Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Multi-Channel Learning Best for Teaching Oncologists How to Use New-Fangled Precision Meds

Multi-Channel Learning Best for Teaching Oncologists How to Use New-Fangled Precision Meds | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Background: Precision medicine has resulted in increasing complexity in the treatment of cancer. Web-based educational materials can help address the needs of oncology health care professionals seeking to understand up-to-date treatment strategies.

 

Objective: This study aimed to assess learning styles of oncology health care professionals and to determine whether learning style-tailored educational materials lead to enhanced learning.

 

Methods: In all, 21,465 oncology health care professionals were invited by email to participate in the fully automated, parallel group study. Enrollment and follow-up occurred between July 13 and September 7, 2015. Self-enrolled participants took a learning style survey and were assigned to the intervention or control arm using concealed alternating allocation. Participants in the intervention group viewed educational materials consistent with their preferences for learning (reading, listening, and/or watching); participants in the control group viewed educational materials typical of the My Cancer Genome website. Educational materials covered the topic of treatment of metastatic estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer using cyclin-dependent kinases 4/6 (CDK4/6) inhibitors. Participant knowledge was assessed immediately before (pretest), immediately after (posttest), and 2 weeks after (follow-up test) review of the educational materials. Study statisticians were blinded to group assignment.

 

Results: A total of 751 participants enrolled in the study. Of these, 367 (48.9%) were allocated to the intervention arm and 384 (51.1%) were allocated to the control arm. Of those allocated to the intervention arm, 256 (69.8%) completed all assessments. Of those allocated to the control arm, 296 (77.1%) completed all assessments. An additional 12 participants were deemed ineligible and one withdrew. Of the 552 participants, 438 (79.3%) self-identified as multimodal learners. The intervention arm showed greater improvement in posttest score compared to the control group (0.4 points or 4.0% more improvement on average; P=.004) and a higher follow-up test score than the control group (0.3 points or 3.3% more improvement on average; P=.02).

 

Conclusions: Although the study demonstrated more learning with learning style-tailored educational materials, the magnitude of increased learning and the largely multimodal learning styles preferred by the study participants lead us to conclude that future content-creation efforts should focus on multimodal educational materials rather than learning style-tailored content.

 

Further Reading:

  • “Why cancer patients don't have enough information to make decisions about their treatments”; http://sco.lt/8rrlZZ
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Novartis Must Reveal Details of Alleged 79,200 “Sham” Physician Speaker Events

Novartis Must Reveal Details of Alleged 79,200 “Sham” Physician Speaker Events | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

After a year-long battle, a federal judge ordered Novartis to turn over to the Department Justice documents containing details of allegedly 79,200 “sham” speaking events the drug maker used to encourage doctors to prescribe several blood pressure medicines.

 

The decision stems from a whistleblower lawsuit, which was initially filed six years ago by a former Novartis sales rep, contending the drug maker violated federal anti-kickback laws for nearly a decade. The Justice Department later joined the lawsuit, which alleged Novartis paid bribes to boost prescriptions and, as a result, caused federal health care programs to overpay for medicines (read “U.S. Seeks Records of 80,000 Novartis `Sham' Events for Doctors”; http://sco.lt/5PtPkX). 

 

The Justice Department initially received documents from the company about the speaking events, doctors who spoke at or attended the events, and the effect these events had on sales and market share on several blood pressure medicines. The Justice Department last year sought more information about event budgets and incentives that Novartis sales reps received for arranging the events.

 

But the drug maker argued the government was unfairly expanding the scope of its inquiry to a larger number of speaking events and that the request was “extraordinarily burdensome,” according to court documents. However, US District Court Judge Paul Gardephe decided that Novartis failed to prove the feds waived the right to seek documents pertaining to the nearly 80,000 speaking events.

 

The drug maker often treated doctors to expensive dinners at high-end restaurants, according to the documents. In one instance, a dinner for three, including the speaker, at a Washington, D.C., restaurant cost $2,016, or $672 per person. At another event held on Valentine’s Day in 2006, Novartis paid $3,127 for a meal for two at a West Des Moines, Iowa, restaurant.

 

Read "Novartis Wines -- er, Beers -- and Dines Docs at Hooters!"; http://bit.ly/PMBalbum042713

 

Novartis and a former employee are cleared of exaggerating drug claims in Japan

During the 10-year span, Novartis spent more than $65 million and ran more than 38,000 speaker programs for three of its blood pressure drugs. Speakers were paid an average of between $750 and $1,500, although some received $3,000 per program, according to the court documents. The feds also allege that Novartis had few checks on whether sales reps accurately reported attendance.

Pharma Guy's insight:

I love the story about the speaker event Novartis hosted at a Hooter's restaurant. I can only imagine what went on there between the docs and waitress staff! Perhaps the documents will reveal that my imagination is "somewhat vindicated."

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How Big Pharma Courts Physicians & Makes Them Look Like They Have a Lot of Money!

How Big Pharma Courts Physicians & Makes Them Look Like They Have a Lot of Money! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The Truth In Media Project has released Part 3 of its latest series Truth In Media: Big Pharma, The FDA & Health Propaganda. Part 3, titled How Big Pharma Manipulates Physicians and Corrupts “Best Practices,” discusses how companies in the pharmaceutical industry influence doctors’ “best practices” as well as offer funding for research and court physicians and their staff in hopes of gaining loyalty.

 

Devon Beasley, a registered nurse, has spent years in her field and told Truth In Media that she has seen representatives for pharmaceutical companies “wine and dine” an entire medical office in the midst of promoting various products. “Some of the offices that I would apply for would actually tell me ‘hey, we have catered lunches three times a week.’ That’s directly from pharmaceuticals. You also get materials for your office that make your office look really great,” said Beasley. “They will bring in supplies that make your office look like you have a lot of money.”

 

Beasley went on to say that medication samples, which are common in the doctors’ office and part of the pharmaceutical companies’ strategy to promote certain products, are highly sought after by patients and can conflict with the pursuit of proper medical care. “No one is asking which is the safest medication, which is the best for me, which is best for the patient. It’s all about ‘do you have samples, do you have coupons? Can you prescribe me something that does have a coupon? Can you prescribe me something that does have a sample?’ And it has nothing to do with which one is best, most effective or safest,” said Beasley.

 

Truth In Media’s Ben Swann also discussed the pharmaceutical industry’s impact on the medical community’s procedures known as “best practice,” which is the name for a system of policies that have been agreed upon by doctors and regulatory agencies such as the FDA. Swann explained that “the problem with best practices is how it is manipulated by big pharma. Research that best practice is based on is heavily funded by big pharma.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

“They will bring in supplies that make your office look like you have a lot of money.” LOL!

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Industry-funded Testosterone CME Courses Downplay Risks, Lead to Overuse in Older Men

Industry-funded Testosterone CME Courses Downplay Risks, Lead to Overuse in Older Men | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
With many universities turning their backs on the funding, and new federal requirements to disclose payments made directly to doctors, drug companies found a way to elude transparency reforms and continue to influence the courses:

Payments increasingly are made to third-party organizations — often for-profit firms — that help create the materials, hire the faculty and put on the courses. Those payments don't have to be disclosed.

Consider it the dark money of medicine.
Pharma Guy's insight:


Even though ACCME data suggest that pharma's support of CME took a nose dive from 2008 through 2012, CME income from "other" sources took up the slack and then some beginning around 2010-2011. Total CME income increased 13.6% from 2011 through 2014, whereas drug industry support dropped about 3% during that time.


Where did this extra money from "other" sources come from?


http://bit.ly/cme7yritch 


According to grant funding reports on drugmaker Eli Lilly’s website, the company sponsored more than 25 testosterone courses from 2011 and 2014, spending more than $1.8 million. Rosenberg maintains that the funding is important for the healthcare system to continue to educate its professionals.


“We should be careful to criticize such a powerful tool in our healthcare arsenal, or to be one-sided in attacking its source of funds without acknowledging the important anti-bias protections that are in place,” Rosenberg wrote.


Men who suffered serious side effects from testosterone prescriptions have a different view of the manufacturers.


http://bit.ly/1WhBRoh 

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Beyond Bias: Takeda Invites Me to a Steak Dinner at Morton's Steakhouse in Philly!

Beyond Bias: Takeda Invites Me to a Steak Dinner at Morton's Steakhouse  in Philly! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Dear Healthcare Practitioner,
 
You are cordially invited to an upcoming educational dinner program on Thursday, August 14, 2014. Topic of the program is Beyond Bias and Barriers: Managing the Complexity of Obesity.
 
Please see program details as well as RSVP information at left. Also please feel free to forward this information along to your healthcare provider colleagues.
 
We look forward to having you and your colleagues join us!

Pharma Guy's insight:


Rats! I just read the fine print (see below). I wonder if I could pass as a doctor if I dressed up?


In accordance with Takeda policy, attendance at this educational program is limited to individuals who meet Takeda’s definition of a Healthcare Professional and for whom the informational presentation is appropriate. Admission to this program is restricted to Healthcare Professionals who practice in a specialty that has not been expressly excluded for this product. Accordingly, attendance by guests, family members or spouses is not allowed. This is a promotional program and no CME credits are offered. Takeda’s Compliance Policy on Business Meals prohibits Takeda employees from providing business meals to officials or employees of federal government agencies. State restrictions may affect HCPs licensed in a state irrespective of where they practice or where an event takes place. Any distribution, dissemination, disclosure, or copying of this invitation is prohibited, unless otherwise expressly approved by Takeda.

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Many Physicians Are Dissatisfied with the Quality of #Pharma Supplied Scientific Education Online

Many Physicians Are Dissatisfied with the Quality of #Pharma Supplied Scientific Education Online | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Physicians often look to pharmaceutical companies' websites for educational information about their products. But as pharma firms step up digital advertising efforts, only 27 percent of physicians said they still consider pharma websites credible sources for medical data.

 

That finding comes from Manhattan Research's "Taking the Pulse U.S. 2017" study. The report is based on responses from 2,784 U.S. physicians across more than 25 specialties, and aimed to examine physicians' use of emerging technologies as well as their communication habits (read “#Pharma Should Dial Down Promotion & Dial Up Education for Docs to Regain Their Trust”; http://sco.lt/55IQV7).

 

Here are three key findings on physician-pharma marketing and communications.

 

  1. Roughly 70 percent of physicians said it is essential pharma companies provide "education resources rooted in science" to gain physician buy-in. Yet about half of physicians surveyed said no pharma company provides quality scientific information online.

 

  1. Physicians reported feeling overwhelmed by pharma ads. Sixty-two percent of respondents said information pharma companies offer on third-party websites for healthcare professionals are "always ads" rather than educational material.

 

  1. About half of physicians use online video content in their decision-making process, yet 52 percent don't believe any pharma companies are doing a "good job" at providing quality physician video content.

 

 

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Physicians Tackle Climate’s Health Effects

Physicians Tackle Climate’s Health Effects | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

According to several recent surveys, the majority of practicing physicians recognize that climate change is happening, believe it is at least in part caused by humans, and already see it affecting their patients, said Mona Sarfaty, MD, MPH, director of the program on climate and health at George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication in Fairfax, Virginia.

 

Sarfaty coauthored the surveys, in which members of the National Medical Association, the American Thoracic Society, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology participated. Many physicians said they believed they had a responsibility to inform the public and their patients on climate-related health effects but wanted to be better informed.

 

These findings led Sarfaty and her colleagues to form a consortium of medical societies. Last November the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, now consisting of 12 medical societies that represent almost half of US physicians, launched its website with a mission to inform physicians, the public, and policy makers about the harmful effects of climate change and various ways to find solutions.

 

Linda Rudolph, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Climate Change and Health at the Public Health Institute in Oakland, California, also has surveyed physicians and public health professionals about climate change and health. Many said they’re reluctant to speak out because they lack expertise, while some also felt they don’t have the time, mandate, funding, or resources to address it. The politicization of the issue also has influenced some to avoid it.

 

Rudolph and her colleagues have been working in California to introduce physicians to the array of potential roles that medical providers can play in issues of climate change and health. For example, they can integrate climate change into patient education, management, and care protocols; speak to their communities and peers; or work to help green their organizations and institutions. The Center for Climate Change and Health created A Physician’s Guide to Climate Change, Health, and Equity, which pulls together a wide range of information on the topic.

 

“We’re also trying to identify individuals who want to become advocates, champions on climate and health,” said Rudolph. Although the majority of people in the United States now think global climate change is happening, many remain unaware of the immediate threats climate change poses. But Rudolph and others have noted that as trusted messengers, physicians can play an important role in informing their patients, their community, and policy makers.

 

She said her group has helped some physicians speak on Spanish-language radio programs in Stockton, California, introducing the general subject of climate change and health and then presenting a more specific segment on climate change and mental health.

 

The Center for Climate Change and Health also hosts the US Climate and Health Alliance, a national network of individuals and medical and health organizations. Through the alliance, Rudolph and her colleagues have identified groups who see climate change and health as a critical issue and are taking action in their local communities.

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College of Family Physicians' "Do Nothing" Physician Payment Recommendation

College of Family Physicians' "Do Nothing" Physician Payment Recommendation | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

A report written by the College of Family Physicians in Canada about how to prevent conflicts of interest between doctors and the pharmaceutical is being criticized for weak recommendations, with none of them explicitly banning the accepting of money from the drug industry.


The report makes 20 recommendations dealing with issues such as conflict of interest, financial relationships, marketing and other relationships with the pharmaceutical and health care industries.

But they don't prevent a doctor with ties to the pharmaceutical industry from serving in leadership positions, sponsoring certain events, or even from contributing to an "unrestricted" education fund.


Alan Cassels, a drug policy researcher at the University of Victoria, is critical of the college for sitting on the report as long as it did.


University of Victoria drug policy researcher Alan Cassels says he beleives the report was held back because it is "basically recommending the status quo between physician education and the pharmaceutical industry.”

He suspects the college held it back because it's "pretty embarrassing."

"They're basically recommending the status quo between physician education and the pharmaceutical industry,"

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Pharma Challenged to Develop Better Pills for Pain, But "Beyond the Pill" is Bigger Challenge

Pharma Challenged to Develop Better Pills for Pain, But "Beyond the Pill" is Bigger Challenge | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Increasing abuse of painkillers in the US is putting the industry under pressure to make the drugs tamper-proof


The US drugs watchdog recently declared opioid abuse in America to be a national epidemic, claiming an average of 45 lives through overdose each day. Eighty per cent of heroin addicts say they first became addicted to opioid prescription painkillers, both of which are cleaved from the “joy plant”.


Dealing with the crisis has become the subject of a fierce debate in the American medical establishment. On one side are those doctors who believe their profession has spent decades overprescribing opioids, helping patients pursue zero pain while unwittingly pushing many of them to addiction. In supporting their case for sharp curbs on prescriptions, this group points to statistics showing that US opioid distribution on a measure known as “morphine equivalent milligrams” soared from 25.3 per person per year in 1980 to 550.7 by 2012.


“It can be traced to a period of over-prescribing of opioid analgesics by providers and physicians,” argues Adrienne Abbate, who runs a charity to tackle opioid abuse in New York. “Pharmaceutical companies aggressively marketed to physicians, and made it seem as if it would be a safe and non-addictive form of pain treatment.”


Others in the medical establishment, including some pain specialists and most drug makers, say the solution is not necessarily fewer drugs but better ones — a new generation of opioids with physical or chemical features to drive down improper consumption.


Pharma Guy's insight:

But the solution goes "beyond the pill" in that physicians must be re-educated about the dangers of pain medications. Read, for example, 

"FDA Blueprint for Prescriber Education for Extended-Release and Long-Acting Opioid Analgesics"; http://1.usa.gov/1LSI6Yd 

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