths from rhabdomyolysis, a muscle and kidney disorder, turned up in the adverse-event files. People seeking AERS information can download raw quarterly data from the FDA's website, but it isn't cumulative and requires technical expertise to use. They can also file a Freedom of Information Act request for more specific data, but what they get back may be voluminous and impenetrable. That's what Mr. Overstreet, a data-marketing entrepreneur, found when a friend's wife suffered a severe drug reaction and he went looking for information. He and his fellow data experts found the FDA's AER files indecipherable. "That's when we said, 'Let's fix this,' " he says.

One problem is that the data are sometimes jumbled. Most reports come through drug and device manufacturers, but patients, physicians, family members—even lawyers—can send reports to the FDA, and they often contain errors and inconsistencies. "There are at least 440 different ways to spell Ambien and each has a separate file at the FDA," Mr. Overstreet says.

AdverseEvents Inc. developed an algorithm that filters out duplicates and combines spelling variations, reducing over 200,000 drug names to about 4,500. It also made the data easily searchable and comparable for thousands of conditions and side effects back to 2004.

Still, the FDA's data have other limitations that some critics say make it potentially misleading. For one, there is no way to determine whether a side effect is due to a drug or a coincidence. (Device malfunctions are even trickier, since operator error or surgical skill can affect how they perform.) For another, the reporting doesn't necessarily mirror the true incidence of problems. New drugs tend to generate more reports than older ones, and a negative news story about a drug or device can prompt a sudden spike in reported problems. Expectations matter, too. Chemotherapy drugs that cause severe side effects get far fewer reports than drugs for, say, heartburn. What's more, the FDA files don't indicate how widely a drug or device is being used, so there is no perspective. For example, Lipitor tops all statins for side effects, with 76,535 adverse-events reported from 2004 to 2011 (most often muscle pain, pain in extremities and muscle weakness), compared with 34,938 for rival Crestor, according to AdverseEvents.com. But users aren't told that Lipitor was prescribed far more frequently, so the proportion of problems was smaller. AdverseEvents plans to post prescription data for some drugs.

But sales information isn't available for many medical devices—even for costly implants like artificial joints, says Ms. Iluri. Without such numbers, she says, "Neither we nor the FDA can easily compare safety for devices across manufacturers."

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What the Roche Bid for Illumina Tells Us About the Future of Genomics - Forbes

What the Roche Bid for Illumina Tells Us About the Future of Genomics - Forbes | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

There’s been a flurry of mergers in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries lately. My Manhattan Institute colleague Paul Howard has some thoughts on one of the more interesting potential transactions: the hostile bid for Illumina, a genetic diagnostics company, by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche. Roche already has a diagnostics division, so they don’t need the acquisition to help drive any of their targeted medicines. After all, once you know the “target” for a personalized cancer drug (like Herceptin) and get it on the FDA-approved label you don’t need to know anything else about your patient’s genome.

So why the Illumina bid? (Besides the fact that the stock is way off its high.) This Bloomberg Businessweek article gives a lot of good background on the bid, and asks a lot of good questions.

Analysts also point out that the market for the expensive gene-sequencing machines – primarily academic scientists with government grants – is a shrinking market right now, so Roche’s bid has got to be about the future market for genomic technologies more than the present one.

What is the next market for super-fast, cheap gene sequencing? It’s hospitals, doctors offices – heck, maybe even the CVS drug store down the street. That’s the future of genome sequencing: fast enough and cheap enough to become a consumer commodity.

(I think that Roche is betting that if you’re willing to pay $500 or $600 today for a tablet to play Angry Birds, you’d pay the same – or more – out of pocket to know your or your children’s genetic future. For instance, what diseases to watch out for, what drugs or vitamins to take – or avoid – etc.)

The problem I see is that we don’t have a health care system, or a regulatory system, that is prepared to interpret the flood of genomic information from Illumina’s superfast machines and then turn it into actual clinical knowledge. The FDA has already signaled that it’s very leery about consumer genomic services, and without that approval the technology isn’t going anywhere. (And even then, it still has to be translated into plain English for physicians and patients.)

Roche, I think, has the complete play here. They’re intimately familiar with the regulatory hurdles at the FDA, and know how the agency thinks and what kind of data they will be looking for in terms of regulatory approval for genomic applications. They’ve got marketing channels into physician and hospital offices, and the science research base to help translate emerging genomic discoveries into clinical information and – better yet – personalized treatments coming out of Roche’s labs.

If personalized medicine is going to expand beyond specialized cancer treatments, companies like Roche will lead the way since they have all the tools to translate the genome into mainstream medicine.

The question is, how long will it take (5, 10, 15 years?) for the transformation to become complete, and how much (or how little) regulators will slow the revolution down – in the name of protecting consumers from themselves.

Hopefully, innovative companies will be allowed to lead the way, with the FDA just validating the underlying methodologies.

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Pfizer Dominates Pharma Social Media Space | Nitro Digital

Pfizer Dominates Pharma Social Media Space | Nitro Digital | Pharma_News | Scoop.it

Paris-based Cegedim Strategic Data (CSD) ranked major pharma brands based on their volume of Facebook and Twitter followings compared with their overall promotional spending. Findings show that, on both Facebook and Twitter, Pfizer is pulling ahead of its peers thus matching its industry-leading promotional budget with its social media popularity. Pfizer has the most Twitter followers and takes 3rd place in having the most number of Facebook likes. However, the study also showed that in many cases pharma brands’ social media presence outperformed their promotional spending. Roche for instance ranked fifteenth in overall spending for promotions while it came second only to Pfizer in Twitter followers. This may effectively show that succeeding in the world of social media is often determined by the strategy you adopt, which allows you maximise its impact of your online campaigns.

Another point to bear in mind is that it is not just about volumes. Social media performance also has to be judged based on the quality of engagement. You can have thousands of followers but if you fail to effectively influence and educate them about your brand, than what is the point?

Clearly, pharma companies are increasingly establishing their social media presence. What may cause marketers to wonder however is what role social media should play in their promotional efforts and what impact this will have on the bottom line?

Do you want to effectively engage with patients, HCPs and journalists? Nitro Digital are experts in digital pharmaceutical marketing. To build a successful engagement strategy, get in touch by calling 0844 450 5545 or email

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Pharma 2012: Hard Times Before the Harvest - Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharma 2012: Hard Times Before the Harvest - Pharmaceutical Executive | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
2012 is a transition year for pharma, one of the most important in the industry's history of product cycles that spin from plenty to penury. On the positive side, the fires of drug discovery are finally being stoked by a growing understanding of how genomics shape the biology of disease. This is leading to promising new treatments that target critical areas of unmet medical need while also increasing the efficacy of interventions geared to the individual patient. Evidence that these next-generation innovations can advance the science while improving outcomes will hopefully lead to ready acceptance in the market, despite the growing leverage of a much more skeptical and discerning customer base. The challenge is that many new treatments may not complete the move from 'bench to bedside' in time to plug the yawning revenue gap from a second record year of patent expiries. This year's drop off the patent cliff is the longest and steepest, with a $50 billion loss coming on top of the $30 billion ceded to generics in 2011. Most companies will struggle to play catchup, with margins under intense pressure due to the immediate fallout from genericization of the product base; in the U.S. alone, off-patent penetration has reached 80 percent of all scrip, and IMS forecasts this figure will rise to 86 percent by 2015.

Meanwhile, the fiscal crisis in Europe has voided the entire concept of patenting as a reward for innovation in providing a temporary period of price exclusivity. Therapeutic reference pricing is clustering brands with the cheapest generics, and some countries in the region are now moving toward a straight bulk procurement model for drugs reimbursed through state-sponsored systems. Quality? Innovation? These are yesterday's questions.

Trade Winds Go Generic The erosion of patent cover means that 2012 will be a golden harvest for the generics industry. While it is premature to condemn all new medicines to the slashing scythe of the grim reaper, innovators, at least for the near term, must adjust to a world where only slightly more than one out of every 10 U.S. prescriptions will be written for products with the potential to obtain a real price premium against the competition. Who will pay for innovation is a question deferred—but it will loom large as the cycle shifts back toward large biologics and the discovery payoff from the genomics revolution begins to empower the patient seeking a cure or a better quality of life.

So what is the preferred Big Pharma strategy to manage through this year of transition? Pharm Exec contacts with a range of industry players reveals that the dominant theme for 2012 is a relentless focus on managing costs. Pressures to cut back are mounting, not just in the expected areas such as R&D or field force management, but also through the rich incentives that companies are laying out to breach the access barriers and contract pricing ultimatums imposed by payers exercising their market clout. These payer tactics now incorporate the specialty segment, oncology, and other high-margin categories, which have, to date, been largely immune to pricing constraints.

Trim the Sails on Costs

As far as the investor community is concerned, one number counts. "Wall Street will be looking for evidence that companies know how to manage their expenses, and the best gauge of progress here is the difference between gross and net sales," says Amundsen Group managing director Mason Tenaglia. That view is echoed by St. Joseph's University Business School Professor Bill Trombetta, author of Pharm Exec's annual industry audit series, whose latest report in our September 2011 issue makes "lean management" a key theme. "2012 is all about the edge that will go to companies that achieve operational excellence against their peers. The logic is that the best way to cope with the uncertainties of a complicated business climate is by mastery of the internal environment, where management can exercise a stronger degree of control."

Slashing costs is necessary to minimize the immediate impact of the patent cliff on revenues. It also represents a welcome change in mindset, away from the complacency and tolerance for bloat that characterized the industry response to market churn in the previous decades. And as the pharma workforce is trimmed—a bloodletting long deferred—it provides fresh opportunity to revise the skill set required to prevail against the competition. Financial planning, manufacturing, competitive intelligence (the new costume for traditional market research), and IT have all been elevated to status as strategic functions rather than an operational activity.

 

Read more at site....

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Jay Bradner: Open-source cancer research | Video on TED.com

The cloud of social networking and the cure for cancer are two terms rarely mentioned in the same sentence. However there is more and more evidence that new techniques involving collaboration are leading breakthroughs in handling cancer. In an amount of time that is incredibly short, the evolution of cloud networking has blossomed into a lifestyle habit that most people cannot do without. As a result, businesses have joined the bandwagon and followed suit.

These days, discussions involving clinical issues, devices and oncology drugs have become faster, easier and more global due to the cloud. When it comes to a cure for cancer, there is undeniable potential in the development of new treatments.

In the last ten years, pharma brands like Pfizer, Merck and GSK have found soaring costs for new drug-development. Because of this along with other factors, pharmaceutical companies are making more attempts to become partners with worldwide organizations of research that are more nimble and smaller to develop medical breakthroughs for the new generation.

One example is when Eli Lilly partnered with Innocentive allowing researchers to post challenges of science that members of the community can pay for to be able to contribute in the search for a solution.

One participant came up with an affordable method of manufacturing a TB drug. From that collaboration, over 100 partnerships have thus been established to look for solutions in areas that include cancer, arthritis and diabetes, among others.

Another prime example of how oncology can benefit from cloud collaboration is demonstrated by this inspiring TED Talk below on open-source future of medical research. The talk tells the story of how in Jay Bradner’s lab, they found a molecule that might hold the answer, and instead of patenting, they published their findings and mailed samples to 40 other labs to work on. Will this collaborative effort bring the world closer to a cure for cancer? It seems almost guaranteed that finding the cure will be due in no small part to social media

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Open access social media guide for pharma

Open access social media guide for pharma | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
A set of guidelines about pharma companies using social media properly and legally is very much needed. We create it collaboratively for free.

 

We launched this project because we believe a set of guidelines is very much needed either for medical professionals and patients, and pharma about using social media properly and legally. This open access guide created collaboratively by the most important online voices of pharma and web 2.0 was meant to help facilitate this process. Please let us know if you would like to contribute to that!

 

Click on title to view complete guidelines

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Practical step in SEO for Pharma

Practical step in SEO for Pharma | Pharma_News | Scoop.it
In the third of our series discussing the practical steps pharma companies can take to establish themselves in a digital environment, we look at search engine optimisation (SEO) - one of the most important factors in getting people to our websites.It's an area that often gets forgotten about by pharma, despite figures that show 150 million people in Europe actively search online for healthcare information every week, while Google says healthcare related topics are its second biggest search terms.

So do you really want to drive awareness of your brand/disease area/product?

If ‘yes’ then read on….

What is SEO?
To help your organic search results you need to concentrate on two things: on-site SEO, which is internal coding on your website (both mobile and PC based), and off-site SEO, which includes sites that link through to your website. This off-site SEO can be press releases, related links and social media websites.

On average 96 per cent of users do not go past page one of search results, and searches at the top of the page are regarded as legitimate information.

So the right SEO can really help you get thousands of visitors to your website, while not thinking about SEO can have you buried on page 10 of the search results, where no one goes.

How do these search engines find my website?
Search engines use software called spiders; they trawl the internet for words related to what you type in search engines and then they index these pages. To find more websites, the spiders visit links on that site that are related to the appropriate content and then index them. Typical things these spiders look for are keywords appearing in the page's content, title or images. Google says it uses over 200 various methods to relate your site to the keywords searched for.

When you’re planning SEO, think...Research – Have a think about what search terms or words you want your website to appear under in search engine results. Try typing a few terms in yourself to see what comes back and bear in mind you’re looking for no more than 15 words for your title tags.Get suggestions - Google has an amazing free tool that helps you research keywords (Google keyword calculator) it allows you to see how many people search that word and makes suggestions on words people may also search for.Get meta - Implement your strategy by making sure your selected keywords are present as meta tags on your page. However, be patient – you won’t see results straight away and it can take months for the impact of your SEO to kick in with the search engines. Changing keywords too often means you’ll never know what works.Create a content plan - Google loves content so make sure you upload new content regularly.

Quick tips

Let the search engine know you exist. Submit your website to search engines via the following:
- www.google.com/webmasters
- www.bing.com/toolbox/webmasterYour website will have various sections/categories which can be given titles in your coding. The IT team who build and maintain the website call this meta descriptions, data or tags. Think of these as what users will type into search engines to find you. For example think of your disease area or brand.Search engines also look at what images appear on your site so make sure these are named in a relevant way. These are called ‘alt tags’. You can see this on most sites when you hover your mouse over an image. File names of images can also be picked up by search engines, so make sure images are named correctly like stamp_out_gout.jpg instead of dc00001.jpg.A site map is simply the structure of your website, and is usually a simple page on your website that lists every page you have. You can submit your site map to the search engines listed previously, which allows them to index all the pages on your site.Off-site SEO is links from other sites. This can helped by simply making sure that you add a link to your site from any social media pages, blogs and corporate sites, and always include a link in any press releases you send out. Make sure you register your brand on any social media sites too. For example twitter.com/pmlivecom.

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Missing trial data ‘threatens integrity of medicine’ | InPharm

A series of papers published today by the British Medical Journal show that a large proportion of evidence from human medicines trials is unreported, despite rules making reporting ‘mandatory’.

The BMJ warns that missing data is a serious problem in clinical research and distorts the scientific record, so that clinical decisions cannot be based on the best evidence.

Controversy around data disclosure has been a major issue more than a decade, and the pharma industry has now signed up to full disclosure of trial data.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr Richard Lehman from the University of Oxford and BMJ clinical epidemiology editor Dr Elizabeth Loder, describe a “culture of haphazard publication and incomplete data disclosure”.

They call for more robust regulation and full access to raw trial data to allow better understanding of the benefits and harms of many kinds of treatment.

One study found that including unpublished data in published meta-analyses of drug trials often changed their results.

Two further studies show poor adherence to requirements for mandatory trial registration and timely sharing of results.

The US Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 made publication of a results summary on ClinicalTrials.gov within 12 months mandatory for all eligible trials in the US “initiated or ongoing as of September 2007.”

But a new study by Ross and colleagues show that fewer than half of US National Institutes of Health funded trials are published in a peer reviewed journal within 30 months of completion. Meanwhile Andrew Prayle and colleagues found that only 22% of trials subject to mandatory reporting had results available within one year of completion.

“When the word ‘mandatory’ turns out to mandate so little, the need for stronger mechanisms of enforcement becomes very clear,” write Lehman and Loder.

The paper’s authors argue that access to full trial data is needed to allow drugs to be independently assessed.

Two further studies also showed poor adherence to requirements for mandatory trial registration and timely sharing of results.

Other studies published today highlight the many difficulties researchers face when they try to assess the true harms and benefits of common interventions.

Lehman and Loder believe that concealment of data is ‘a serious ethical breach’ and that clinical researchers who fail to disclose data “should be subject to disciplinary action by professional organisations”.

“And this is no academic matter,” the authors added, “because missing data about harm in trials can harm patients, and incomplete data about benefit can lead to futile costs to health systems”.

They conclude: “These changes have long been called for, and delay has already caused harm. The evidence we publish shows that the current situation is a disservice to research participants, patients, health systems, and the whole endeavour of clinical medicine.”

In October, the Cochrane Collaboration, which publishes data reviews and meta-analyses, called for more transparency from pharma.

It argued that the industry only publishes positive data for its drugs and leaves out negative results for fear of damaging a drug’s potential.
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Patient perspectives: Meredith Gould

Dr Meredith Gould represents a rare type of epatient who has experience both of managing her disease and in working with pharma to produce communication materials around new treatments. In an industry that is by definition “clinical” and data oriented, her background in sociology also brings a very different and human slant to understanding how the communication pathways between patients, healthcare providers and pharma need to adapt to let the relationship evolve.

During this latest patient perspective interview, we talk about what makes someone become a vocal champion for others with similar diagnoses, the key challenges newly diagnosed individuals face and how medical information needs to be communicated to help different people understand it. However, we also explore communication pathways back from the patient to the pharma industry and exactly where patients should be playing a role in shaping the medicines of the future.

To listen to the full interview, please click on the play button below, with a shortened transcript of some edited highlights shown in print below.

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