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Pharma trax Sales, marketing, And R&D Trends affecting the healthcare industry A Look at Americans’ Health and Wellness About 57 million Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension, and the number of Americans with hypertension has increased 46% since 1998, according to the latest National Health and Wellness Survey conducted by Consumer Health Sciences (CHS). The survey, which was conducted in the spring of 2004 via the Internet, provides a detailed view of people’s health across four countries: the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany. In the United States, some of the results include: 35% of the adult population is classified as obese, 62% of adults have at least two self-reported medical conditions, and 90% of hypertension patients also suffer from at least two other conditions. In gathering more than 4,000 data variables on each of 64,000 healthcare consumers, CHS has created a comprehensive database of people’s health-related attitudes, beliefs, history, and habits. “The real value of the data comes from drilling into the microscopic detail provided at the product level,” explains Jane A. Donohue, CEO of CHS. “Our clients want to know as much as they can about patients’ conditions, lifestyles, and mindsets. For that reason, we increase the scope of the survey each year.” This year, the survey has captured for the first time details on: prescription purchase channel (pharmacy, mail-order, Internet); work productivity; smoking cessation; symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome, overactive bladder, and osteoporosis; and diagnoses of eczema, dermatitis, and insomnia. Support for Stem-Cell Research Increases Three years later, a new Harris Poll finds that the majority supporting stem-cell research has increased to more than 6-to-1. In 2001, a Harris Poll reported that a 3-to-1 majority believed that stem-cell research should be allowed. Other changes since 2001 are a substantial increase in the number of people who have seen, read, or heard about the debate on stem-cell research, stronger support for arguments in favor of stem-cell research, and less support for arguments against it. The survey also found the level of opposition to stem-cell research varies according to people’s religious beliefs. The Harris Interactive nationwide online survey of 2,242 adults was conducted between July 12, 2004, and July 18, 2004. Cost Considerations Drive Formulary Approval With total spending on prescription medicines in the United States rising 13% to 17% a year, health plans are increasingly taking cost into account when deciding which new drugs to include for third-party reimbursement, according to a study by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. The study, which examined the role of cost-effectiveness in formulary and clinical-practice guidelines in the United States and Europe, found that the more drug makers can demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of their products, the more likely those drugs will be included in the formularies of healthcare insurance plans. New Technologies Bring mAb-based Products to Market The use of monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutics is expected to increase. Researchers at Cambridge Healthtech have identified more than 110 mAb products now in clinical trials, and hundreds of additional candidates are at the preclinical stage of development. Currently 18 therapeutic (17 in the United States and one in Germany) and six diagnostic mAbs are available. Worldwide sales of therapeutic mAbs have risen to $7.2 billion in 2003 from $3.95 billion in 2001. The report, The Next Generation of Monoclonal Antibody Therapeutics: Technologies, Markets, Competition, has found, however, that hurdles remain for the development of diagnostic mAbs, including technological challenges as well as increasing pressure to reduce healthcare costs. Physicians Seek Pharma-Related products and Services on the Internet Physicians are increasingly leveraging the Internet and its emerging technologies for pharmaceutical-related products and services, according to a new study from Manhattan Research LLC. The e-pharma physician market has grown to 379,000 practicing physicians, representing 64% of all U.S. practicing physicians today. Physicians are using online technologies for a broad range of purposes: to find information about drugs and treatment options, participate in electronic detailing for pharma sales, prescribe medications, streamline information at the point of care, communicate with colleagues, and pursue continuing medical education. “Our research provides a look at the ePharma Physician, those who represent the next generation of Web-enabled practitioners,” says Mark Bard, president of Manhattan Research. Titled ePharma Physician: v4.0: The Future of e-Marketing, the annually updated report provides insights on how physicians are leveraging emerging technologies to enhance their practice. HOW AMERICANS VIEW STEM-CELL RESEARCH The number of respondents who believe that stem-cell research should be allowed has increased to 73% from 61% in 2001. A breakdown by political affiliation shows that of those respondents, Democrats (80%), Independents (83%),and Republicans (60%) support stem-cell research. The number of respondents who believe that “using stem cells from human embryos for research comes too close to allowing scientists play God” has fallen to 19% from 40% in 2001. The number of respondents who believe that “allowing any medical research using stem cells from human embryos should be forbidden because it is unethical and immoral” has also fallen to 15% from 32% in the last three years. Those who describe themselves as very religious are much more likely to oppose stem-cell research than those who are not at all or not very religious (23% vs. 4%). Born-Again Christians are more likely to oppose it than are other Christians (21% vs. 9%), and Catholics are somewhat more likely to oppose it than Protestants (15% vs. 10%). Source: Harris Interactive, Rochester, N.Y. For more information, visit harrisinteractive.com. Dr. Joshua Cohen While drug companies are not required to demonstrate cost-effectiveness to win regulatory approval to market drugs, their ability to provide such evidence has emerged as a de facto fourth hurdle to be eligible for third-party reimbursement, says Joshua Cohen, Ph.D., senior fellow at Tufts CSDD and author of the study. The Tufts csdd survey findings 65% of pharmacy benefit managers and managed-care organizations currently request drug manufacturers to provide clinical and cost evidence to support listing of newly approved pharmaceuticals. Almost 30% of current clinical-practice guidelines incorporate or refer to cost analyses. Five years ago, that figure was less than 10%; 10 years ago the number was below 5%. Clinical-practice guidelines pertaining to conditions amenable to risk factor reduction and preventive care are more likely to incorporate or refer to cost analyses than guidelines relating to life-saving care. While leading European clinical-practice guideline committee members attribute a moderate role to cost analyses in driving topic selection and guideline development, they caution against giving undue weight to cost in prescribing decisions. A similar pattern exists in the United States. Source: The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, Boston. For more information, visit csdd.tufts.edu. how physicians use the internet Over a six-month period, e-pharma physicians visited a variety of sites for health and medical information. Sites were used to research 46 conditions, from acid reflux to erectile dysfunction to hypertension to weight management. Sites most often visited included: WebMD, Medscape, Medline/NLM/PubMed, MDConsult, and Merck Medicus. Most e-pharma physicians (87%) report that the Internet is a critical resource for information on prescription drugs and other treatment options. This percentage is a 15% increase over the previous year’s response. Information obtained online can lead to a change in course; more than three-quarters of those surveyed say their behavior is sometimes or often changed as a result of what they found online. More than half of e-pharma physicians find that certain online offerings are more effective than traditional offline marketing. These offerings include: Websites with disease information offered by a non-pharma/biotech company, online CME, and sponsored sites with disease information provided by a pharma/biotech company. Most e-pharma physicians (79%) responded favorably to the concept of physician-targeted customer service portals offered by pharma/biotech companies. The five services of greatest importance to respondents include: links to medical education, disease information directly on the portal, links to CME resources, patient-education materials, and links to disease information. A 28% increase, compared with last year’s study, was noted by physicians who expect online customer service from the companies. Source: Manhattan Research LLC, New York. For more information, visit manhattanresearch.com. Follow up Cambridge Healthtech Advisor, Waltham, Mass., a sister company of Cambridge Healthtech Institute, serves the pharmaceutical and life-sciences industries by advancing information, ideas, and advice. For more information, visit chadvisors.com. Consumer Health Sciences, Princeton, N.J., a wholly owned division of Grey Healthcare Group, collects and analyzes the attitudes, opinions, behaviors, quality of life measures, and demographics of consumers and patients. For more information, visit chsinternational.com. Harris Interactive, Rochester, N.Y., is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. For more information, visit harrisinteractive.com. Manhattan Research LLC, New York, is a marketing information and services firm that helps healthcare and life-sciences organizations adapt, prosper, and explore opportunities in the networked economy. For more information, visit manhattanresearch.com. The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, Boston, provides strategic information to help drug developers, regulators, and policymakers improve the quality and efficiency of pharmaceutical development, review, and utilization. For more information, visit csdd.tufts.edu. Mark Bard The Internet has become an essential resource to physicians seeking to interact with pharma companies, says Mark Bard, President of Manhattan Research.