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Archive for August, 2009

TODAY’S NEWS

AstraZeneca’s experimental drug may bring serious competition to Plavix - AstraZeneca‘s new pill Brilinta for preventing heart attacks works better than Plavix, the world’s second biggest selling drug, without increasing the amount of life-threatening bleeding, researchers said on Sundaymore

B-I‘s new drug Praxada poised to finally provide an alternative to warfarin – Patients at risk of stroke due to an erratic heartbeat should soon have a viable alternative to 50-year-old warfarin, after a new pill from Boehringer Ingelheim beat expectations in a major clinical studymore Plus, new B-I drug for COPD is looking promising.

Encouraging results for Angiomax in cardiac mortality/survival study – The Medicines Company today announced the publication of one-year results from the landmark HORIZONS-AMI Trial. The trial showed that patients who had suffered the most severe form of heart attack and received angioplasty were significantly less likely to suffer cardiac death and had significantly better overall survival if treated with Angiomax (bivalirudin) compared with those treated with heparin plus a platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor (GPI)more

FDA to Allos: not so sure about your lymphoma data – Food and Drug Administration reviewers, in a summary prepared for an advisory panel, said their two issues with Allos’ application were “the clinical significance of tumor response and duration of response” as well as “whether the benefit:risk ratio is favorable” for Folotynmore

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PLUS

Couldn’t stop myself from including a link to this press release – can you discover what in the world the product being discussed is for? Neither can I…

JUST FOR FUN

Turn up your speakers, sit back for a minute or two, and just enjoy this remarkable video. Rain.

On a personal note: Next week one of my sons joins the Marines. Some thoughts from a proud Dad.

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TODAY’S NEWS

Takeda to move forward with new alogliptin study – Takeda Pharmaceutical Co says it is all set to start an additional clinical trial demanded by US regulators on alogliptin, its investigational type 2 diabetes drug. The Japanese drugmaker noted that the US Food and Drug Administration has agreed to the study design for a cardiovascular outcomes trial, titled EXAMINE for alogliptin, a selective dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitor (DPP-4) inhibitor also known as SYR-322. The study will involve 5,400 type 2 diabetes patients at around 1,000 facilities in the USA, Europe and Asiamore

Genzyme leukemia drug study: hard to interpret - “The lack of a randomized study combined with the heterogeneous patient population regarding AML prognostic factors makes interpretation of the study results difficult.” Food and Drug Administration staff said in an analysis prepared for the panel, which meets Tuesdaymore

Smoker’s lung treatment: coming soon from Forest and Nycomed? – An experimental once-daily tablet from Nycomed and Forest Laboratories improves lung function in people with “smoker’s lung” and may be a useful add-on to conventional inhaled drugs, experts said on Friday. Privately owned Swiss drugmaker Nycomed, which is working towards a multibillion-dollar flotation, hopes Daxas will reach the market in 2010 and believes it has blockbuster potentialmore

Pharmas that got hurt by debt shenanigans, including BMS and Teva. And, a rash of drug heists.

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PLUS

Younger folks just don’t want to take their cholesterol meds.

JUST FOR FUN

A Danger sign you don’t want to see…
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TODAY’S NEWS

Lots on J&J today – Elimination of the comprehensive care business unit; warnings of allergic reactions to its HIV drug Intelence; FDA finger-wagging for “misleading” advertising of athlete’s foot cream; no further development of once-per-month Risperdal Consta.

Up-and-coming new drugs looking encouraging: eye drug Xibrom QD from Ista, and lupus drug from UCB/Immunomedics.

BMS‘ RA drug Orencia gets an expanded label.

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The Golden Rule? Or the Gold-in Rule? What’s at the heart of your business? A guest post on the leading healthcare blog KevinMD. AND – Pharma Exec’s listing of the Top 50 Pharma Companies (2008)

JUST FOR FUN

Talent. Sometimes these TV shows uncover gems. Check out this guy from X-Factor:


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What should be the foundation of a pharma company’s business ethics – the Golden Rule or the Gold-in Rule? That’s the subject of my guest post on the healthcare blog KevinMD. And, lest any think I have unbalanced views, here’s a counter-balancing thought (for the record).

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TODAY’S NEWS

Amylin to be led by former Novartis exec – Amylin Pharmaceuticals has taken another step forward in its long & storied history. The company has announced that former Novartis executive Paulo Costa will become its new chairmanmore

An interesting lawsuit: individual suing Celgene for blockbuster drug idea – In 1996, Beth Jacobson was watching her husband, a 35-year-old cardiologist, die from the blood cancer multiple myelomamore

Gene variation impacts 1/3 of Plavix patients? – A common gene variation explains why many people are not helped by the widely prescribed blood thinner Plavix, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday in a study confirming earlier research and paving the way for tests to screen patients before they get the drugmore

From the rumor mill – Glaxo eyeing Human Genome Sciences? And, is B-I cutting a major percentage of its sales force in the U.S.? (can anyone confirm or deny with facts?)

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PLUS

Are placebos getting more effective? What’s going on here? - From 2001 to 2006, the percentage of new products cut from development after Phase II clinical trials, when drugs are first tested against placebo, rose by 20 percent. The failure rate in more extensive Phase III trials increased by 11 percent, mainly due to surprisingly poor showings against placebomore

JUST FOR FUN

Who’s got the better colors? An eye-popping series of 3 photos you’ll enjoy!

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TODAY’S NEWS

P&G’s drug unit to be snapped up, by… – Warner Chilcott Ltd, a specialty drug maker, is acquiring Procter & Gamble Co‘s prescription drug business for about $3 billion, two sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday…more

FDA approves infantile spasm drug (from Lundbeck) – The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first drug for treating infantile spasms, a rare and devastating disease that wracks infants with hundreds of spasms every day, interferes with neurological development and kills as many as 20% of victims…more

J&J‘s experimental anti-epilepsy drug – FDA says, no thanks.

From the rumor mill – Teva eyeing Shire?

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PLUS

Some great thoughts on Leading, from Seth Godin’s blog.

JUST FOR FUN

Erupting volcanoes on Earth, as seen from space. Very cool.

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TODAY’S NEWS

Why Pharma wants Obamacare. Thought provoking analysis from Forbes.

I like the headline: No Non-sinister Deed goes Unpunished. An interesting story about lobbying, healthcare reform, and The Medicines Company.

Takeda re-acquires Actos marketing rights in Canada.

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PLUS

ePharma Review: Novartis‘ just launched YouTube channel. I consider it a good toe in the water, even if it is one-way communication…

JUST FOR FUN

It’s a cloudy day here in North Jersey. So, here are some amazing pictures of very unusual cloud formations. Enjoy!

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Novartis, following in the footsteps of several other pharmaceutical companies, has launched a YouTube channel. I think this is a good move for two main reasons:

    1. Even if pharma can’t take full advantage of social elements (immediate dialogue, free commenting, etc.) it is very important to put toes in the water and begin experimenting with these new channels of communication.
    2. The best hope for pharma in turning around its PR and perception challenges is to allow patient stories to be told.

And that’s what is going on here – patient stories. The production quality of the videos is high, and wisely, most of the videos thus far are just about a minute long – bite-sized and to the point. The videos end very simply with a screen with the Novartis company name.

NovYouTube450

Patient stories cover cancer, dengue fever, meningitis, and transplantation (so far). Novartis product names are not used in the videos; obviously, it is implied that these patients have been treated with Novartis products, but these are very low-key stories from a promotional perspective. As expected in a pharma YouTube channel like this, Ratings and Comments are disabled, which reflects the regulatory conundrum all communicators in this space must deal with.

Here is how the company describes itself and its on-line presence in the sidebar:

    At Novartis (NYSE: NVS), we seek to discover, develop and successfully market innovative products to prevent and cure diseases, to ease suffering and to enhance the quality of life. Breakthrough medicines are our highest priority, and we offer a wide range of healthcare products in pharmaceuticals, vaccines, consumer health, generics, eye care and animal health.
    http://www.novartis.com
    http://www.thinkwhatspossible.com
    http://www.twitter.com/novartis
    Information and video content on this Novartis Channel is intended for general educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Novartis does not provide personalized medical diagnosis or patient-specific treatment advice. For any medical questions, seek the advice of your own medical doctor or qualified health care professional. Information on the approved uses of Novartis products may vary by country. Patients, physicians and other medical professionals should check with local medical resources and regulatory authorities for information appropriate to their country. Certain sections of this Channel may be restricted for audiences in certain countries or for certain kinds of expert users.
    © 2009 Novartis AG

Like CML Earth from Novartis, recently reviewed on this blog, the Novartis YouTube channel is a good start. It’s upbeat, puts a human face on disease treatment, and stays within safe parameters for pharma social media (which parameters are, alas, frustratingly narrow at this stage). I see no reason why all other pharma companies should not, at bare minimum, make use of on-line video as a way to get patient-centric messages out. A YouTube “broadcast” channel is a good place to begin in the use of social networking tools, even with restrictions on how much interactivity there can be.

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    TODAY’S NEWS

    Femara keeps breast cancer at bay better than tamoxifen – Novartis AG’s Femara prevented breast cancer from returning regardless of whether women took the drug for five years or switched to a less expensive, generic medication two years into the treatment, a study found. Initial results from the trial involving 4,922 patients found women who took Femara for five years were less likely to have the cancer return, particularly in another spot, than those who took only the generic drug tamoxifenmore

    Eli Lilly stops development of bone loss drug – Eli Lilly & Co. halted development of its experimental bone drug arzoxifene, once one of its most promising new treatments, after a study found it didn’t prevent nonspinal fractures and increased blood clots and hot flashesmore

    More good news for Avastin – Swiss-based Roche Holding AG said on Tuesday a study had showed its drug Avastin increased life expectancy for women with breast cancer without the disease getting worse, when used alongside common chemotherapiesmore

    GSK and Genmab - Arzerra results not so good – A clinical trial of Arzerra, a drug being developed by Danish biotechnology company Genmab and backed by Glaxo, had proven disappointing, Genmab management said yesterday. Among patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that were given a high dose of the drug, only 10pc saw their cancer shrink – a response rate far lower than expectedmore

    Eyedrops for Claritin and Zyrtec. Neither of which contain the ingredients in Claritin or Zyrtec. Hmmmm….

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    PLUS

    The No Drone Zone. Can you create a company of just top performers? See what Netflix has done (StickyFigure blog post).

    JUST FOR FUN

    I’ve got a baaaad feeling about this

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    NEWS

    One of Eli Lilly‘s patents on Gemzar invalidated; may shave off 3 years of exclusivity – the method of use patent for its cancer drug Gemzar was invalidated by a federal court in Michigan, the drugmaker said today…more

    Merck‘s Gardasil vaccine safe overall, though some questions about promotional practices – two researchers at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons reported that Merck wrongly got professional medical groups to help promote its vaccine through speakers who didn’t provide balanced recommendations concerning Gardasil’s risks and benefits…more

    Canadian study: GSK‘s Avandia does have more heart risks than Takeda‘s Actos – Researchers analyzed prescription data for 39,736 patients ages 66 and older who were enrolled in the Ontario Public Drug Benefit Program and began taking Avandia or Actos from April 2002 to March 2008. During the six-year study, 6.9 percent of patients on Avandia died or were hospitalized for a heart attack or heart failure, compared with 5.3 percent of those on Actos…more

    So – what about Key Account Management? Some thoughts from Pharmaceutical Executive.

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    Are you looking at social media applications, either in-house (enterprise communications) or outward-facing (marketing communications)? I can help, with strategy consultation and vendor/provider recommendations. Contact me (stevew at impactiviti dot com) and let’s talk! (In the meantime, download my free e-book, Getting Started with Social Networking)

    ePharma Review: My take on Novartis Oncology’s CML Earth. A very good start here for a social media platform; still room for improvement.

    PLUS

    Thought-provoking: People don’t Leave Organizations – They Leave Managers. AND – from my StickyFigure blog – Ask the Right Questions. Where you start determines where you end up…

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