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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Targeted Drug Ads: Opening Pandora's Box

Targeted Drug Ads: Opening Pandora's Box | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

The drug industry spends billions each year to promote its medicines to the masses, blanketing popular TV shows and magazines with ads. Now, digital companies are increasingly trying to pry away a share of that money for ads that target specific patients, rather than broad demographics.


Targeted ads are nothing new in retail; anyone who uses the internet has had the eerie feeling that the ads popping up on page after page appear to be aimed directly at them. But drug makers have long steered clear of many such tools, for fear of violating patient privacy law.


That’s changing now. Facebook and the music streaming service Pandora are aggressively vying for pharma dollars by promising to help drug makers identify and reach the users most likely to have certain diseases or conditions — without violating the privacy law known as HIPAA.


Pandora is going hard after … pharma [drug ad] dollars.


Pandora now has more than 16 million individual monthly listeners over age 55 — and its fastest growing segments of new users are people in that bracket. Not surprisingly, over the past two years, the company has seen a rapid rise in interest from drug advertisers, according to Lee Ann Longinotti, who runs Pandora’s business with health care advertisers.


Pandora now counts 20 drug makers among its recent advertisers, including Pfizer, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson. They’ve promoted 40 different prescription and over-the-counter drugs, for conditions ranging from diabetes to erectile dysfunction to a circadian rhythm disorder common in the blind.


To target users more precisely, Pandora struck a partnership a year ago with Crossix, a company which mines anonymized patient data from electronic health records, insurance claims, and pharmacy transactions.


That’s allowed Pandora to create profiles of the types of people who are most likely to be interested in drugs for a certain condition. Then it helps the pharma company follow those users around as they listen to music on different devices throughout the day.


A mom who is a prime target for a given drug company, for instance, might hear ads for the same product as she listens to the Adele playlist on her computer at work, rocks out to the “Frozen” playlist with her kids in the car, and relaxes to jazz at home in the evening. Other listeners streaming the same general playlists at the same time would hear very different ads.


Further Reading:

Pharma Guy's insight:

People don't like it when they are followed around on the Web or digital devices and "targeted" by advertisers. The process often fails as when, in the past, HIV drugs ads were served up to people on the Web.

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One Way for #Pharma to to Use EHR Data. Will It Work?

One Way for #Pharma to to Use EHR Data. Will It Work? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Providers have sunk millions into their EHRs, and the imperative to make good on the investment has never been stronger. As the EHR continues to evolve and change the way care is delivered to patient populations, provider organizations and pharmaceutical companies alike need to increase collaboration efforts in targeted ways to see the most benefit.


A partnership between the two to optimize their EHRs is a proactive and practical way to achieve shared goals—providing the best possible care to patients and engaging clinicians in that work.


One way is for provider-pharma partners to use EHR data to quickly identify and recruit eligible patients for clinical research trials, which would enable providers to have a more direct impact on drug development and innovation. Additionally, real-time data can generate a larger pool of eligible populations more quickly, helping to fast track a new therapy through the clinical testing stage, saving time, money, and effort for both providers and pharma companies.

Pharma Guy's insight:

This is a good idea provided that patients opt-in for this. This was not mentioned in the article. Also read “EHRs Are #Pharma's Digital Marketing Tools, Say Authors of a NEJM Article”;

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Amgen Wants to Own Your Protected Health Information in Exchange for Copay Card

Amgen Wants to Own Your Protected Health Information in Exchange for Copay Card | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Amgen is the Rumpelstiltskin of the drug industry.

As reported by MedPage Today/CardioBrief, "Doctors, pharmacists, patients and others are now starting to learn that in order to receive financial assistance from Amgen for its expensive new cholesterol drug Repatha, patients are being required to surrender rights to their personal information, including their personal health information."

Not even HIPAA-protected health information is off limits.

"The agreement specifically states that by agreeing to the terms [of Amgen's privacy policy] patients may lose federal HIPAA protection," notes CardioBrief.

Patients must agree that they "understand that Amgen may use [their] personal information, including [their] personal health information, for 10 years once [they] accept this Authorization ..." 

What other nasty things must poor people agree to in order to get a copay card?

Find out here.

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TRUSTe Settles FTC Charges it Deceived Consumers: If You Can't Truste, Who Can You Trust?

TRUSTe Settles FTC Charges it Deceived Consumers: If You Can't Truste, Who Can You Trust? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

The Federal Trade Commission has settled a consent agreement with TRUSTe, a company that provides privacy certifications for online businesses, including children's privacy and the US-EU Safe Harbor program, after charging that TRUSTe deceived consumers with the company's privacy seal program.


TRUSTe performs privacy compliance assessments for websites, and provides a set of icons for websites to display. By displaying TRUSTe icons, websites convey to users that they comply with various privacy requirements. The FTC brought the charges under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which allows the Commission to prohibit "unfair or deceptive" trade practices.


The FTC charged TRUSTe with failure to conduct re-certifications for companies that displayed privacy seals, although TRUSTe's website states that it conducts annual re-certifications. "TRUSTe promised to hold companies accountable for protecting consumer privacy, but it fell short of that pledge," stated FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. Under the consent agreement, TRUSTe is prohibited from misrepresenting business practices to consumers, must pay a $200,000 fine, and must submit a detailed filing to the FTC every year describing its COPPA recertification process.


The Federal Trade Commission has also investigated a number of companies displaying Safe Harbor or other privacy seals without renewing their certifications. The Safe Harbor Framework, coordinated by the Department of Commerce, is an industry-developed, self-regulatory approach to privacy compliance that allows firms to self-certify privacy policies. In February 2014, the FTC settled charges with 12 companies for failure to renew their Safe Harbor privacy certifications while continuing to post the Safe Harbor icon on their websites.


EPIC subsequently submitted comments to the FTC regarding the proposed settlement agreements. The comments highlighted the weaknesses in Safe Harbor oversight, and urged the FTC to prioritize Safe Harbor enforcement and to broaden the scope of the consent orders by requiring the companies to comply with the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. EPIC also requested that the FTC to make public the companies' annual compliance reports.

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PwC Predicts Patients Sharing Data Directly with #Pharma Will Be Valuable in 2017

PwC Predicts Patients Sharing Data Directly with #Pharma Will Be Valuable in 2017 | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

PwC's pharma and healthcare predictions for 2017 are out. And though, yes, next year may be "a year of uncertainty" with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump set to step in, it's also a year of "opportunity," the consultancy says.

One forecast pharma might want to heed? Patient connections, which aren’t necessarily anything new, will be increasingly valuable, PwC points out.

“Everybody wins when engagement takes place. Pharmaceutical companies would learn more about how patients manage their medications, and insurers could appreciate that patients are more likely to be adherent and meet their outcomes. There’s a domino effect," Fran Kochman, director of advocacy and alliance development at GlaxoSmithKline, said in the report.

And some patients have shown they're up for connecting directly with pharma. PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) found in 2016 that the majority of consumers with chronic conditions are willing to share their health data with pharma companies, including how well treatments are working and information about daily symptoms.

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One Third of US Citizens May Have Had Their Health Data Hacked!

One Third of US Citizens May Have Had Their Health Data Hacked! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Last year, the fallout from a string of breaches at major retailers like Targetand Home Depot had consumers on edge. But 2015 is shaping up to be the year consumers should be taking a closer look at who is guarding their health information.

Data about more than 120 million people has been compromised in more than 1,100 separate breaches at organizations handling protected health data since 2009, according to Department of Health and Human Services data reviewed by The Washington Post.

"That's a third of the U.S. population -- this really should be a wake-up call," said Deborah Peel, the executive director of Patient Privacy Rights.

The data may double-count some individuals if they had their information compromised in more than incident, but it still reflects a staggering number of times Americans have been affected by breaches at organizations trusted with sensitive health information.

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Think Twice - Maybe Three Times - Before Looking for Medical Information on Internet

Think Twice - Maybe Three Times - Before Looking for Medical Information on Internet | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

An astonishing number of the pages we visit to learn about private health concerns—confidentially, we assume—are tracking our queries, sending the sensitive data to third party corporations, even shipping the information directly to the same brokers who monitor our credit scores. It’s happening for profit, for an “improved user experience,” and because developers have flocked to “free” plugins and tools provided by data-vacuuming companies.

In April 2014, Tim Libert, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, custom-built software calledwebXray to analyze the top 50 search results for nearly 2,000 common diseases (over 80,000 pages total). He found the results startling: a full 91 percent of the pages made what are known as third-party requests to outside companies. That means when you search for “cold sores,” for instance, and click the highly ranked “Cold Sores Topic Overview WebMD” link, the website is passing your request for information about the disease along to one or more (and often many, many more) other corporations.

According to Libert’s research, which is published in the Communications of the ACM, about 70 percent of the time, the data transmitted “contained information exposing specific conditions, treatments, and diseases.” That, he says, is “potentially putting user privacy at risk.” And it means you’ll probably want to think twice before looking up medical information on the internet.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Who knew? I kid, of course. There's no such thing as privacy these days.

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