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New Healthcare-related Products, Services, and Companies
PMI Appoints Task Force to Oversee CME Compliance Pri-Med Institute (PMI) has named a task force of medical and educational experts to ensure that all of its continuing medical education (CME) programs meet and exceed the new Standards of Commercial Support established by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). The standards, which took effect in May, are intended to guarantee objectivity and remove potential conflicts of interest in CME programs funded by grants from pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies. The task force, which is charged with developing a detailed review process for all programs offered or accredited by PMI, includes faculty from Harvard Medical School and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine; noted clinical lecturers; members of the PMI medical advisory board; and members of the institute’s internal accreditation group. “We see the new standards as evidence of just how central a role CME now plays in improving healthcare, and as an opportunity to strengthen that role,” says Marissa Seligman, Pharm.D., VP and compliance officer. CommonHealth Undergoes Organizational Restructuring To offer clients a more fully integrated healthcare-communications resource, CommonHealth has implemented organizational changes to further align its operating structure with its business strategy. CommonHealth has formed a new tier of management to foster better cross-company collaborative efforts and provide innovative client offerings. The members of this group are: David Chapman, president of Ferguson; Guy D. Dess, president of Adient; and Bruce Epstein, president of Noesis. CommonHealth, a WPP Group company, is comprised of 13 healthcare-communications agencies: Ferguson, Adient, Noesis, Altum, Carbon, Conectics, HLS, MBS/Vox, ProCom, Qi, Quantum, Solara, and Xchange. Additionally, the company maintains numerous partnerships, both within and outside of the WPP network. Mr. Chapman, Mr. Dess, and Mr. Epstein have each assumed the additional role of managing partner for the overall CommonHealth organization. They will work closely with Jim Clifford, group company chairman, to coordinate the total experience, talent, and resources of CommonHealth, with a particular focus on client and marketplace impact. “This new designation, and the inherent management responsibility bestowed, acknowledges the strong presence David, Guy, and Bruce each have in our industry, their proven leadership abilities, and their importance to CommonHealth’s future,” says Matt Giegerich, president and CEO of CommonHealth. “I’m confident that under their united watch, we will more fully realize our mission to be the most collaborative and innovative resource in the world of healthcare communications.” David Chapman, president of Ferguson; Guy D. Dess, president of Adient; and Bruce Epstein, president of Noesis, have been named to CommonHealth’s new cross-company management team to foster better collaborative efforts. The Pri-Med Institute compliance model will ensure that the scientific grounding and objectivity of CME programs cannot be compromised by commercial bias or influence, intentional or inadvertent, says Dr. Marissa Seligman, VP and Compliance Officer, Pri-Med Institute. Partnership for Safe Medicines Offers Guidelines to Protect Against Counterfeit Drugs In response to the growing concern in the United States about counterfeit drugs, the Partnership for Safe Medicines has released safety tips to help consumers assure that their prescription medications are safe and effective. S.A.F.E. D.R.U.G. is a how-to guide for avoiding, identifying, and reporting counterfeit pharmaceutical products. The guide’s eight tips help consumers judge whether their medications are safe and offer suggestions for consumers who believe a drug has been compromised. For example, the tip entitled “Sample” recommends that consumers request pill samples from their physicians when a medication is prescribed. This way they can compare the appearance, taste, texture, and reaction to the medication they later receive from the pharmacy. Drug-safety experts at the Partnership say Americans are increasingly at risk for encountering fake or ineffective medications, citing more sophisticated criminal activity along with an overwhelming amount of unregulated foreign drugs infiltrating U.S. borders. According to the Partnership, the World Health Organization estimated global sales of counterfeit drugs at $32 billion in 2003, and FDA-initiated counterfeit drug investigations reportedly rose more than 150% from 2003 to 2004. “Counterfeit drugs in America are a serious problem,” says Bryan A. Liang, M.D., J.D., an expert advisor to the Partnership for Safe Medicines. “Counterfeiters are getting more sophisticated at exploiting weak links in the supply chain and expanding the types of drugs they’re faking. Americans must be more vigilant about the prescription drugs they’re taking.” Counterfeit drugs in America are a serious problem. Americans must be more vigilant about the prescription drugs they’re taking, says Dr. Bryan A. Liang, an expert advisor to the Partnership for Safe Medicines. America’s Growth Capital Launches Life-Sciences Practice America’s Growth Capital has formed a life-sciences practice to complement its existing capital markets platform and investment banking capabilities. The firm’s strategy is focused on dynamic and competitive emerging-growth capital markets, such as technology, business services, and digital media. Its business model includes dedicated investment banking efforts supported by senior-level advice and attention; an investment research methodology based on deep sector knowledge; and sector-focused institutional sales and sales trading resources. This expansion into the life-sciences sector represents a continuation of the company’s growth strategy. To support the new practice, America’s Growth Capital has appointed David Wood, Ph.D., as a principal and senior analyst in the investment research group covering the biotechnology sector. Previously, Dr. Wood was a senior biotech analyst at Rodman & Renshaw. etrials Partners with Campbell Alliance to Support Technology Transfer to Clients etrials Worldwide Inc. has partnered with Campbell Alliance to offer etrials clients all-inclusive consulting to guide them through important operational changes for successful adoption of e-clinical technologies, such as electronic data capture, electronic diaries, and interactive voice response. etrirals is offering two-day sessions to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and clinical research organizations that are taking part in its Technology Transfer program, a software-licensing option designed for clients that want to build their own clinical trials using etrials’ e-clinical suite of products. Through this program, clients participate in a staged transfer of technology and knowledge until they have mastered a complete e-clinical implementation and are ready to “own” the process in-house. Campbell Alliance facilitates these tailored sessions, which focus on helping clients adapt operating practices to successfully execute clinical trials using etrials’ solutions. The sessions cover: establishing an e-clinical benefit case and approach to measuring results; identifying and eliminating obstacles to e-clinical adoption; building a plan to adapt operations and train staff in conjunction with the implementation of etrials’ solutions; identifying process, role, and documentation changes required to execute e-clinical trials; and identifying training needs. “By partnering with Campbell Alliance, we hope to even further aid in the operational aspects of e-clinical adoption and make the technology transfer process even easier for our clients,” says John Cline, CEO of etrials. “Understanding and embracing process change is what makes our clients so successful.” By partnering with Campbell Alliance to offer consulting services, we hope to further aid in the operational aspects of e-clinical adoption and make the technology transfer process even easier for our clients, says John Cline, CEO of etrials Worldwide Inc. Science Oriented Solutions and Clinical Solutions Join forces Science Oriented Solutions (SOS) and Clinical Solutions (CS), two Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG) companies, have successfully merged their operations. Founded in 1997, SOS provides contract medical science liaison services. CS is an integrated marketing agency that has been creating and implementing clinical-trial marketing communications and strategies since 1994. Evan Demestihas, M.D., R.Ph., president and chief operating officer of SOS, oversees the joint operation. Each company maintains its individual pharmaceutical and biotech client base. “The merging of SOS and CS operations allows for a broader spectrum of services as well as an increase in management support, additional creative capabilities, and enhanced call center services,” Dr. Demestihas says. Merging the operations of Science Oriented Solutions and Clinical Solutions follows a natural synergy that will enable them to expand the range of services they provide to their clients, says Evan Demestihas, M.D., R.Ph., President and Chief Operating Officer, Science Oriented Solutions. Ventiv Changes Organizational Structure Ventiv Health Inc. has implemented a new operating structure, organizing its business into two segments: Ventiv Commercial Services and Ventiv Clinical Services. Ventiv Commercial Services includes: Ventiv Pharma Analytics, which is comprised of Health Products Research and Total Data Solutions; Ventiv Pharma Teams, which is comprised of Ventiv Sales and Marketing Teams, The Therapeutics Institute, and Ventiv Professional Development Group; and Ventiv Pharma Services, which is comprised of The Franklin Group and Promotech. Terry Herring, the newly appointed president and chief operating officer of Ventiv Commercial Services, is supported by Leonard Vicciardo, who has been promoted to president and chief operating officer of Ventiv Pharma Analytics; Paul Mignon, who has been named to executive VP and chief operating officer of Ventiv Pharma Teams; and Bill Shearer, who has been appointed to executive VP and chief operating officer of Ventiv Pharma Services. Ventiv Clinical Services includes Smith Hanley Associates, Smith Hanley Consulting, MedFocus, and HHI Statistical Services. This segment is led by Tom Hanley, president and CEO of the Smith Hanley Companies. Ventiv’s new operating structure further enhances our ability to continue to drive strong growth across all of our services by ensuring oversight, business development coordination, and operational integration across our offerings, says Eran Broshy, CEO of Ventiv Health Inc. Fujitsu Transfers BioSciences Group Fujitsu Ltd. has transferred its BioSciences Group from Fujitsu America Inc. to Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. The BioSciences Group develops drug-discovery IT solutions that provide a framework for researchers to make in silico predictions about leads, targets, and interactions and enables them to validate their hypotheses experimentally. Fujitsu Computer Systems designs, develops, and delivers advanced computer systems and managed services for the business enterprise. “This transfer is the ideal integration of expertise and services,” says Toshio Morohoshi, president and CEO, Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. “The BioSciences Group gains expertise in enterprise-scale solutions and provides specific life-sciences technologies and services to the North American life-sciences market.” Follow up America’s Growth Capital, Boston, is a national research, trading, and investment banking firm focused on emerging-growth capital markets. For more information, visit americasgc.com. Campbell Alliance, Raleigh, N.C., is a management consulting firm specializing in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. For more information, visit campbellalliance.com. Clinical Solutions, Kennesaw, Ga., a Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG) company, is an integrated marketing company exclusively focused on optimizing patient recruitment and retention for clinical trials in a wide range of therapeutic areas. For more information, visit publicishealthcare.com. CommonHealth, Parsippany, N.J., is a healthcare-communications network and a WPP Group company. For more information, visit commonhealth.com. etrials Worldwide Inc., Morrisville, N.C., is a software and services company offering a fully integrated suite of e-clinical software to support the entire clinical-trial process, from collection and cleaning to the integration and review of data. For more information, visit etrials.com. Fujitsu Ltd., Tokyo, is a global provider of customer-focused IT and communications solutions. For more information, visit fujitsu.com. The Partnership for Safe Medicines, Washington, D.C., is a coalition of patient, physician, pharmacist, university, industry, and other professional organizations committed to the safety of prescription drugs. For more information, visit safemedicines.org. Pri-Med Institute, Boston, is the clinical-education division of M|C Communications LLC, which provides clinically relevant educational activities for clinicians to advance healthcare practice and patient-care outcomes. For more information, visit pri-medinstitute.org. Science Oriented Solutions (SOS), Kennesaw, Ga., a Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG) company, is a full-service, commercial-side medical affairs group. For more information, visit publicishealthcare.com. Ventiv Health Inc., Somerset, N.J., provides late-stage clinical, sales, marketing, and compliance solutions to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. For more information, visit ventiv.com.