PharmExec Blog

Customer Engagement Isn’t Just About Physicians: It’s About Sales Reps Too

By Karl Tiedemann.

Managing the pharma sales force has always been challenging. Reps are spread out geographically, often far from corporate offices, preventing them from taking part in the on-site activities and face-to-face interactions that typically foster a connection to the company. In order to help the sales force achieve their primary goal — educating physicians — they require frequent training and constantly updated information on products, industry news and regulatory changes. Satisfying the information needs of this far-flung group is a challenge that is only exacerbated by reps’ daily schedule — they are on the road all day, then inundated with information and catch-up work when they login to their computer that evening. Read More »

Posted in Guest Blog, Sales, Strategy | Tagged | 1 Comment

Healthcare Nonprofit Bans Genentech Reps

By Randi Hernandez, Pharmaceutical Technology.

After a change in distribution strategy at Genentech, Ascension Health has prohibited sales representatives from the drug maker to solicit physicians at Ascension’s 1900 sites of care around the country. The ban is the result of a supply-chain move that routes three infused cancer medications—Avastin (bevacizumab), Rituxan (rituximab), and Herceptin (trastuzumab)—out of the regular distribution channels and into the specialty pharmacy channel. Read More »

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Jagged Little Pill: Drugs Through a Microneedle

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have devised a novel drug capsule coated with tiny needles to deliver large-molecule biopharmaceuticals. This drug-delivery method would effectively prevent the breakdown of biologics in the stomach and inject the drug payload directly into the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

“This could be a way that the patient can circumvent the need to have an infusion or subcutaneous administration of a drug,” said Giovanni Traverso, a research fellow at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and one of the lead authors of the paper, in the press release.

The researchers said when the pill reaches the digestive tract, the pH-sensitive coating surrounding the capsule (and the needles) dissolves, allowing the drug reservoir to be released directly into the lining of the stomach. The drugs would expel out of the needles via the help of the peristaltic action of the GI tract.

To test their microneedle pill, the scientists used insulin as the drug payload in pigs. There was no evidence of tissue damage in the pigs, and their blood glucose level dropped much more quickly than it would have with subcutaneous injection, according to the scientists. The pill was found to be safe and well tolerated, the researchers asserted.

“The kinetics are much better, and much faster-onset, than those seen with traditional under-the-skin administration,” noted Traverso. “For molecules that are particularly difficult to absorb, this would be a way of actually administering them at much higher efficiency.”


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Five Measures to Cope with the Side Effects of Health Reform

By Sydney Rubin.

With more than 8 million Americans now signed up for health insurance through state health exchanges, The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has begun delivering benefits and new insurance protections to a large swath of Americans, many of whom had no health insurance before. People previously rejected by insurers due to pre-existing conditions now have end-to-end coverage.

But along with such safeguards and the broad extension of coverage come some significant challenges or “side effects.”  Everyone from patients to policymakers is starting to understand the true cost associated with the benefits.

One major side effect of the need to hold down premium costs on the ACA exchanges is the implementation new benefits designs such as novel cost-sharing arrangements which threaten to place some medicines out of reach for many patients.

In addition, patient access to medical specialists most likely to understand and prescribe certain treatments may be circumscribed. Such restrictions pose challenges for both patients and the biopharmaceutical companies providing treatments.   The challenges of such restrictions and benefit designs are not just the pains of transition but are fundamental to the system and likely to become even more pronounced as the number of Americans enrolled in the exchanges skyrockets. Read More »

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The “Value” of Rx’s Under Obamacare

In the wake of last week’s declaration by new HHS Secretary, Sylvia Burwell, that “Obamacare is working”, it’s probably time for American Rx product managers and marketers to step back and consider where we have travelled since January 1st of this year. Here are a few key remembrances: Read More »

Posted in Strategy | 2 Comments
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