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Archive for April, 2008

WIIFM, Impactiviti?

There’s a lot of turnover in pharma sales training, and perhaps you haven’t heard of Impactiviti. Or maybe you have, but a quick 3.5 minute video overview wouldn’t hurt.

This is my first effort at video blogging, so please be nice! Here I try to answer the immortal question, WIIFM (What’s in it for Me)?

Beside our (free) recommendation service, explained in the video above, we have the most extensive Job Board for pharma sales training. That’s pretty good.

We offer you a weekly e-newsletter (The Impactiviti Collection), full of pharma news, training resources, links to events, and lots of other interesting stuff. It’s free – sign up here (no, we never share your e-mail address).

The Impactiviti blog is updated constantly with news, commentary, and helpful links. If you’re reading this, you’re on it! Feel free to browse.

What else can Impactiviti do for me?

We have a unique recommendation service. It’s very simple – you talk to us about your training needs, and we help you find the optimal vendor/partners. Here’s the quickie on-line SlideShare explanation. No cost, no fuss, lots of time saved. Read the testimonials.

We also work with select clients on a fee-based consulting basis. For overall strategy, curriculum design, learning technology, vendor selection, and more…we add value when you add us to your team. More here.

Who is Steve Woodruff?

Steve is a reasonably smart and creative guy who’s pretty good at this pharma sales training stuff. Here’s the full background; also a professional profile on LinkedIn. BONUS – if you’re interested in good coffee, wine, new web technologies, marketing, business, social media, astronomy, kids, philosophy, puddingstone, and a number of other items, he can be easily diverted down conversational rabbit trails…

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Recommended

Need product training (binders and/or interactive)? How about creative ways to train on PI and reprints? I can help you with those – just e-mail (stevew  at  impactiviti.com) or call (973.947.7429) and I’ll be glad to talk over your needs and make recommendations.

“I have worked with Steve Woodruff for several years together on different projects, and I’ve always appreciated his creativity and willingness to think “Outside the Box” when it comes to training solutions. He is more than willing to look at different options and suggest partnering with other groups to get the most out of project…” from the Testimonial files.

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After Hours 4_28

Amazing archive site of live performances – Wolfgang’s Vault. A simple sign-up (e-mail and password) gives you ree access to hundreds of recorded concerts, many from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Addictive! (new verb has been created, btw – if you’re busy listening to streaming concerts and ignoring everything else, you are officially “vaulting”)

I’m not planning on getting this Batman-like glider device anytime soon, but it really is cool…

Trivia alert – want to stump your friends and show off your brilliance at the next social gatherings? Here are the names for 16 things you never knew had names!

Three up-in-sky goodies: 20 unusual weather phenomena (great pix!). Awesome galaxy cluster (from Astronomy Picture of the Day, or APOD). And, top Hubble images of colliding galaxies.

Have you come across anything interesting you’d like to share on After Hours? Just forward it to me and perhaps it will appear next week!

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Statin and Alzheimer’s…ummm, maybe not – More news from that big neurology meeting : Lipitor doesn’t help slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients, researchers said this week. That’s something of a disappointment, given that it was a big, randomized study, and earlier data had showed promise. On the other hand, Alzheimer’s patients who took Lipitor at least didn’t seem to do any worse than those who took a placebo…more

Zimmer to launch new ethical marketing practices endeavor – In what may be an effort to head off legislation, Zimmer announced new rules covering its relationships with docs, specifically, payments for consulting, gift giving and medical education funding…more

More on the proposed Massachusetts gift ban – the state Senate unanimously approved a first-in-the-nation law banning all gifts to doctors from pharmaceutical companies, but lawmakers removed a controversial provision that would have criminalized the practice…more.  And, in a similar vein – Drug and device makers shouldn’t be allowed to offer freebies – including meals, gifts, travel and ghost-writing helps – to docs, staffers and students in any or all 129 of the nation’s medical colleges, according to a new report from the Association of American Medical Colleges, which spent two years on the project.

News we can all applaud – more chocolate, better health! – Munch on dark chocolate on your way to lower cholesterol…more.  PLUS – UK study enrolling folks for a year’s worth of “chocolate therapy” to measure diabetes impact! Woo-hoo!

Glaxo jumps on red wine therapy – well, OK, sort of - Like many aging pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline has been looking for rejuvenation. Now it thinks it might have literally found the elixir of youth. Glaxo, a British drug maker, said Tuesday it would acquire an American biotechnology company that is pursuing the notion that a compound found in red wine might retard aging and let people live longer…more

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I love this sign

Too bad more municipal governments don’t have a sense of humor…!

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We are loaded up this week!

Can Enbrel reverse Alzheimers? – Alzheimer’s patients given a drug usually used to treat arthritis have shown dramatic improvements, leading to hopes of a breakthrough in treating the disease…more

Pfizer plunges on reduced profits – The pharmaceutical maker reported worse than expected results across the board in its first quarter, with its earnings plunging 18% following the advent of generic competition for blood pressure treatment Norvasc and allergy medication Zyrtec…more

Merck and ghostwriting – Two JAMA articles say Merck misrepresented the death risks in one study and routinely stuck the names of top researchers onto ghostwritten scientific reports…more

Memory loss due to incontinence drugs? – Commonly used incontinence drugs may cause memory problems in some older people, a study has found…more

Takeda buys Millennium, further expanding into oncology – Japan’s largest drug company Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (OOTC:TKPHY) said Thursday it’s buying U.S. biotech company Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:MLNM) for $25 a share, in an all-cash deal valued at about $8.8 billion…more (here is an extended article from Forbes on Biotechs for Sale)

Eli Lilly cutting 500 jobs (not in sales) – Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday it would cut up to 500 jobs as it streamlines manufacturing operations in its hometown of Indianapolis…more

Abbott announces strong financial results – Abbott Laboratories Inc said on Wednesday first-quarter earnings increased 34 percent on higher sales of its prescription drugs and medical devices and favorable foreign exchange factors…more

Forest: Good revenue, dim prospects, shares down – A better-than-expected profit was not enough to boost Forest Laboratories shares Tuesday, especially after the drugmaker offered a dim outlook for 2009 and forecast significantly increased spending on research and development to improve its drug pipeline…more

Attacking Alzheimers: are we on the right track? – The drug industry has bet heavily on one theory about the disease. What if that theory is wrong?…more

PDI and Novartis sign deal for Elidel promotion – Contract sales firm PDI signed a four-year agreement with Novartis to deploy a field force promoting Elidel, a second-line eczema treatment for patients older than 2 years, according to Kim Golodetz, a spokesperson for PDI. The deal calls for deployment of “approximately 100 full-time equivalent sales representatives who will call upon physicians nationwide,” a PDI statement said…more

Novartis promotes two more to top positions – Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG on Thursday said it promoted two senior U.S. executives to head its U.S. drugs unit and overall U.S. operations…more

Promising MS treatment results from Novartis drug – Novartis AG’s once-daily FTY720 pill reduced the number of attacks suffered by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) after three years, according to data presented on Tuesday. Nearly three-quarter of patients taking a 5 milligram dose of FTY720, and 68 percent on a 1.25 mg dose, remained free of attacks after three years, Novartis said in a statement…more

Wild new cancer therapy (no side effects?) getting a trial run – A promising new cancer treatment that may one day replace radiation and chemotherapy is edging closer to human trials. Kanzius RF therapy attaches microscopic nanoparticles to cancer cells and then “cooks” tumors inside the body with harmless radio waves. Based on technology developed by Pennsylvania inventor John Kanzius, a retired radio and TV engineer, the treatment has proven 100 percent effective at killing cancer cells while leaving neighboring healthy cells unharmed. It is currently being tested at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston…more

Migraine drug from GSK/Pozen finally cleared – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a combination migraine drug from GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Pozen Inc, the companies said on Tuesday. The two-in-one drug has faced repeated delays since Pozen sought U.S. approval in 2005. FDA officials had earlier expressed concern over heart safety and the risk of gene toxicity, asking for more data…more

Pre-emption: it’s a big deal – The Third Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of pharma last week, stating that FDA labeling preempts any liability on the part of the drug companies. According to the decisions in two cases—Colacicco v Apotex and McNellis v Pfizer—pharma can not be held accountable for adverse events caused by drugs that were being monitored by FDA…more

Carlat’s drug rep free zone: one doctor decides to close the door – I’ve had it. As of today, I am no longer allowing drug reps into my office…more

Some docs no longer taking industry money – With little fanfare, a small number of prominent academic scientists have decided to stop accepting payments from drug and device makers for speaking at meetings or for sitting on advisory boards. And while they maintain that it’s important for for knowledgeable scientists to help companies draw up and interpret studies, any work they do will be pro bono…more

Banning drug rep gifts in Mass.: not all docs are on board – Some legislators in Massachusetts would like to make the Bay State the first to ban any gifts to doctors from drug makers, right down to pens with product logos. Docs taking as little as a pen or a slice of pizza from Big Pharma could end up paying $5,000 in fines and serving two years in jail, according to penalties contemplated by drafters of the legislation. Today comes a counterpoint from some heavy-hitting academic docs, who argue that the legislation, rather than solving problems, would be a profound threat to good medicine…more

More transparency in grant $$ spending – For years, the nation’s largest drug and medical device manufacturers have courted doctors with consulting fees, free trips to exotic locales and sponsoring the educational conferences that physicians attend. Those financial ties in most cases need not be disclosed and can lead to arrangements that some say improperly influence medical care. Now, under the threat of regulation from Congress, the two industries are promising to be more forthcoming about their spending…more

Internet vs. Sale Repswhich do doctors prefer?

And finally, how the flu travels the globe – interesting little article, but I really like the graphic!

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After Hours 4_18

The phone industry is changing – dramatically. I’ve previously written about the iPhone (which I’m thoroughly enjoying), and Google’s free Grand Central service (one phone number that forwards your calls to wherever you are – also very good).

Here’s one I haven’t tried, but which looks very interesting. MagicJack. $20/year. Plug it into your computer, make unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada from anywhere. Here’s a review.

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Do you need a supplier to help with managed care training? I can give you some recommendations – just e-mail (stevew  at  impactiviti.com) or call (973.947.7429) and I’ll be glad to talk over your needs.

Recently, I’ve been helping one client evaluate/clean up/improve assessment questions. Many suppliers and others who write questions don’t have adequate knowledge to do this right. Contact me for some resources to help get you on the right track.

Need help cleaning up your contact files?? Please, DO NOT call me! I’ve had enough on that one this week! (I think I’ve got it conquered…)

When we have a training need, Impactiviti is an excellent resource. Steve has helped us find vendors/partners for our training projects, even when there was no financial interest in it for him. I highly regard his great network of resources, and his readiness to help whenever I call.” from the Testimonial files.

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OK, I’m finally doing it this week.

Recently, I bought an iPhone in order to try to consolidate cell phone, calendar, contacts, music, and whatever into one device. It’s a very cool machine…but I’ve been putting off one very painful task.

I have contacts scattered through at least 3 main applications – my Yahoo mail program, a Palm pilot (and its contact program), and LinkedIn. Add a couple of years and a lot of changes/duplications/incomplete data, and you can imagine what I’ve got. It’s not contact management. It’s contact nightmare!

So…I’ve exported all of them, consolidated all the files into one common Excel format, and now am going through the mind-numbing task of sorting through nearly 3,000 entries. As of this writing, I’m just about to start the “E”s.

Then, when finished, I have to wipe out my Yahoo contact file, and import this new master in, hoping to heck that it all works. Finally, it will sync up with the iPhone, and voila! Nirvana achieved!

Maybe. Fingers crossed….

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This week, a group of over 80 bloggers gathered in NYC, from all over the United States and a number of countries around the world (map). There were no keynotes, no workshops, no educational events. We gathered to…socialize. Blogger Social ’08.

Why?

Ten years ago, it never would have – or could have – happened. But through blogging, e-mail, instant messaging, and technology-enabled collaboration, this remarkable group of marketing bloggers “found” each other and began to collaborate. We’ve written one book together (Age of Conversation) and are about to start on the next volume (with 275 authors this time!) Some of us had met face-to-face in various local meetups, but there was a groundswell of desire, for those who had gotten to “know” each other electronically so well, to actually have a meeting where we could get better acquainted face-to-face.

So we shared meals, meet-ups, book signings, drinks, and a boat ride together. Not much sleep, but an incredible amount of socializing with a very diverse, high-quality, talented group of fun people.

One of the attendees called it a preunion. Apt name, that! And it did feel like a reunion – people hugging and talking and deepening friendships that had started through the power of the network. Shared interests leading to shared sympathies leading to deeper levels of shared life.

Some of these bloggers have undergone tragedies such as cancer, or the death of a loved one, and the virtual community rapidly rallied around these folks to provide support, donations, and other tangible help. A young man in Oman embraced by new friends worldwide. A breast cancer sufferer around whom an entire movement (the Frozen Peas Fund) coalesced. A dynamic lady who was surrounded by love and care when her mother passed away.

For some, technology-enabled networking seems cold and austere. But for this creative and energetic group, blogging and collaborating and ooVoo’ing and Twittering have led to something far richer. Warm, human relationships. Shared interests, shared tables, shared life.

The vast majority of my professional life centers around pharmaceutical sales training, and I thoroughly enjoy the community and network growing here. However, I am, at heart, a marketing/branding/communications guy, and I’ve also cultivated a marketing blog and a network in that world, which led to collaborative ventures up to and including Blogger Social. And I have no doubt that the connections in one world will lead to helpful opportunities in the other. Because networking and making connections is the new black when it comes to professional growth.

Are you starting to use the incredible tools that are available? Are you on LinkedIn, for instance, or Facebook? Are you finding out about professional meetups that might build your pool of connections? Are you creating your own community of shared interests? It’s not a bad insurance policy in times of unexpected layoffs, and the enrichment of meeting new people is a great reward in and of itself!

I’m committed to serving my clients and colleagues in this community by building a wide and deep network. The testimonials thus far show that it’s working. The Impactiviti Job Board has grown out of this network-building, trying to help people and companies find new talent and new positions. I’d encourage you to take steps to build a broad network of people who will accompany you along the way – even if you’re a native introvert for whom this is out of the comfort zone (voice of experience here). The benefits can be amazing…

(Photo Credit: Matt Dickman)

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