LIFE SCIENCES STILL DRIVE NJ ECONOMY

Despite struggles, life-science companies continue to play a leading role in the Garden State economy, according to key findings released by the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey (the trade association for New Jersey’s research-based biopharmaceutical and medical device companies). Participation in the survey is voluntary, and the number of companies contributing to the Deloitte-conducted survey fell from 24 in the calendar year 2009 survey to 19 in 2010, making year-to-year comparisons difficult. An apples-to-apples comparison, covering companies that participated in both the 2009 and 2010 surveys, shows the life-science economy holding steady—$23.9 billion in 2010 and $24.5 billion in 2009. In this cohort, global research and development spending increased by $1.4 billion, to $8.4 billion, and charitable donations in New Jersey also increased 8.1 percent, to $159 million from $147 million.

THE LANCET APP FOR IPAD

The Lancet, the independent general medical journal, unveiled its first iPad app, featuring innovative article-based navigation that makes it easier for healthcare professionals (HCPs) to find the information they need quickly and efficiently from the convenience of their iPad. The app gives subscribers convenient access to the latest articles published in The Lancet, The Lancet Oncology, The Lancet Neurology, and The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Articles are sent to users and categorized by topic for an easy, at-a-glance overview, the publisher said, and readers can annotate, share, and bookmark the material. The Lancet App is available for free from the App Store on iPad, and selected content is available for all viewers. HEALTHCARE DECISION-MAKING, V2.0 To feed the growing appetite for outcomes data, Future Medicine has launched the Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research, a new bimonthly title that provides a rapid publication platform for debate and the presentation of new findings in, well, comparative effectiveness research. The goal is to assistant patients, physicians, and policy makers in choosing among available treatments in order to improve healthcare delivery at a personal level, in the most cost-effective way possible.

PHARMACISTS, PATIENTS CITE MISLEADING MEDICARE PITCHES

Since the start of the 2012 Medicare plan year, pharmacists have been receiving complaints from patients who feel misled by Medicare Part D drug plan advertising. According to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), local pharmacists have heard repeated complaints from patients who say they have been misled by Medicare drug plan advertising, and have enrolled in plans on the basis of material misrepresentations on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS’s) online Medicare Plan Finder, internet health plan advertising, or enrollment agents. NCPA says that affected seniors unexpectedly discover that advertised co-pays are not available because the pharmacy is not on the plan’s preferred list. NCPA says it is working with CMS officials to resolve this issue, and has asked the agency to agree to a Special Enrollment Period for these patients this year and to take action to prevent similar confusion in the future.

UNMET NEED FOR PAIN CONTROL

Chronic pain afflicts 1.5 billion people worldwide, and the number continues to grow as the population ages. Yet many of those patients are not receiving adequate treatment, according to Epsicom’s report, Evolution in the Pain Therapy Market: Nociceptive and Neuropathic Drug Development. While increasing abuse of prescription drugs has produced record numbers of prescriptions, especially in the U.S., current drugs are still often ineffective for the patients who need them most and come laden with side-effects that further discourage patients from getting the relief they need. Sales of the top five pain medications totaled $12.7 billion in 2010. As the market continues to evolve over the next decade, the report notes, current market leaders will lose patent protection, generic competition price erosion will eat into revenue, and new pain medications (such as Gruenenthal/Johnson & Johnson’s Palexia/Nucynta) are unlikely to make up for all of the revenue shortfall.

FIRST CELLULAR-ENABLED GLUCOSE METER

The world’s first cellular-enabled glucose meter made the semi-finals at the Last Gadget Standing competition when it debuted at the CES electronics show last month. The Telcare BGM talks to iPhones and can send protected patient readings to doctors and caregivers via a private online database. The device can also supply diabetic patients with personalized feedback about what their sugar readings mean.

APPATURE EXPANDS TO THE CLOUD

Appature has integrated its Nexus relationship marketing platform with SalesForce.com and has made its functions available through SalesForce’s Appshare store. Nexus integrates a market database, campaign management, and analytics onto a cloud-based application, reducing users’ internal IT headaches.

FREE DESIGN GUIDELINES FROM CONTINUA HEALTH ALLIANCE

The Continua Health Alliance, an international non-profit organization of healthcare and technology companies dedicated to creating an ecosystem of interoperable personal connected health products and services, is making its Design Guidelines (tinyurl.com/6m3uvea) publicly available free of charge. The release aims to help developers streamline and simplify development of personal connected health products and services. (Recent Continua Health Alliance-influenced products include Bluetooth profiles that support monitoring devices such as heart monitors and glucose meters.) Allowing a large audience to access Continua Guidelines will be healthy for the industry, said Clint McClellan, Continua Board President and senior director of strategic marketing at Qualcomm Life, Inc. This is a vital step in enabling a collaborative system of interoperable plug-and-play healthcare technologies that will ultimately decrease time-to-market and drive deployment and maintenance costs.

GLOBAL MARKETING TRACKING TOOL RENAMED

The Research Partnership has changed the name of its online marketing tool from Therapy KnowlEdge to RP Therapy Watch. The tool allows subscribers to receive realtime data on market shares, switch patterns, drivers for treatment choice, treatment patterns, and patient demographics. RP Therapy Watch operates across a range of therapy areas spanning key international territories. Subscribers receive real-time data on market shares, switch patterns, drivers for treatment choice, treatment patterns, and patient demographics collected from a large panel of healthcare professionals who submit multiple patient records on a frequent basis. Therapy areas include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Chronic Kidney Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disorders, Hepatitis C, and HIV, among others.

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