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I Stay Home For Rare

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Living in the Light, a patient advocacy company that specializes in rare disease storytelling through photography, narrative journalism, and documentary video, has launched I Stay Home For Rare, a campaign and fund to provide immediate financial relief and assistance to members of the rare disease community.

“We are a small but mighty team leading this effort,” says Levi Gershkowitz, founder and CEO of Living in the Light. In the first week of the campaign, I Stay Home For Rare formed partnerships with 12 different patient advocacy organizations nationally and raised more than $45,000, enough to significantly help 30 families pay their rent, buy food, and for some, provide vital therapies for their children who have lost access due to the pandemic. Along with its fiscal partner, Cure CMD, the company is raising and distributing emergency funds as quickly as possible.

One unique aspect of the campaign is the commitment to empowering families and individuals to share their stories and to openly address the isolation often associated with having a life-limiting condition — something many people are now dealing with for the first time due to social distancing protocols. Telling stories of resilience has been at the foundation of Living in the Light’s mission since 2012. “True medicine happens at the confluence of seeing and being seen,” Mr. Gershkowitz says. “As storytellers and artists, we are practitioners of narrative medicine. We aim to encapsulate the complexities that extend beyond a diagnosis and give voice to an often sidelined and silenced population. When done right, visibility leads to access, and together, both promote healing and equality.”

Through the campaign website www.IStayHomeForRare.org one can make a tax-deductible donation or apply for funds, which are being distributed in grants of up to $2,500 per family/household. To follow the campaign visit the website@frompatienttoperson, on Instagram
@stayhomeforrare, or on Twitter #istayhomeforrare.

In addition to leading this effort, Living in the Light made an initial contribution of $10,800 to begin the first funding series.

State of Revenue

Model N has released a new report detailing the 2020 state of revenue based on a survey of senior business executives. Today, in the digital era, the number of factors they must consider has increased exponentially, introducing a quantity of data and levels of complexity not seen before.
As a result, businesses are considering new and automated ways of operating, including innovative trends such as artificial intelligence, which offers a compelling way to cope with and harness the power of all this data. Data and AI can now be leveraged across a wide range of business processes: rebates, contracts, price modeling, compliance, and more. Many functional areas, including sales, marketing, finance, IT, and operations teams, are grappling with how the digital age impacts their business and, specifically, how they manage revenue. Some of Model N’s key findings reveal:

82% say revenue management is increasingly difficult.

AI continues to top the list of trends impacting revenue management.

98% of executives face challenges with revenue management.

73% agree their pricing decisions leave money on the table.

Tech Together

A unique collaboration between Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies has led to Tech Together, an online platform that provides support and tools for people in recovery or those struggling with addiction. This is especially important amid a time of isolation during the global pandemic caused by COVID-19. The collaboration began last year around the opioid crisis and over the last few weeks, the group re-focused the launch of Tech Together to support people during COVID-19 and shelter in place orders.

Currently, 20 million Americans struggle with substance abuse disorder and there are 23 million Americans in recovery. COVID-19 is causing widespread cessation of recovery support meetings, making it even more imperative to provide online support tools. In fact, Alcoholics Anonymous alone has 66,345 groups in the United States, totaling more than 1,361,800 members. Most meetings and support groups are being closed around the country due to COVID-19. This tool helps to facilitate virtual meetings for those in recovery.

Recent research from Harvard and Johns Hopkins reveals that 2.5 million Americans adults are already using technology to aid in their recovery and report online tools led to further recovery success.

The Tech Together website — Tech Together.com — showcases products and efforts created by each of the technology partners that provide recovery tools for families or people in recovery: access to virtual recovery support groups, anti-stigma support and inspiration through videos and storytelling; Twitter groups that provide community; and resources for families to get help for their loved ones such as virtual counseling, tools to find local solutions, and centers.

HCPs Are Cautiously Optimistic About Telehealth

A new survey conducted by Fingerpaint about the use of telemedicine shows that a majority (76%) of healthcare practitioners (HCPs) agree it is convenient for their patient, but most (64%) think it is not as effective as engaging with their patient in an office. The survey also shows that adoption and future use of telehealth could greatly depend on the area of practice.

Of those surveyed, 72% said they are currently using telehealth to communicate with their patients, and just over half (58%) said they intend to continue using telemedicine more than they had previously, even after the restrictions associated with COVID-19 are lifted.

“While HCPs are turning to telemedicine out of necessity to offer safe and convenient access to care for their patients and still have some skepticism, they are acknowledging opportunities for continued expanded use post COVID-19,” says Michelle Petroff, head of Fingerpaint’s Conshohocken office. “Brands have the opportunity to be true partners and develop educational information to help HCPs and patients become more comfortable with telehealth.”

Although the survey was not powered to conclude differences, the agency did observe divergence in responses across various specialties. When broken down by specialty, psychiatrists seem to be the most comfortable with and most receptive to telemedicine, which allows them to interact with their patients much like they would in an office setting without greatly impeding their evaluation. Oncologists also seem to be high adopters of telemedicine and are still incredibly busy with patient load. They are turning to the service out of necessity.

The survey link was sent in an email to about 16,000 contacts.
Respondents were screened to ensure their status as healthcare professionals who reside in the United States, are board-certified in their specialty, and have a minimum of four years and maximum of 30 years of practice experience. A total of 100 healthcare professionals completed the online survey during the week of April 6, 2020.

GSK Partners with the Arthritis Foundation

GSK has entered into a multi-year partnership with the Arthritis Foundation to support scientific research, advocacy, as well as virtual resources and community connections for the more than 30 million people in America living with osteoarthritis (OA). As part of the mission for an osteoarthritis cure, Voltaren Arthritis Pain is donating 100% of profits from pre-order of the product, which is the first and only prescription strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) topical gel for arthritis pain to be available over the counter through May, to support the Arthritis Foundation’s goal to provide virtual care and connection to their patient community during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Additionally, for every donation made to the Arthritis Foundation between May 13 and May 31, Voltaren will match up to $100,000. Voltaren Arthritis Pain will be available on shelves and online this spring.

Osteoarthritis, which occurs when the cartilage between joints begins to break down and wear away, is one of the leading causes of disability in the U.S., affecting one in seven adults. For the millions of people in America living with osteoarthritis, joint pain and stiffness are daily realities, and pain can worsen over time.

W2O Acquires Symplur

W2O, an independent provider of analytics-driven, digital-first marketing communications to the healthcare sector, has acquired Symplur, a social media analytics platform exclusively focused on the healthcare sector.

Symplur provides an easy-to-use interface and analytical capabilities that will help make W2O’s data and analytics operating system and technology accessible to a broader range of non-technical users. In the future, W2O will add features to the platform that will allow users to create custom segments of key audiences to further benefit healthcare clients.

Symplur’s proprietary, purpose-built social media analytics platform – the only tool of its kind on the market designed entirely for healthcare – allows for the rapid and easy identification of social media trends among physicians, patient advocates, life-science professionals, media and other key audiences of interest to healthcare organizations, government entities and academic institutions.

“Particularly in these challenging, uncertain times reverberating across global communities and economies, healthcare companies are looking to track essential information in an urgent and immediate manner utilizing data and analytics to discern insights for decision-making,” says W2O Founder and CEO Jim Weiss. “Symplur’s pioneering technology products turn up the volume on the most important, and often overlooked, voices in healthcare, ultimately engineering a path to a deeper understanding of this dynamic, complex sector.”

Public Response to Epidemic

GlobalData’s latest report, “Healthcare Industry Business Confidence Report 2020”, reveals that health epidemics was the biggest concern among healthcare industry professionals. A total 95% of respondents surveyed between February and early March 2020 were concerned about the impact of COVID-2019 on their companies’ performance, with respondents from the Asia Pacific region expressing the highest level of concern. Furthermore, 23% of respondents were very or extremely concerned about supply and demand gaps — possibly tied to the coronavirus outbreak.


PharmaVOICE 100 News

Ashan Awan Joins Genlantis Diagnostics
Ashan Awan has joined Genlantis Diagnostics as VP of clinical development. Genlantis recently received FDA approval for its CovidQuik Coronavirus (COVID-19) IgM/IgG Antibody Test. The Genlantis Diagnostics product can now be found on the official U.S. FDA list of Emergency Use Authorizations. CovidQuik is a point-of-care blood test for the rapid detection of Coronavirus (COVID-19) IgM/IgG antibodies. Delivering results in less than 15 minutes, CovidQuik can provide a better understanding of how long IgM/IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 stay in the body. This information could help bolster the advancement of medicines and immunizations.

Mr. Awan is a 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 PharmaVOICE 100.

Susan Torroella Named President and CEO of ArmadaHealth
ArmadaHealth, a provider of physician recommendations, has appointed Susan Torroella as president and CEO. An award-winning healthcare executive, Torroella brings to the position tremendous healthcare knowledge and experience. As chief operating officer, under Ms. Torroella’s guidance, ArmadaHealth successfully deepened its B2B presence with the launch of QualityCare Connects — an evidence-based physician recommendations service — and a first-of-its-kind navigation-as-a-service platform, QualityCare Navigators. In 2020, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association named Susan its STAR honoree.
Ms. Torroella is a 2005 PharmaVOICE 100.


COVID-19: An Update on the Industry’s Response

AbbVie has donated $35 million to support COVID-19 relief efforts. In the U.S., AbbVie’s funds will be used to support healthcare capacity for hospitals as well as protect vulnerable populations by enabling access to food and essential supplies. In Europe, the donation will provide critical equipment and supplies to patients and front-line healthcare workers in the hardest-hit countries.

Boehringer Ingelheim has made available EUR 5.8 million for financial and in-kind donations for local emergency aid across the globe. The company is also working with local organizations that use financial and medicine donations to organize help for patients in their communities.

Gilead Sciences has expanded its supply of an experimental coronavirus drug and is prepared to donate 1.5 million doses of it to hospitals dealing with severely ill patients.

Johnson & Johnson announces a $50 million commitment to support frontline health workers battling COVID-19. The funds will be earmarked for assisting the doctors, nurses, midwives, and community health workers who are working tirelessly to treat patients around the world during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Medable Inc. has announced a multi-company —BioIntelliSense, Datavant, Parexel, PWNHealth and the American Heart Association’s Center for Health Technology and Innovation — research framework to accelerate development of diagnostics and treatments for COVID-19, providing individuals fast access to participate in leading-edge research for diagnostics, health monitoring, and interventional clinical trials. The ACCESS initiative — short for American COVID-19 Collaborative Enabling Seamless Science — provides a mobile consumer application and secure infrastructure to quickly connect health researchers and clinical trial teams securely with up to millions of home-bound individuals in the United States. ACCESS makes it easy for individuals to contribute specific information about their COVID-19 experience, combine it with health records and data from wearable devices, and opt in to participate in current and future studies for diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. The data that people share can be quickly and anonymously matched to research studies, providing researchers with a foundational framework for dynamic research at scale.

MicroMass has launched a new website: COVID Compass — https://www.micromass.com/covid/ — to help individuals build skills to navigate this “new normal.” The site is not a news source, rather it provides scientifically proven techniques to support wellness in this challenging time. The site features videos and downloadable activities centered around three focus areas: finding reliable information, connecting with people, and reducing stress.

PRA Health Science has launched a COVID-19 Monitoring Program, a mobile app-driven, tiered initiative that allows employers, payers, providers, and health systems to track the health and wellbeing of individuals who may be asymptomatic, exposed, or diagnosed with COVID-19 during the pandemic. Based on an individual’s COVID-19 disease status, they are assigned to a group with specific guidance and resources. Some resources include vital tracking signs, mental health support, connecting individuals with a healthcare professional, addressing symptom management, and more. With this program, individuals can have the peace of mind that they can connect with a HCP from the comfort of their own homes while maintaining social distancing.

Syneos Health launched a volunteer program to enable clinically qualified employees to address the U.K. government’s call for volunteers to support COVID-19 testing. Syneos Health joins the effort, supported by the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, to help the U.K. identify 2,000 clinically qualified volunteers to administer throat and nasal swab tests at COVID-19 testing centers throughout the country.
The company has extended the volunteer program worldwide to enable medical professionals who are called on by local governments to participate in COVID-19 support efforts, in accordance with country-specific guidelines. Syneos Health’s 24,000 employees worldwide, include thousands of medically trained professionals with frontline healthcare expertise including doctors, nurses, infectious disease experts, and lab technicians.

Vertex has announced that its associated nonprofit charitable foundation, the Vertex Foundation, is to make donations to three organizations in the United Kingdom to support their COVID-19 relief efforts. The move falls under a $5 million global program to support the COVID-19 pandemic response around the world. The funds will help organizations that are providing emergency relief and assistance in the communities where Vertex employees live and work with a focus on those providing healthcare and supplies and support for vulnerable populations. As of April 8, the current recorded case count for COVID-19 in the UK was 55,242 with 6,159 deaths.


Woman of the Week Podcast Series


Sandy Solmon, CEO & President, Celavie
Susan Kalk, Senior VP, Chief Quality & Technical Operations Officer, Sunovion
Smital Shah, Chief Business and Financial Officer, ProQR
Sharon Shacham, Ph.D. , Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer, Karyopharm Therapeutics


Contributed Article:
Teaching Pharmacovigilance to Machines
Provided by: TCS

Virtual Panels:
The Critical Importance of ePRO (electronic Patient Reported Outcomes) in Clinical Research in Our Challenging and Evolving Times
Sponsored by: Axiom Real-Time Metrics

Interactive Super Panel: The Pulse of the Industry
Brought to you by: PharmaVOICE

The Increasing Importance of Patient Adherence and Real Patient Connections Amidst COVID-19
Sponsored by: VMS BioMarketing

Today’s Tech and Insights-Enabled Patient Support
Sponsored by: Cardinal Health Sonexus Access & Patient Support

Trial Transformation: A Discussion with Sites on Improving Patient Outcomes with Digital Technology
Sponsored by: IQVIA

Education that Inspires Action: Align Your Communications Programs with Physician Needs
Sponsored by: MedThink Communications

Beyond COVID-19: The New Normal in Risk Based Monitoring and Quality Management
Sponsored by: Parexel

Therapeutic Digest:
Medicinal Cannabis

Driving Adherence and Engagement at Scale
Provided by: TrialCard


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