Monday, October 12, 2015

EU and UK Physician Payment Sunshine Coming - May Eclipse US Version

In June 2012, the “code on disclosure of transfers of value from pharmaceutical companies to healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations” was announced by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). Starting 1 July 2016, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) will publish details of British pharmaceutical company payments made to healthcare professionals, including nurses and pharmacists.

This goes beyond the US Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which doesn’t require companies to publicly report payments to nurse practitioners or physician assistants, even though they are allowed to write prescriptions in most states (see here). This, however, may change if legislation proposed by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., becomes law. The legislation would expand the disclosure requirement beginning in 2017 to include physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives (read more about that here).

What do UK health professionals think of ABPI's plans to publish these data?

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

@AZHelps Celebrates, But Does It Actually Help People?

I wasn't able to attend ExL's Digital Pharma East (DPE15) conference last week in Philly, so I assume no tough questions were asked. For example, nobody asked AstraZeneca if its @AZHelps Twitter account actually helps people.

@AZHelps was featured in a "Customer Service Fireside Chat," which focused on opportunities for pharma to "build a stronger relationship between Marketing/Communications and Customer Service, perhaps even driving additional revenue and better health outcomes."

Leigh Householder (innovation officer at GSW and the editor of the Health Experience Project) wrote a glowing report, which summarized how @AZHelps supposedly works:
"AstraZeneca has been investing in supporting people via social media for 6 years. Their goal is to educate patients about available resources (including cost, access, affordability) and to address specific product inquiries.

"AZhelps uses Hootsuite to listen for comments about their products. When they see a comment that meets their engagement criteria, they respond. Clear rules of engagement mean they don’t respond to every tweet they see.

"They’ve built their social support system right in the call center with someone (Heather!) who is experienced addressing customer questions and is scheduled and dedicated to the task."
I find it hard to believe, however, that @AZHelps drives revenue or better outcomes or that it even marginally helps people. Read on to find out why...

Mastering Mobile Social Media to Improve Health Outcomes

I gave the following presentation at a Bayer Pharma's STEM4Health Master Class Meetup in Berlin on 23 September 2015.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

mHealth Apps: Overwhelming Choice, Limited Proven Efficacy, Security Issues

According a new study just released by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, the number of mobile health applications (mHealth apps) available to consumers now surpasses 165,000. The study, Patient Adoption of mHealth: Use, Evidence and Remaining Barriers to Mainstream Acceptance, analyzed 26,864 apps available in the U.S. Apple iTunes and Android app stores -- a representative sample of the most widely used mHealth apps by consumers.

The problem is this: too many apps, too little efficacy in terms of health outcomes.

"The fast-paced growth of the healthcare app market has outpaced the ability to develop oversight and guidance for accuracy of clinical content contained in mHealth apps," concludes the report. "The sheer volume of choices in the consumer mHealth apps available in the absence of a mechanism for certifying or ranking apps leaves providers and consumers on their own to navigate app selection. This environment leads to provider reluctance in prescribing mHealth apps given the unknowns about accuracy, efficacy as well as security."

What's the solution?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Some - Not All - Americans Hate Pharma More Than Ever, Says Gallup Poll

The story came to me via Google Alerts: "People in the US Hate Big Pharma, Study Finds." At first, my reaction was Duh! Nothing to see here, considering all the pushback from physicians and other stakeholders (including patients?) regarding high drug prices.

I clicked through anyway to the story on teleSUR (a Latin American multimedia platform - how does it get included in Google Alerts whereas this blog does not?). Perhaps something was lost in translation - perhaps a better translation would have been the title I'm using for this post. 

In any case, here's the trending data direct from Gallup (here), which surveyed 1,011 U.S. adults in in the first week of August 2015 via telephone:

Click on image for an enlarged view.

IMHO, the saw-tooth trend indicates a love-hate relationship. Last year (2014) pharma gained respect, this year it lost it - but not as much as in most previous years. 

Also, there are some segments of the population that have a positive view of the pharmaceutical industry. Can you guess who?

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