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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A New Design for Rx Drug Patient Information Sheets

A New Design for Rx Drug Patient Information Sheets | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Design by Mathieu Lehanneur, Periscopic.


THE RULE SOUNDS reasonable enough: All prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration are required to be dispensed with a “label” that includes directions for use and spells out possible side effects or risks to patients. But in practice, once all the required content and cautions are put into print, these documents can run to thousands of words. For a popular drug like Metformin (used to treat diabetes), the roughly 10,000-word label is twice as long as a typical Times Magazine article (and not nearly as entertaining). It takes the form of that tightly folded, tiny-print insert that is bundled with the drug — and it’s almost guaranteed to go unread. An unfortunate result is that many people don’t take their drug properly or quit taking it altogether.


So what do patients starting a new medication need to know? Just a few things, really. What they are taking. How to take it. What to expect. And what to do if something seems wrong. This information can be summarized in just a few words and images. The best interface for this information, it turns out, isn’t the pill bottle itself but the bag that the bottle goes in. Here, I worked with the team at Periscopic to turn the bag into something useful. (All the information is drawn from the data available at, the health-information website I co-founded in 2013.)


The most useful information here is probably the “What you can expect” timeline, which shows how typical side effects usually go away over time, as the body gets used to a drug. This is common knowledge to pharmacists, but it’s rarely communicated to patients. In the future, because the pharmacy most likely knows the age and sex of the patient, it could be possible to tailor the information to display the actual experience of people like them, as well as to identify any possible interactions between drugs that might arise based on their other prescriptions. The beauty of this label is that it doesn’t pretend to be an exhaustive list. It’s suited to a quick glance, which is all that most people would afford it anyway. With all respect to the F.D.A., sometime a lot less is a lot more.

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Are Doctors Wary or Weary of Getting Drug Info from Pharma?

Are Doctors Wary or Weary of Getting Drug Info from Pharma? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |
According to a new study from M3, you have an average of about 20 hours a week to capture a doctor’s attention while they’re online.  However, recently, the question hasn't been whether or not doctors areonline, but how do we reach them while they’re online.  Results of the M3 survey show that above all else, credibility may be the biggest factor in getting physicians attention. 

The study, which surveyed just over 1,000 general practitioners, shows that while doctors are spending time online and looking for a variety of information, many are weary [sic; I think the proper word is "wary," although HCPs may be growing tired of of the information being shoveled to them by pharma] of obtaining that information through pharma companies.  While two-thirds of respondents expressed at least some interest in relevant pharma products, a whopping 85% indicated that they prefer independent sources for their information.  In addition, 56% specified that a rep meeting would not be preferable to acquiring information online. 

More “anti-vendor” sentiment can be found in terms of where doctors are spending their time online.  Almost half (45%) said they never visit a device company website when sourcing information while 33% indicated the same for pharma company websites.  Consequently, 59% visit the website of a government body at least bi-weekly in obtaining this information. 

But what can pharma companies do to present themselves as more trustworthy?  Even hard data can often be manipulated and many have a hard time trusting statistics.  Certainly “unbiased” sources of information such as third party reports could be used to a degree.  Respondents also showed some openness to case reports with 39% citing them as useful. 
Pharma Guy's insight:

Quoting Any Yeoman on the LinkedIn discussion of this survey:

"Not sure their unwillingness to visit pharma sites is that closely linked to their level of trust in the industry but more a desire to find impartial information and reviews about the products they buy and use. It's exactly what I do when I am planning a significant purchase.

"The doctors polled in the M3 survey are users of so they have a familiar and trusted platform to engage with pharma-sponsored and 3rd party content. Not all doctors have access to, or use, this facility so the results are not entirely representative. 

"However, the M3 report indicates that many doctors prefer concise information via independent platforms and if these platforms continue to provide the information why are doctors going to change their habits? What can Pharma offer that will catalyse a change in this behaviour? Why bother trying?"

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