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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Grading FDA Commissioner Gottlieb & PhRMA's "Go Boldly" Campaign

Grading FDA Commissioner Gottlieb & PhRMA's "Go Boldly" Campaign | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb earned high marks from [a STAT Plus] survey respondents.


One respondent explained why Gottlieb deserved an F: “I see no vision or mission except keep Trump happy. Good luck.”


But the vast majority sang his praises.


  • “He’s shown an independence from the pharmaceutical industry that I was not expecting and seems dedicated to balancing safety with efficiency.”


  • “He’s a moderate! Speeding things along but not foolishly.”


  • “Dr. Gottlieb seems interested in getting other agencies to do their jobs. He seems interested in improving competition and drug shortage to the best of FDA’s ability — although these problems are pharma’s to fix — not FDA’s.”


Further Reading:

  • “Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s Plan to ‘Get Things Done’ at #FDA is Approved by #Pharma”;
  • “Does Pharma Really Want to Abandon the ‘Gold Standard’ of the FDA Approval Process?”;
  • “Pharma Scientists Concerned About Gottlieb’s Industry Ties”;


The trade group PhRMA has tried to reframe the drug price debate with its “Go Boldly” campaign, paid for by a hike in membership fees. In decidedly lukewarm reviews, more than a third of respondents gave that initiative a modest 2 on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being a rave). Roughly a quarter split between 1 (the worst) and 3 (meh), though one respondent noted that “featuring industry scientists was a great choice, from a PR standpoint.”


Among the other comments:


  • “All the ‘bold’ in the world doesn’t matter when people can’t afford treatments.”


  • “The ads are good. … People like pharma for the drugs it produces. Its R&D is not what galls people. It’s pricing and business practices.”


  • “There’s a ‘Go Boldly’ campaign?”


Further Reading:

  • “He Boldly Stars in @PhRMA's Multi-Million $ Ad Campaign, But Has No Money to Pay His Rent”;
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@PhRMA Goes Even More BOLDLY in a New Ad Campaign

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) today unveiled its latest advertisement as part of its groundbreaking GOBOLDLY campaign, titled New World, featuring some of the most extraordinary breakthroughs in science being discovered by biopharmaceutical researchers.


“Biopharmaceutical researchers are driving unimaginable innovation in science, which is revolutionizing how the most complex diseases are treated,” said Stephen J. Ubl, president and chief executive officer of PhRMA. “We truly are in a new world of medicine and on the verge of something even greater and more impactful. This promises a future with endless potential of scientific advances.”


The TV, print and digital advertisement highlights the new world of science where immunotherapy is replacing chemotherapy, where researchers attack the causes of disease, not just the symptoms and where medicines can now be tailored for the individual patient.

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He Boldly Stars in @PhRMA's Multi-Million $ Ad Campaign, But Has No Money to Pay His Rent

He Boldly Stars in @PhRMA's Multi-Million $ Ad Campaign, But Has No Money to Pay His Rent | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

His face is everywhere: in TV commercials during late-night comedy shows, in the pages of Wired and Politico, on a billboard at the airport near Washington, D.C.


Brian Kursonis, who was diagnosed last year with early-onset Alzheimer’s at age 55, is a star of the drug industry’s “Go Boldly” campaign — a sophisticated PR push, costing tens of millions a year, to highlight pharma’s commitment to develop cures for dreaded diseases.


The ads might improve pharma’s battered reputation. But behind the soft lighting and inspiring music, the patient who’s helping anchor the campaign says his life is falling apart.


He is living alone, after a nine-year relationship broke up as his memory deteriorated. He had to give away his beloved dogs. He loves fly-fishing, but forgets how.


And he is fast running out of money.


Kursonis hopes he can find a way to earn a living as an advocate, but if money doesn’t come in soon, he won’t be able to make the December rent on his spartan apartment in a suburb outside Charlotte, N.C. He fears he will soon be homeless, his best option the men’s shelter in downtown Charlotte.


Kursonis’s story highlights the complicated, often heartbreaking realities that compound the challenges of living with a disease like Alzheimer’s.


In the “Go Boldly” ads — which were funded by the drug industry lobbying group PhRMA — he’s paired with a scientist who promises to bring an Alzheimer’s drug to patients in her lifetime. Even if she succeeds, a long shot in a field that has been marked by failure after failure, Kursonis knows it will likely be too late to help him and millions of other patients in the grip of the degenerative disease.


Now, he’s begun speaking candidly about his challenges — both on his blog and in interviews with STAT — in hopes of raising awareness and building a new career as a patient advocate.


“I want people to know, if I disappear, that at least I tried,” Kursonis said.


Further Reading:

Pharma Guy's insight:

The only option is for him to become a paid Alzheimer's patient advocate. Good luck with that! There will be many more patients vying for that opportunity.

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Science Not Silence! MARCH FOR SCIENCE - April 22, 2017

Science Not Silence! MARCH FOR SCIENCE - April 22, 2017 | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Since Mr. Trump’s election, many scientists have expressed concern about rumors and public statements on the new administration’s views on science, climate change and the role of federal offices like the Environmental Protection Agency [and the FDA!].


Mr. Trump has called climate change a hoax (although more recently said he would have an “open mind” about it) and appointed some officials to his transition team who dispute mainstream climate science. But there is much that is still unclear about his administration’s attitudes toward science.


The president has yet to appoint a science adviser and has not responded to open letters calling on him to do so from science policy groups including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (whose president, Rush D. Holt, is a physicist and former congressman).


Few scientists have gone as far as Dr. Eisen, but other researchers are now undergoing a political awakening, contemplating what their role should be for at least the next few years.


*************** MARCH FOR SCIENCE ***************


The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.




We are scientists and science enthusiasts. We come from all races, all religions, all gender identities, all sexual orientations, all abilities, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all political perspectives, and all nationalities. Our diversity is our greatest strength: a wealth of opinions, perspectives, and ideas is critical for the scientific process. What unites us is a love of science, and an insatiable curiosity. We all recognize that science is everywhere and affects everyone.


Science is often an arduous process, but it is also thrilling (read “PhRMA's Dark Inspirational Video Starts a 6-Month Offensive: ‘Less Hoodies, More White Coats’”). A universal human curiosity and dogged persistence is the greatest hope for the future. This movement cannot and will not end with a march. Our plans for policy change and community outreach will start with marches worldwide and a teach-in at the National Mall, but it is imperative that we continue to celebrate and defend science at all levels - from local schools to federal agencies - throughout the world.


Satellite Marches are solidarity events inspired by the March for Science, and organized independently by volunteers around the world. If you can't make it to Washington, D.C. then you can join or host a Satellite March near you. We encourage everyone to follow to local organizers to stay updated, and reach out if you want to help!

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