Archive for the ‘Friday Collection’ Category

After Hours

Happy skies, part 1, part 2.

Really bad timing.

Templar University.

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After Hours 10_20

The most bizarre “We’re Open for Business” sign ever.

Ever wondered what the sun looked like – up close and personal? Wonder no more!

If your Sales Training dept. ran your Church – very funny!

Combine fall leaves with a slow shutter speed and a camera twist. Result: this! (from my iPhone).

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After Hours 10_03

Old, creepy ads. Including baby with razor, and “Smoking is Believing.” Creepy is right.

If this isn’t about the strangest wallpaper design, I don’t know what is. Those of you marketing an OAB drug might really like it!

Breathtaking photo: colors of the moon. Plus, a whole gallery of other astro photos from the menu at the left. Awesome stuff.

You might never before have wondered what it looked like when an iron ball is dropped into sand. You mean you actually did wonder? Well, see it in slow-mo. Fascinating!

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A tale of teen courage. Wow – don’t miss this.

Spider webs and dew drops (pix)…awesome!

Top pictures from the Beijing Olympics – some real beautiful stuff here. And, since London is next up in 2012, some fabulous “overhead” shots of London at night.

Tired of 5,000% markups on eyeglasses? Interesting article on how you can purchase on the Internet nowadays…for WAY less.

A brilliant outdoor advertising campaign. Dang, I wish I’d thought of this!

Do you pass the T-shirt test?

And…hopefully about 60 of you enjoyed barbecuing with Ragin’ Raven BBQ sauce this past weekend! I sure did!

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J&J found not liable in Motrin case – Johnson & Johnson on Thursday won a lawsuit brought by the family of an 11-year-old girl who became blind after using the drug Children’s Motrin in 2003…more

Preemption reversed? – US District Court Judge David Hamilton has reversed his prior opinion in which he had dismissed a Paxil suicide case based on preemption, which says that FDA approval supercedes state law claims challenging safety, efficacy, or labeling. The FDA and drugmakers argue preemption exists by maintaining agency actions are the final word on safety and effectiveness. The case is now re-opened…more

Teva pays Barr tab – The world’s largest maker of generic drugs is expanding once again. Teva has agreed to pay $66.50, or a total of $7.46 billion plus the assumption of net debt of approximately $1.5 billion…more

AZ and Ethical pharma – AstraZeneca is training staff in a new Code of Conduct that aims to ensure employees at all levels and locations act appropriately. The Code was introduced in May and covers a number issues, including interactions with healthcare professionals, conflicts of interest and the ethics of R&D. It goes further than the recently revised EFPIA or PhRMA rules and explicitly spells out dos and don’ts on additional issues, such as political donations and insider trading…more

You’ve heard about the HR helicopter? Some folks take this literally.

PhRMA says, “Bag the Schwag” – A ubiquitous element of pharmaceutical marketing is scheduled to vanish next January 1, as the revised marketing code of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America goes into effect. Gone will be the non-educational freebies—the pens, pads, mugs, toys, and miscellaneous tchotchkes?that pharma companies distribute by the carload…more. And more here from Pharmalot.

The Washington D.C. rules and regs for pharma sales reps.

Glaxo to pay billions for a good night’s sleep – The drugmaker has agreed to pay that much for the licensing rights to Actelion’s investigational drug, almorexant…more

BI cutting neuro sales force – The neurology sales team, which peddles Aggrenox to neurologists for treating transient ischemic attacks and strokes, met last week in Chicago, where BI managers told them they are going to restructure…more

Zemanta Pixie

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Breaking news from the ACC:

Vytorin/Zetia gets panned – shows no benefit on the primary endpoint, though effective in reducing some markers. Doctors now wary and skeptical. Merck and Schering-Plough comment. Good summary with more links from Ed Silverman (Pharmlot blog – one of the best btw!) here.
Prasugrel gets a boost – The investigational antiplatelet drug prasugrel plus aspirin produced a marked and highly statistically significant reduction in the risk of coronary stent thrombosis (ST) – a major concern for physicians and patients with potentially fatal consequences – in patients who received a stent as compared to standard therapy with clopidogrel (Plavix®) plus aspirin (1.13 percent vs. 2.35 percent, p<0.0001), according to a stent analysis from the head-to-head TRITON-TIMI 38 trial…more. And, more here from Pharmalot.

Angiomax: pretty much equivalent to heparin – A study released on Saturday found the two drugs worked about the same in low- to moderate-risk patients in preventing death, heart attack and the need to repeat medical intervention on a diseased blood vessel…more

Positive results for AstraZeneca’s cholesterol-reducer CrestorAstraZeneca Plc is stopping a clinical trial of its blockbuster cholesterol fighter Crestor early because of the clear benefits of the medicine compared to placebo, the company said on Monday…more

——OK, now on to other news:

Free drug samples – higher prescription costs? – Following free drug sample receipt, patients who receive these samples have significantly higher out-of-pocket prescription costs than those who don’t, according to the first study to look at the out-of-pocket cost associated with free-sample use…more

Wyeth cutting 1,200 sales reps – The positions are being eliminated as of Monday as part of a major companywide program announced two months ago to save money in the face of regulatory setbacks and generic competition. At the time, the drugmaker acknowledged plans to cut about 10 percent of its global workforce of 50,000 or so, and that sales reps were high on the list. Wyeth employs roughly 25,000 people in the US…more

Sanofi-Aventis to give daily Cialis a boostSanofi-Aventis of France is partnering with Eli Lilly of America’s heartland to give Lilly’s impotence pill Cialis a boost over here…more

Speaking of Sanofi and Lilly: Lantus shows better efficacy than Humalog – A once-daily injection of Sanofi-Aventis‘s insulin drug Lantus controls blood sugar as effectively as Eli Lilly‘s Humalog, which needs to be taken three times daily, researchers said on Friday…more

Singulair trouble – suicide link? – The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it is investigating a possible link between Merck‘s best-selling Singulair and suicide. FDA said it is reviewing a handful of reports involving mood changes, suicidal behavior and suicide in patients who have taken the popular allergy and asthma drug…more

Takeda drops cholesterol drug candidate lapaquistatTakeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, Japan’s biggest drug maker, on Friday dropped development of a cholesterol-lowering drug candidate that had once been seen as one of its most promising medicines…more

Otsuka pays for fraudulent Abilify marketing Otsuka American Pharmaceutical, the US unit of the Japanese drugmaker, agreed to pay more than $4 million to resolve allegations that it marketed the Abilify antipsychotic for off-label uses…more

Disease-mongering brought to a whole new level (are these people serious)? – Anyone familiar with involuntary emotional expression disorder? This is another way of saying uncontrollable laughing or crying, and a little drugmaker called Avanir Pharmaceuticals hopes to market a pill for this “distinct neurological disorder.” Also known as pseudobulbar affect, the affliction has gotten talked up in recent years and investors are buying into the concept…more

The Vytorin studies – what will be revealed at the ACC meeting? Good news from the Enhance study? And why is the Improve-It study being expanded/delayed? Is it for sound data gathering reasons, or is it a conspiracy?

Physician gifting crackdown? – The latest legislative maneuver to control pharmaceutical marketing: Last week, congressman Pete Defazio (D-OR) introduced the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, a bill that will create a public registry of gifts and payments to physicians in excess of $25 by pharmaceutical companies…more

Lunesta moth flying away.

Did you know there are now 30 job openings listed in the Impactiviti Job Board?

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After Hours 2_23

A fascinating Flash animation showing 5,000 years of history in 90 seconds – specifically, the various empires that have ruled the Middle East. Very cool!

What does it look like when a bullet goes through 3 water balloons? Like this!

Panorama of Paris at night. Breathtaking.

Did you miss the lunar eclipse last week? Check out this spectacular photo.

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This week, it’s time to review AstraZeneca‘s home page, in my occasional forays into critiquing the websites of pharmaceutical companies. I don’t do exhaustive site reviews here; just high-level impressions of the home page and the overall navigation design.

When you type http://www.astrazeneca.com into your browser, you arrive at the home page of the AZ International site. Because they are a global company, this is a reasonable choice on the part of the company. It takes a sharp eye (far upper right corner) to find the spot where you’d navigate to the country-specific sites (they did place a fairly prominent link further down for US visitors).


The site design is decent – the use of colors and graphics is better than a lot of the pharma sites I’ve reviewed so far. The width of the site is artificially constrained for older computers, a choice that I hope fewer companies will make in the future. Consequently, the site feels crowded, with a lot of very small text. As with many “Big Pharma” sites, the page is very busy – there are so many categories of information that it can feel overwhelming. However, at least there is an eye-catching graphic front-and-center, with a brief tagline and a reasonably well-crafted corporate summary.

Moving over the U.S. home page, I immediately noticed that the “pedigree” of the site was clearly a derivative of the global site – again, a smart move. However, in this case, because (I assume) the United States user base has a larger percentage of modern computers, the width of the page is increased somewhat, making it feel less compressed than the International site. This site has more variety in the use of graphics, but shares the solid use of color schemes (blue in this case; purple for International).


Going into the sub-menus on the left, the information presented in the middle and on the right changes intelligently, and the overall pleasant graphical design themes continue. There’s a lot of “heavy” information that healthcare/pharma companies have to present, and AZ uses the best method (IMHO) – a prominent graphic with summary statement, followed by a minimum of overview text, followed by links to various other pieces of more detailed information. I never felt “lost” on this site.

In short, this is pretty good execution. Some of the best look/feel and use of color that I’ve seen so far, and a better-than-merely-functional navigation scheme. All of these huge companies must make trade-offs and compromises due to their diverse audiences (patients, healthcare practitioners, shareholders, regulators, lawyers, employees, multiple countries, etc.) and AZ has done a better job than most making a good impression.

Prior website reviews:









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sass.jpgNo, not sass. Of course you have that. We’re talking about SaaS – an acronym for Software-as-a-Service.

What’s that, you ask?

Simply put – SaaS is an offering whereby an external company will host and manage software applications for you. Typically, you are “renting” the application (instead of purchasing a license and bringing it in-house). Also, many times the external company will even run/administer/support – in full or in part – the application for you.

SaaS is how a lot more computer-based applications are getting done these days. The main reason for avoiding SaaS some years back – concern about data security – has pretty much vanished, as databases and web applications have become more robust. In fact, not only are pharma companies more commonly using the SaaS model – some are even migrating applications that they used to have “inside” to a SaaS model, to take advantage of the scalable service model offered by provider companies.

In the sales training arena, there are now companies that offer Assessment Management and Learning Management (and other learning technology) solutions in a SaaS model. My particular bias is that the best solution is a flexible hybrid – that is, you can outsource to an external provider, OR you can bring the application in – same software, data preserved. This allows you to maintain your investment in the platform no matter how your needs change in the future.

One main strength of SaaS – a centrally hosted software application that services many customers – means that it costs less to maintain. However, that also means little or no customization – a trade-off that must be carefully weighed up front.

SaaS makes it much easier to get started with an application – lower initial cost, modest monthly fees, shorter ramp-up times – and later, to add capabilities or more users. Significant care needs to be exercised in selecting a good provider, to make sure that you have maximum security and flexibility – but SaaS is an option that should be taken very seriously if you’re looking at learning technology. These solutions are now mature and often quite compelling – and the business model is generally more profitable (lots of learning technology vendors have struggled to turn a profit), which can mean less business risk when partnering with a solid SaaS supplier.

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It had been a long time since I’d gone on Bristol-Myers’ site. So it was a pleasant surprise when, a few moments after typing www.bms.com into my browser, an interesting voice began speaking to me.


BMS features a patient story front-and-center – but not merely a picture with words. A video kicked right off and, in the span of a few seconds, I was engaged in a brief account of someone overcoming rheumatoid arthritis.

Now I normally dislike video or audio firing off as soon as I get onto a website. Actually, “resent” is a more accurate term. But in this case, I was drawn in. This little vignette was done just right.

And, BMS puts to use some reasonably good taglines. Your will. Our Medicines. Together we can fight serious diseases. Together we can prevail. Instead of just using some sterile self-referential tagline about health, BMS tries to create a sense of connection.

The rest of the site design is just OK. The use of white space is reasonable, and the navigational elements are pretty typical of a major pharma company. If anything, it’s too crowded – and that “TMI” (too much information) motif continues as you get into the submenus. Sometimes, you can throw so many links at visitors that it is hard to feel comfortable – like being in a party with 50 people packed into one room. The relatively simple graphical design of the home page gets cluttered once you move deeper into the site – a jumble of graphics and colors begins to intrude.

Nonetheless, I’m going to give Bristol one high mark – for nailing the use of video and using storytelling to immediately grab attention. While the rest of the site doesn’t stand out, that element is the best “hook” yet I’ve seen on a pharma home page.

Prior website reviews:








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