PharmExec Blog

The Nordic Region’s “Star” Companies

Three companies were crowned the Nordic region’s “shining examples of innovative life science companies” in Stockholm, Sweden, this week.  Nordic Life Science Days, the region’s largest partnering conference, gave its annual Nordic Star Awards to Bone Index (Kuopio, Finland), Lytix Biopharma (Oslo, Norway) and PledPharma (Stockholm, Sweden).

Bone Index was noted for its osteoporosis diagnostic, Bindex, while Lytix Biopharma was rewarded for its results in the field of immuno-oncology. PledPharma was praised for its clinical project platform that targets significant medical needs.

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Drugmaker Trains “Diabetes Ambassadors” in Africa

German drugmaker Merck KGaA has begun the second year of its five-year project to provide diabetes management courses for medical and pharmacy students in African Universities.

The Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) will be provided at the Universities of Nairobi, Makerere, Uganda, and Namibia, before moving to Tanzania and Ghana. Merck is also offering every healthcare provider in those countries and the rest of Africa free access to the lectures via e-learning at Read More »

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Alfred Hitchcock — Pharma Rep

In 1955, the broadcaster CBS proposed a deal with drugmaker Bristol-Myers (as it was then known) to sponsor a new TV show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The show, scheduled to premier later that year, would be a weekly anthology series focused on crime and mystery stories.

The unique selling point was that Hitchcock himself was to appear on screen, introducing and signing off each episode. Film directors were not particularly familiar to the public at the time, but Hitchcock was something of an exception, thanks to his fleeting appearances in his own movies. Spotting his portly presence tended be a moment of light relief amid the mounting suspense. The Bristol-Myers deal was clinched. Read More »

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Q&A: WebMD Chief David Schlanger

David Schlanger became WebMD’s CEO in August of 2013, but first joined the company in 1995, after serving as executive director, business development at Merck.

The commercialization of pharmaceutical drugs has changed a lot in two decades: industry’s focus on specialty drugs for smaller populations and patients with chronic disease has supplanted the emphasis on big name primary care products, and the blanket TV buys that propelled them into blockbuster glory.

David Schlanger

David Schlanger

Schlanger says he chuckles when he sees Abbvie’s TV ad pushing Humira for Crohn’s disease—”there’s only 2 million people with Crohn’s disease” in the US—because it stands as a relic of a bygone era where the biggest media spend all but guaranteed the largest chunk of the market. Money still talks, of course, but fewer patients are all tuned in to the same listening apparatus. Physicians and patients still need to be educated about prescription drugs, but with limited access to the former, and a larger cost burden placed on the latter, drug companies hoping to reach their target audiences (and target sales revenues) do better by concentrating on the quality of interaction, not the quantity of exposure.

For Pharm Exec’s Q&A with David Schlanger, click here.

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Managing High-Priced, US Biotech Rxs in Canada

As the “Saga of Sovaldi” continues to unfold in the U.S., and Congress, insurers, providers, and the U.S. Rx manufacturer, Gilead, hurl charges back and forth at each other, it’s pretty clear the situation will only continue to deteriorate. However, as you look north of the American border, it’s striking how Canadian healthcare entities are managing a similar Sovaldi situation, as well as the other new, high cost, American biotech products that are beginning to appear there.

As a quick review, Health Canada is a single payer healthcare system that has a governmental obligation to provide healthcare to all Canadians. Although predicated on a complicated system of federal and provincial medical cooperation, the approach has evolved since 1946 into a fairly comprehensive, public form of single payer healthcare coverage.

However, recently the Canadian healthcare system has been disturbed by the arrival of several American biotech drugs — the same breakthrough drugs that are creating so much controversy in the U.S. How has this situation played out in Canada versus the invective that’s been experienced in the U.S.?

To put it succinctly, differently… Very differently.

For the full version of this article, click here.

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