Taren Grom, Editor
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Warp Speed Ahead
It’s that time of year again — time to pause, reflect, and take stock of the year that was, while gearing up for the wild ride that lies ahead. This time last year, we had just elected a new president, and today there remains quite a bit of uncertainty as to what President Trump’s healthcare policy is going to be. Earlier this year, Merck’s Ken Frazier left the president’s manufacturing council; he was shortly followed by other pharma company CEOs. Tom Price left his post as HHS secretary, and recently his replacement Alex Azar, former president of the American division of Eli Lilly, was named to the post. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, new FDA commissioner, is forging a new path for the agency. And amidst it all, the Affordable Care Act is still in limbo.
The politics of healthcare aside, it was an exciting year in terms of innovative products making their way to the market.
In May, Merck’s Keytruda was granted accelerated approval to treat patients whose cancers have a specific genetic feature (biomarker). This is the first time the FDA has approved a cancer treatment based on a common biomarker rather than the location in the body where the tumor originated. Cancer drugs are often used across multiple tumor types, but this is the first time that a genetic test was used for the basis for approval to guide the use. Exciting stuff…check out Pipeline Disrupters, one of our top 10 trends for 2018, to learn how three hot areas — regenerative medicine, RNA technologies, and immunotherapies — will alter the course of treatment and our experts’ take on the future of medicine.
In this special Year in Preview issue, we also examine the growing interest in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, which are powering many of the innovations that we are experiencing today. Some experts say AI is as important to the next 100 years as antibiotics were to the last century. More cautionary folks warn that AI is based on humans, so the old adage GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) comes into play, therefore the processes have to be tight.
In the coming year, there will an increased focus on Brand Engagement. And while it will come as no surprise to marketers, as the pharmaceutical industry shifts its commercial model from volume to value, brands must use patient experience as the driver of strategic initiatives, since better experiences lead to higher health engagement and, ultimately, better health outcomes. The trick is to get beyond the buzz and really challenge brand strategists to embrace the right mix of technology and messaging and not to forget who they are talking to.
These are just some quick highlights of three of the 10 areas of focus. We also tackle: Agile Marketing, Alternative Healthcare Delivery, Bioethics, Rare Diseases, Real-World Outcomes, Treatment to Wellness, and Virtual Health Technology. We encourage you to check out our bonus content: Trend Tracking: Then and Now. We revved up the way-back machine to see how trends of yore are faring today. Definitely worth a click onto www.pharmavoice.com.
We want to thank the more than 220 industry experts who raised their voices for this special issue, as well as the 1,000-plus thought leaders who provided their insights throughout the year. We also want to thank you, our readers, for being part of the journey as we look to explore new paths together. And a sincere shout out to our advertisers whose support allows us to continue to bring thought-provoking editorial — from molecule to market — to all of you. Happy 2018 to all.
Taren Grom, Editor
The pipeline is filled with potential first-in-class therapies that could provide new options for patients.
Innovative healthcare technology is impacting all aspects of drug making and commercialization.
The role pharma companies play in patients’ lives is evolving, from programs focused on wellness to greater awareness and voice for many patients, such as those with rare diseases.
Coming in JANUARY 2018
Pharma Innovation Labs
Pricing and Value
Women & Health: Drugs in Development
Showcase Feature: Social Media
The forum for the industry executive
Volume 17 • Number 10
Publisher Lisa Banket
Editor Taren Grom
Creative Director Marah Walsh
Director of Sales
National Account Manager
Webcast Network Producer
by PharmaLinx LLC, Titusville, NJ
Printed in the U.S.A.
Volume Seventeen, Number Ten
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