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Sunovion Teams up with Demi Lovato for Mental Health Documentary

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, five leading mental health advocacy organizations, and multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and mental health advocate Demi Lovato have released Beyond Silence, a documentary film created by photographer and filmmaker Shaul Schwarz. The Be Vocal initiative encourages individuals living with mental health conditions to speak up for themselves and as a community to help advance mental health in America.

Allergan Launches Initiative to Fight Against Preventable Blindness

Allergan has launched a commitment to fight preventable blindness in the United States with a new initiative — See America. Through See America, Allergan sets out to make vision health a priority for all Americans, increase awareness of the diseases that can cause preventable blindness and help improve access to vision care for those who need it most.

Through See America, Allergan will partner with Prevent Blindness to champion better access to vision care. Through a series of vision-screening events in various cities, sponsored by Allergan, attendees will receive free one-on-one professional eye exams, follow-up treatment plans and education about the most common diseases affecting people’s vision.

Physicians say Real-World Evidence Informs Treatment Decisions

In a survey of 866 U.S. physicians, respondents ranked real-world evidence as the most important data informing treatment decisions, followed by clinical trial data. The study by Capgemini Consulting and Omnicom Health Group finds that providers’ behaviors change as their financial risk increases, and the pharmaceutical industry must rethink how it demonstrates the value of its products in response.

The survey reveals that nearly two-thirds of organized providers are reimbursed primarily through alternative payment models designed to hold them accountable for quality, cost, and patient outcomes.

The study suggests pharmaceutical companies can look to collaborate with the most highly integrated health systems to co-develop and maintain appropriate real-world evidence databases that support care pathway development and track performance.

Sites Rate Sponsors

More than 1,300 global investigative sites across 15 countries rated the best biopharmaceutical companies with which to work in a new survey conducted by CenterWatch.

Sponsor companies have made strengthening their relationships with investigative sites a top priority in recent years. Gaps remain though. Areas identified in the survey as vitally in need of change included easily accessible staff, good overall protocol design, and well-trained CRAs.

The 10 highest-ranking companies were:

1.    Novo Nordisk
2.    Servier
3.    Otsuka
4.    Teva
5.    Boehringer Ingelheim
6.    Allergan
7.    GlaxoSmithKline
8.    AstraZeneca
9.    Janssen
10.  Lilly

Veteran CEO Takes Helm of XTuit Pharmaceuticals

Deborah Dunsire, Ph.D., has been named president and CEO of XTuit Pharmaceuticals, a developer of novel therapeutics that target the microenvironment, turning off multiple signaling pathways that play a critical role in driving disease processes in fibrosis and cancer. Dr. Dunsire notes there is increasing recognition that the microenvironment plays a central role in fibrosis and cancer, and XTuit continues to build R&D capabilities, which include a therapeutics platform as well as a clinical biomarker platform, and as the company advances its first drug candidates toward the clinic.

“I am privileged to be leading the team at XTuit, which is a highly qualified and passionate team,” she says. “The company’s scientific advisors, Rakesh Jain, Bob Langer, and Ron Evans are luminaries in their respective fields and we are incredibly fortunate to be working with them and other key academic collaborators. The company’s Series A syndicate of investors is also a “blue-chip” team led by Polaris and NEA, together with Omega Funds, Arcus Ventures, and CTI Lifesciences.”

Dr. Dunsire is a recognized leader in the field of oncology and has been named a PharmaVOICE Red Jacket honoree for her dedication and leadership to transforming the life-sciences industry.

Merck Teams Up With Football Pro Jim Kelly

Head and neck cancer survivor and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is sharing his personal experience as part of Your Cancer Game Plan, a new awareness campaign focused on helping people with cancer and their loved ones tackle their emotional, nutritional, and communication needs.

The partnership between Merck, Kelly, and leading cancer organizations, encourages people with head and neck cancer and their their loved ones to make a cancer game plan to support their cancer journey.

Profits Over patients

Only 9% of U.S. consumers believe pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies put patients over profits, while only 16% believe health insurance companies do, according to a recent Harris Poll study. Meanwhile, 36% of U.S. adults believe healthcare providers (such as doctors and nurses) put patients over profits, compared with hospitals (23%).

When asked where solutions to the healthcare industry’s challenges will come from, more than half of U.S consumers (55%) say healthcare providers, such as doctors or nurses. Nearly half (47%) see patients and consumers solving healthcare challenges, while 38% cite the government.

U.S. Drug Spending Increases 3.8% in 2016

Express Scripts has announced that it held 2016 growth rate in prescription drug spending to just 3.8%, a 27% decrease from 2015, according to the 21st edition of its annual Drug Trend Report.

Between 2015 and 2016, almost half of employers whose pharmacy benefits were managed by Express Scripts saw a year-over-year increase in per-person spending of less than 3.7%, and one-third of employers had a decrease in pharmacy spending.

Other findings:
Patients paid 14.6% of the total cost of a prescription medication in 2016, compared with 14.8% in 2015, as plan management programs enabled many employers to hold the line on copayments and deductibles. The average patient out-of-pocket cost for a 30-day prescription was $11.34 in 2016, roughly a dime more than in 2015.

Despite brand-name list price increases of nearly 11%, Express Scripts kept unit cost increases for employers to just 2.5% across all prescription drugs, nearly 22% lower than 2015, and more than 60% lower than the increase in prices, net of rebates, recently reported by major drug makers.

Prices for the most commonly used generic medications declined 8.7% in 2016.

Biopharma Companies Partner to Launch Global Initiative for Non-Communicable Diseases

At the World Economic Forum in January, 22 leading biopharmaceutical companies launched Access Accelerated, a global initiative to advance access to non-communicable disease prevention and care in low and lower-middle income countries.

Non-communicable diseases have reached a point of crisis, particularly in lower and middle income countries, where nearly 80% of NCD-related deaths occur.

The goal of Access Accelerated, in partnership with the World Bank Group and the Union for International Cancer Control, is to work toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal target to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.

Building on more than 100 long-standing individual company investments to advance NCD care in developing countries, Access Accelerated will bring additional accountability and transparency to existing efforts while also placing a specific emphasis on addressing access barriers to NCD prevention, treatment, and care.

Pharma’s Most Innovative Companies

The Pharmaceutical Innovation Index (PII) from IDEA Pharma celebrates the pharmaceutical companies that are most successful at developing and commercializing innovation.

According to Mike Rea, CEO of IDEA Pharma, and a PharmaVOICE Red Jacket honoree, based on systematic, objective analysis of each company’s performance between 2011 and 2016, the 2017 ranking sees the return of some major pharma companies to the top 10, with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck rising sharply.(PV)

The 10 top innovative companies are:
1. Biogen
2. AbbVie
3. Gilead Sciences
4. Johnson & Johnson
5. Takeda
6.  Baxter
7.  Merck
8.  Novo Nordisk
9.  Bristol-Myers Squibb
10. Celgene

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