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Milestones 15th Anniversary CenterWatch, a provider of industry news, data analysis, and proprietary market research for clinical trials professionals and patients, recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. CenterWatch, which was founded in 1994, was acquired by Jobson Medical Information in 2008. “We are extremely proud of this achievement and the contributions we have made in this community,” says Steve Zisson, editorial director of CenterWatch. “We have grown up in an industry that has seen considerable change over the last decade and a half and CenterWatch has continued to change with it to stay relevant.” For more information, visit centerwatch.com. Epocrates turns 10 Epocrates Inc. celebrates 10 years as a provider of mobile clinical information and decision support tools for healthcare professionals. Based in San Mateo, Calif., Epocrates currently has an active network of more than 850,000 healthcare professionals, including more than one in three U.S. physicians and 40% of U.S. medical students. Over the years, Epocrates has helped drive physician adoption of medical technology with the convenience of trusted clinical content at the point of care. Its clinical products have been credited with helping clinicians reduce medical errors, increase efficiencies, and stay informed on medical news and pharmaceutical developments. Epocrates continues to provide a reliable channel for pharmaceutical companies to communicate with healthcare professionals through innovative mobile solutions. For more information, visit epocrates.com. Public poll Everyone to Blame for Healthcare According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, whatever the public may think about proposals for healthcare reform, they blame many different parties for the problems with the current system. The health insurance and pharmaceutical industries are the most widely blamed. More than 60% of all adults believe that both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, business, hospitals, former President George W. Bush and doctors should all get at least some blame. SURVEY CORNER Med Students Weigh in on Technology Medical students give the U.S. healthcare system a poor grade and consider technology a must-have for their future practice. These opinions are found in the fourth annual Future Physicians of America survey by Epocrates Inc. More than 1,000 medical students voiced their opinions on pressing topics and issues, including: n The majority of medical students — almost 90% — surveyed view the information available through mobile or online drug and disease references as highly credible, second only to medical journals. Students also say they are more than four times more likely to consult a mobile reference for a clinical question than ask their attending physician. n Technology remains a central component in medicine and education. Almost 60% of the medical students surveyed indicate they use decision-support software at least twice daily. n Students also have strong opinions on the state of the U.S. healthcare system; only 28% gave it high marks (3% gave an “A,” 25% gave a “B”) and more than 70% assigned a “C” grade or lower. This is a significant decrease since students first graded the system in 2006 with 42% assigning a “B” for a good healthcare system. Executive Recruiting Senior Jobs in Life Sciences Stable Executive-level recruiting in the life-sciences sector has maintained moderate activity levels, despite the recession’s strong impact on executive recruiting in other industries, according to a recent study by The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). The survey of 70 AESC members, reveals that there was either the same amount or more executive search activity in the first half of 2009 as compared with the fourth quarter of 2008. About 56% of respondents noted that the greatest number of searches have been for director-level department heads, followed by CEOs (38%) and research directors (28%). Respondents also noted a high level of executive mobility in the pharmaceutical sector, citing an increase in mergers and acquisitions as one possible cause. Medicare Update Drug Benefit Exceeds Expectations The program created to provide Medicare recipients with prescription drug benefits exceeded expectations during its first two years, extending pharmacy coverage to most seniors while reducing their overall spending on drugs, according to a new Rand Corp. study. Although Medicare Part D generated confusion when it was introduced in January 2006, the program has worked well for most seniors and is comparable with other non-Medicare drug plans that cover large groups of seniors. Among the findings: n Researchers estimate that during its first year in 2006, Medicare Part D resulted in a 16% drop in out-of-pocket spending among seniors for prescription medication and a 7% increase in the number of prescriptions filled. The savings appears to have been concentrated among the poor and disabled. n After two years, about 90% of seniors have drug coverage at least as generous as the standard Part D benefit. n The number of covered drugs in the 10 largest Medicare Part D plans compared favorably with the coverage provided by other prescription drug plans that insure seniors. n Among the 300 prescription drugs most often used by seniors, about half were covered under the lowest copayment tiers provided by the 10 largest Medicare Part D plans. Although the program has exceeded initial expectations, researchers say problems remain with Medicare Part D. The annual spending caps included in the plans leave too many seniors without pharmacy coverage for a portion of each year. Recent work suggests that 3 million seniors reached the so called “donut hole” or gap in Part D coverage during 2007, with about 20% of seniors stopping their medications after their coverage lapsed for the year. Pardon Us… Jeremy Williams, CEO of ScopeMedical In a September What’s New brief celebrating the opening of ScopeMedical’s first U.S. office in Princeton, N.J., we inadvertenly featured another Jeremy, not Jeremy Williams. PharmaVOICE apologizes for the error, and wishes Mr. Williams and his team success in their new venture. The buzz REMS is Causing a Stir The September Forum — REMS Take Hold — was the right story at the right time. To date, readers have requested more than 915 PDF downloads of the article and linked to the abstract more than 1,795 times. Right after the September issue went to press the FDA released a statement announcing that it is proposing mandatory electronic safety reporting to help strengthen postmarket safety data collection. The FDA’s proposed rules apply to electronic medical device adverse event reporting and to electronic drug and biologic product adverse experience reporting. The changes do not impact what types of incidents are required to be reported to the FDA, but they would require that the incidents be reported in an electronic format that the FDA can process, review, and archive. Information on how to prepare and send postmarket safety reports for devices and for drugs and biologics is contained in Draft Guidance Documents: • FDA’s Website on Electronic Medical Device Reporting: fda.gov/ForIndustry/FDAeSubmitter/ucm107903.htm • FDA’s Website on the FDA eSubmitter: fda.gov/ForIndustry/FDAeSubmitter/default.htm Fact Sheet: fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ Surveillance/AdverseDrugEffects/ucm179586.htm Calendar Notes October is National Breast Cancer Month Nearly everyone in America knows someone who has been touched by breast cancer, through either a relative or friend having it. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, over 192,000 women will be diagnosed with it — and over 40,000 women die from it – by year’s end. The key to keeping ahead of breast cancer is to be aware of the steps one can take for prevention and early detection. For more information, visit nbcam.org/about_nbcam.cfm Tuning in… Featured Podcast The Evolution of the E-Patient Featured Thought Leader: Bonnie Brescia, BBK Healthcare