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An international connection Internet and Physicians in Latin America As in the rest of the world, healthcare professionals from across Latin America use the Internet to be informed, and surprisingly, a majority use their free time to do so. A recent survey by Medimix International shows that most physicians throughout Latin American connect to the Internet from their home, not from their office or other public place. More than 90% of Brazilian doctors report connecting from home. In Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia, more than 80% of physicians connect from home. On average, 50% of Latin American doctors connect on a computer at work. Very few connect at cybercafés in the region. Making Connections n One-third of physicians surveyed in Latin America state they connect to the Internet many times a day. n 40% of physicians throughout the region say that they connect at least once a day. n About a fifth of physicians connect less often than once a day, but very few report less than once a week. n The No. 1 reason reported for connecting for professional reasons is to search for information about diseases. n The second most popular reason to connect is to search for information on therapies. n In Brazil, especially, another important reason to go online is to search for information about drugs, with 42% of physicians in that country stating this as their main reason to connect. n Throughout the smaller countries of Latin America, including Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Costa Rica, 54% of physicians use the Internet to know sites as a way to recommend them to patients. Medimix’s data are based on phone interviews with more than 1,000 physicians in 10 Latin American countries. Data banks Pharma Market Research Spending Peaks in Phase II A new study from Cutting Edge Information finds that pharmaceutical brand teams spend the greatest percentage of their market research budgets during Phase II. On average, pharma companies spend $902,778 on market research to support compounds in Phase II development, higher than any other development stage. Phase III is typically the peak for spending on marketing-related activities. For market research teams, however, Phase II usually requires market sizing studies, concept testing, and other data collection activities. The decision to transition a product from Phase II to Phase III involves more than just strong safety and efficacy data from clinical trials. A company must also determine whether the market will support the new drug once approved. 50.8% of participating market research groups are funded by their companies’ marketing teams. Ones to Watch Promising New Drugs on the Horizon Research from CMR, a Thomson company, shows that revenue derived from new products — those launched within the last five years — dropped to just 16% of total revenue in 2006. Although the cost of research and development continues to rise, there is no sign of a sustained upturn in the number of new products reaching the market. Five Most Promising Drugs Approved April to June 2007 n Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics’ Optaflu, a vaccine for influenza, was approved for use in the EU in June 2007 and is scheduled for U.S. filing 2008. n Wyeth’s Lybrel, a combination of levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol in a daily oral tablet that eliminates the menstrual cycle, was approved for marketing in the United States in May 2007. n Kyorin Pharmaceutical, Ono Pharmaceutical, and LG Life Sciences’ Staybla, a drug for the treatment of incontinence and pollakiuria, was approved for marketing in Japan in June 2007. n Eisai’s Inovelon, a drug for the most severe forms of epilepsy, was approved in Europe in June 2007 and a U.S. filing is in process. n Wyeth Research’s Torisel, used in the oral treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma, was approved in the United States in May 2007 and is awaiting approval in the EU. Five Most Promising Drugs Entering Phase III Trials n Trazodone, for depression, from Labopharm n Pimavanserin, for schizophrenia, from Acadia Pharmaceuticals n Salmon calcitonin, for osteoporosis/Paget’s disease, from Novartis/Nordic Bioscience n Generx, for coronary artery disease, from Cardium Therapeutics n Fenofibrate and pravastatin, for mixed dyslipidemia, from Sciele Pharma/Galephar PR