Doctor Docs: InCrowd Proves Physicians Need Info About DNA Therapy

Most doctors are still uninformed about RNA/DNA-based therapies.

While CRISPR and other RNA/DNA-based therapies seem to be all the buzz in medical media, InCrowd’s newest survey reveals that doctors don’t know nearly enough about these treatments to effectively prescribe them. Of the 250 physicians who responded to the survey this September, only 28% were somewhat familiar, familiar, or very familiar with the seven leading nucleic-based therapies today—RNAi, siRNA, ASO, mRNA, AAV, CRISPR, and TALENs. Oncologists were most informed about these rising therapies. Interestingly, though 92% of respondents knew the term mRNA, only 48% among those familiar with the therapeutic approach considered it a gene therapy.

These types of misunderstandings about DNA therapies is widespread among physicians responsible for prescribing these treatments, who also show a notable lack of understanding regarding the risks of these approaches. Of participating doctors, 83% were unaware that any approved nucleic acid-based therapies are on the market, when in fact, Alnylam’s Onpattro and Novartis’ Zolgensma are FDA approved. Pharma marketers have a clear opportunity to better inform physicians critical to helping patients access DNA-based care.

Trend Setting: New Resource for the New Parent

Healthline Parenthood is a new hub of advice and information for a new generation of parents who believe their own health and well-being are essential to create a happy, healthy family. Healthline Media launched the site in an effort to provide articles and tips for the many parents who do not have easy access to sleep doctors, career coaches, relationship counselors, or other health and wellness experts.

“Becoming a parent is overwhelming and complex. Whether it is preparing for parenthood, getting pregnant, pregnancy, or baby’s first year, parents go through a transformative journey that impacts their hormonal, emotional, physical, and mental well-being,” said Dria de Botton Barnes, General Manager, Healthline Parenthood. “We are confident that Healthline Parenthood will quickly establish itself as a go-to resource for modern parents-to-be and new parents who prioritize their own well-being and proactively seek guidance so they can take better care of their families.”

Healthline Parenthood is crafted for Gen Z and Millennial parents who naturally turn to the digital space for solutions. Healthline’s research shows that these parents also demand a more holistic, well-rounded approach to life and parenthood. Of the 6,500 parents-to-be and new parents surveyed, the majority of parents (56%) want resources that speak to the whole person, not just their role as a mom or dad. Moms are significantly more likely than dads to wish for this (57% vs. 51%), and 32% report struggling to find advice or support for their own health conditions. The most surprising part of the study reveals that 49% of expecting and new parents have felt self-conscious when looking for parenting advice or support from people they know. Healthline Parenthood can provide answers for people with these negative feelings as well as make conversations easier between new parents and their partners.

Healthline Parenthood will provide content regarding relevant topics to modern parents like healthy sleep habits for parents and baby, making enough time for exercise, self-care at work, and navigating relationship challenges that come with having small children. Survey results show that 56% of new parents want more sleep, 37% want better nutrition, and 35% want more time alone. Healthline Parenthood’s expert content will be specially curated to meet parental need for access to care that helps them live a balanced, happier life with their children.

Patient Pages: Patients Want Brands to Provide Doctor Directory, says Doctor.com

Patients are turning to online information to research potential prescriptions and medical devices, but most hit a wall when it comes to finding a prescriber. Doctor.com’s survey, “Digital Patient Trends in Pharma 2019,” revealed that of 1,300 U.S. adults, 52% find company websites the most useful place for finding information about treatments while the remaining 54% rely on their Primary Care Doctors. For those patients who turn to pharmaceutical and medical device websites, finding the right doctor to discuss these treatment options with is their #1 barrier to accessing these therapies.

“Our study confirms that ‘digital’ has transformed every aspect of the healthcare journey, including how patients prefer to research and access prescription medications. Yet even best-in-class brands are underutilizing digital channels and missing opportunities to connect with patients and caregivers at critical touchpoints leading up to the point of care,” said Doctor.com CEO Andrei Zimiles in a statement. “By bridging the critical last mile to finding care, brands have an incredible opportunity to transform the patient journey, win consumer loyalty, and make a major impact on visitation and adherence metrics.”

Nearly 80% of respondents older than 60 and approximately 90% of all patients would find it helpful to have a doctor directory on the brand website. Roughly a third would prefer to schedule an appointment right on the site as well. Brands have an opportunity to build loyalty by providing patients with a list of physicians familiar with their products and ready to advise new patients on appropriate treatment options.

DC Dispatch: Pelosi and Trump May Agree on Drug Price Bill

Despite the tension between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump, her drug pricing bill may soon earn administration approval. The Democratic bill would not only allow Medicare to negotiate prices of expensive drugs, but give the government power to tax drugmaker profits in order to incentivize the companies to lower their prices. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates Pelosi’s bill would save the government $345 billion from 2023 to 2029. Pelosi announced that she believes the bipartisan bill will pass without veto.

The bill targets medicines such as Bristol-Myers Squibb’s blood thinner Eliquis; Merck’s Januvia, which helps control blood sugar in diabetics; and Sanofi’s insulin medication Lantus Solostar. Ten such medicines accounted for 17% of Medicare drug benefit’s $151 billion in 2017 expenditures, according to the agency’s records. The bill would require that the government negotiate lower prices for at least 35, but no more than 250, drugs per year.

Med Device: Allergan Backs Breast Implant Monitoring App

Following an FDA panel about the risks and safety of breast implants, it became clear that monitoring implants is important to patients, physicians, and even manufacturers. Given this market gap, Allergan is supporting the Aesthetic Society as it develops the Patient App. This HIPAA-compliant mobile app will securely store patient implant records, provide information and safety updates, and give patients a way to send feedback to doctors and medical device brands.

The app is a solution to a cyclical problem: Patients want to be better informed before consent with updated and more complete information about their breast implants, while manufacturers need a better way to collect data and monitor patients so they can deliver that information.

“As healthcare becomes more personalized, Allergan is utilizing the latest in technology and innovation to compete with traditional methods in the delivery of highly personalized health (medical aesthetic) education,” Carrie Strom, Allergan Senior VP for Medical Aesthetics in the U.S., states. “Part of that innovation is building tools that allow for a more seamless engagement, which is what the Patient App is designed to do.”

The Aesthetic Society will market the app to plastic surgeons and encourage them to talk directly to their patients about the app while Allergan plans to promote the Patient App on its Natrelle breast implant digital and social media channels as well as in in-office brochures.

FDA Update

Drug Approvals

The FDA approved the first triple combination therapy available to treat patients with the most common cystic fibrosis mutation. Vertex Pharmaceuticals developed Trikafta for the 90% of those in the cystic fibrosis community who have at least one F508del mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene and have no therapy options. Trikafta is a combination of three drugs that target the defective CFTR protein, helping it function more effectively. In the U.S., 27,000 people over the age of 12 with the F508del mutation now have an effective method of treatment.

Eli Lilly received approval for Reyvow, an oral tablet for acute treatment of migraines without aura. It is not a preventative medication, but an active, short-term treatment for adults with a history of migraines.

Clinuvel’s Scenesse is approved to help patients with a history of skin damage (phototoxic reactions) due to erythropoietic protoporphyria, experience pain-free light exposure. Scenesse is an implant inserted under the skin.

The FDA has approved a new drug to reduce the risk of HIV-1 infection from sex. The approval excludes those who have receptive vaginal sex because Gilead’s Descovy’s effectiveness in this population has not yet been evaluated. Gilead developed Descovy for PrEP in an effort to reduce new infections by 90% in the next 10 years.

Med Device Approvals

The FDA granted expansion approval to AMO Manufacturing USA for the iDESIGN Refractive Studio and STAR S4 IR Excimer Laser Systems. The Laser System is approved to reduce or eliminate nearsightedness (myopia) with or without astigmatism. A doctor uses the iDESIGN Refractive Studio to measure the patient’s eye and determine how the cornea should be re-shaped to improve the vision. The Laser System performs the corneal surgery.

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