Pfizer Is the First to Get Full COVID-19 Vaccine Approval
The FDA made the decision earlier than expected to grant full approval to Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty. The full approval applies to patients 16 years and older with the emergency approval status remaining for those 12 to 15 years of age. Many U.S. companies and organizations have been awaiting full approval to sign off on mandates requiring vaccination status of employees, students, etc. Immediate responses included the Pentagon requiring all U.S. troops to be vaccinated as well as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio requiring all NY school teachers to be vaccinated this September without the ability to opt out by doing regular testing.
The Comirnaty approval is the fastest to occur in the FDA’s 115-year history. “Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, said in the FDA’s statement. There is hope that those uncertain about getting the vaccine will be convinced with the full approval status, while the White House now plans to roll out Pfizer’s booster shot to those already vaccinated by mid-September.
The company itself wants the third shot to be added to the regular two-shot dose. While the current two-dose vaccine has proved able to prevent severe cases of COVID-19 and hospitalization due to the virus, evidence was found during the rise of the delta variant that the vaccine’s efficacy wanes over time. Now, the third shot is under FDA review for all vaccinated individuals 16 and older. Pfizer plans to deliver two billion Comirnaty doses globally and has raised their yearly earning expectation for 2021 to $33.5 billion.
AmerisourceBergen Grows Manufacturer Solutions
AmerisourceBergen, a global provider of healthcare manufacturing solutions, acquired FirstView Financial, a fintech solutions provider that delivers digital payment processing services to support patient affordability and access programs, pharmacy and provider networks, as well as payers and plan administrators. Among other benefits, the acquisition allows AmerisourceBergen to provide an enhanced patient support offering designed to help patients gain access to, afford, and stay on vital therapies.
In response to the growing number of specialty and rare disease products, demand for patient support services is expected to increase significantly. FirstView’s copay program management and payment processing services will be added to AmerisourceBergen’s existing portfolio of patient support and healthcare solutions so the company can better support the needs of manufacturers, healthcare providers, and patients.
Robert Mauch, PhD, Executive Vice President and Group President of AmerisourceBergen commented, “With FirstView, we’ve broadened our portfolio of manufacturer services by adding tech-driven payment and processing solutions that can reduce barriers throughout the treatment journey. The new solutions, coupled with our existing patient-centric services, enable us to meet the evolving needs of our partners and the patients they serve.”
Sharecare’s Patient Education and Engagement Tools Upgraded
Sharecare, the digital health company that helps people manage their health in one place, has upgraded its suite of solutions for pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, evolving with the landscape to always provide the best engagement and outcomes for patients. The four new solutions are focused on empowering patients to manage their own health through personalized, accessible, credible, and mobile-first, omnichannel experiences.
The first solution is the “All Together Better” social aggregator, a tool that complements condition-specific web content and resources with a dynamic, curated collection of social media content. The tool surfaces relevant conversations, influencers, and timely news across social networks for the user, enabling patients and loved ones to engage and easily explore more about their condition. Second, a menu-based chatbot allows users to explore their condition-specific questions in guided sessions, helping patients and caregivers find trustworthy answers to their most pressing questions. Third, a condition-specific virtual assistant is an empathetic AI that can help people navigate questions, answers, and relevant resources with ease. Finally, the interactive data visualization and mapping tool is a new mobile- and web-based experience that takes users on a highly interactive data-driven health education journey. Animated graphics and national- to community-level maps combine to provide useful content and data, maximizing consumer engagement and information retention.
“These recent additions to our product suite were designed not only to align with emerging consumer trends and preferences in today’s complex health landscape, but also to foster more productive connections between people and the healthcare brands they trust,’” stated Laura Klein, EVP and General Manager of Consumer Solutions at Sharecare. “With these enhancements, we look forward to new and evolved collaborations with our pharmaceutical and life sciences partners that allow us to make patients not only healthier, but also all together better.”
PRECISIONeffect Acquires Pascāle
PRECISIONeffect has acquired Pascāle, a healthcare communications company specializing in public relations and social media. According to Deborah Lotterman, Chief Creative Officer at PRECISIONeffect, about half of the agency’s clients have asked for deeper social media capabilities, including monitoring and response management, and nearly half have also asked about PR services at one point or another. This acquisition will allow PRECISIONeffect to fulfill those needs by integrating a deeper social bench and PR services from Pascāle.
Georgette Pascale, Founder and CEO of Pascāle, said in a statement, “We’re thrilled to join PRECISIONeffect’s team of experienced, results-oriented individuals to work together to transform healthcare marketing communications and deliver targeted results with passion and authenticity.”
LifeScan and Fitbit Will Collaborate on Diabetes Management
LifeScan, a leader in blood glucose monitoring, and Fitbit are partnering to offer people with diabetes a more complete view of how lifestyle factors such as daily activity, nutrition, and sleep can impact blood glucose levels, while also providing tools that can help lead to healthy lifestyle changes. LifeScan’s OneTouch Reveal app already uses a cloud-based digital ecosystem to deliver users a combination of data, technology, and insights for improved diabetes management. Now, through this collaboration, people will receive a Fitbit Inspire 2 and access to Fitbit Premium which provides guided programs, hundreds of workouts, mindfulness content, a wellness report, and more personalized insights in the Fitbit health metrics dashboard.
“The powerful combination of OneTouch and Fitbit offerings will provide more meaningful personalized support, whether your goal is keeping your blood sugar under control, getting more active, or eating healthier,” said Val Asbury, LifeScan President and CEO. “Our collaboration with Fitbit is an important part of a larger digital ecosystem of connected solutions and services LifeScan is creating to help support a healthy lifestyle for the millions of people with diabetes who count on OneTouch products every day.”
The benefits of the collaboration will first be available to consumers in the U.S. starting this fall through OneTouch Solutions and then offered to HCPs and payers as a reimbursed adjudicated option in early 2022.
H1 Acquires Carevoyance
H1, which offers one of the largest global platforms connecting HCPs, has acquired Carevoyance, which offers a targeting, sales enablement, and physician segmentation platform to medical device sellers. Carevoyance will continue to operate independently as a subsidiary of H1.
In a statement, H1 Co-founder and CEO Ariel Katz said, “Acquiring Carevoyance strategically accelerates H1’s entry into the medical device space and adds depth to our engineering and client facing teams.”