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Taren Grom, Editor

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PhRMA Launches Cancer Campaign; Responds to 60 Minutes Segment

Trending now: PhRMA and industry pledge support for several disease programs.

In October, CBS’ 60 Minutes ran a segment about the high cost of cancer drugs, and specifically about the decision by physicians at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to not prescribe Sanofi’s Zaltrap due to its $11,000 price tag.
PhRMA published a rebuttal on its blog a week later. An excerpt from the blog: Examining the value new cancer medicines provide to patients is an important topic to discuss. That is why it is disappointing that 60 Minutes chose to present a biased, one-sided, view of the cost of cancer medicines. A more serious discussion of this topic would have included a fair representation of the cost and complexity of developing new medicines.

{  If you missed the debate, visit and

PhRMA Launches Campaign for Oncology Patients

In more PhRMA news, the organization launched a campaign called “I’m Not Average” to share inspirational stories from patients about the powerful impact advances and innovations in cancer medicines have had on their lives.
The campaign states that medicines should not be evaluated based on the projected value they provide to an average patient, but on the value they provide to individual patients and the potential to extend and improve the quality of their lives. The campaign highlights the stories of individual patients who have beaten the odds and lived well beyond the average life expectancy they were given when they began their treatment. These stories will be featured at and on Twitter using the hashtag #NotAverage.
{  For more information, visit;;; @PhRMA or @PhRMApress.
Biogen-Idec Launches Support
Program for MS Patients
To support people living with MS, Biogen-Idec has launched MS Blueprint, a new program that encourages those impacted by MS to focus on activities that may bring joy to their lives every day. By visiting, people can set goals, create personalized MS Blueprints, and take small steps toward a more positive life. MS Blueprint was inspired by happiness expert Gretchen Rubin’s approach to creating a more contented life, which she details in her New York Times best-selling book, The Happiness Project. As program ambassador, Ms. Rubin is sharing her own tips and advice for getting the most enjoyment out of each day, and hopes to motivate those impacted by MS to address their challenging circumstances, focus on what makes them happy, and live in the present.
The International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN), Can Do MS, and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (MSF) helped guide the development of this MS-specific program. MS Blueprint features a variety of themes, such as Mind & Spirit and Heart & Home, with activities that can be customized to individual goals and preferences.
By regularly visiting the MS Blueprint website, those impacted by MS can continue to set new goals, create new MS Blueprints, and contribute their suggestions for themes and activities they would like to see added to the site. In addition to the personalized activity plans, the website features frequently asked questions about living with MS, and a blog from Ms. Rubin on how to incorporate happiness into your daily routine.
{  For more information, visit

Amgen Introduces App to
Support Patients Throughout Chemotherapy

Designed to help patients before, during, and after chemotherapy, the ChemoReady app provides a virtual companion resource to support patients in all phases of the chemotherapy experience. This resource includes a diary, calendar, reminders, symptom tracker, music playlist, resource finder, test result tracker, and functionality to export content that can be shared with healthcare professionals or loved ones. Amgen added a music playlist and a resource finder to introduce more functionality; the app can help pass the time during chemotherapy treatment to unwind or learn more about the condition.
{  For more information, visit

AstraZeneca Launches
Multi-Platform Program for
Type 2 Diabetes Patients

AstraZeneca has created Fit2Me, a free diet and lifestyle support program that allows people with this complex disease to create a diabetes care plan that is custom fit to their likes and dislikes. Fit2Me is the first multi-platform, customizable diabetes platform offered in the suite of AstraZeneca patient support programs.
According to AstraZeneca, Fit2Me is the only diabetes support program to offer the guidance and encouragement of “digital coaches” who help users through the process and who celebrate successes along the way. Using an interactive gaming platform to design and implement their personalized plans, people make meal and exercise choices and tradeoffs custom fit to their preferences. In addition, no other diabetes support program has as robust a recipe and activity database as Fit2Me, with more than 10,000 diabetes-friendly recipes and more than 500 physical activities and exercises. Fit2Me focuses on four key areas of diabetes management: food, activity, support team, and treatment support. The program also rewards people with type 2 diabetes for being active participants in generating their own positive outcomes, offering points for visiting the site regularly and completing fun team challenges. These points can be accumulated for entry into the Fit2Me sweepstakes for chances to win prizes.
{  For more information, visit

Partners Provide Platform for Motivating Patients to Take Their Medication

HealthPrize Technologies, a digital health company leveraging gaming dynamics, rewards, and education with the goal of improving medication adherence joins with Connexions Loyalty to give pharmaceutical companies access to a wide array of benefits that can be used to reward and motivate patients to take their medication as prescribed. HealthPrize runs programs for pharmaceutical brands treating a variety of health conditions. The platform has proven to boost adherence rates — the mean number of prescription fills per patient relative to the brand’s baseline fill rate — by a factor of two for some conditions. HealthPrize empowers pharmaceutical companies to reward patients who accumulate points for a variety of activities. These activities can include reporting their daily medication adherence or filling their prescriptions. Additional forms of engagement are also rewarded with points, including points for the completion of weekly educational quizzes and market research surveys as well as daily health tips.
Patients also compete in sweepstakes and leaderboard competitions. Points are redeemed in the Rewards Mall, which will be managed by Connexions.
{  For more information, visit or

Kids’ Weight Loss App Includes Human and Virtual Coaching
Kurbo Health’s mobile-enabled program is designed for users ages 8 to 18, but is intended to encourage participation with the whole family. The app’s manual entry food tracker assigns colors to different foods, helping kids understand on a basic level which foods are healthy and unhealthy. Also included in the app are games, challenges, a progress section, and weekly individual online coaching sessions. These individualized online coaching sessions are what sets Kurbo apart from the many online calorie trackers and apps on the market.
{  For more information, visit

Mobile Health Apps for Seniors
GreatCall, a creator of mobile health and safety solutions for active aging, has launched a suite of connected health and safety products and services in more than 4,000 Rite Aid pharmacies nationwide. With its suite of easy-to-use products and services, including GreatCall Splash, Jitterbug5, Touch3 and health, safety and medical apps, including Urgent Care, GreatCall Link, MedCoach, and 5Star, GreatCall uses an award-winning personalized approach to ensure aging consumers can live more independent lives.
For more information, visit or or follow @GreatCallinc.

Stanford U Launches Lab to Measure Wearable Device Data

Stanford University is launching a new lab designed to pull measurable and meaningful data from wearable devices. According to a message on the University website from director and founder Matthew Smuck, the Center for Medical Mobile Technology was established to facilitate and promote the scientific integration of mobile technology and healthcare. Advances in mobile computing alongside the explosion of sophisticated wearable biosensors are combining to create new opportunities in medical research. This research is necessary to harness the full potential of mobile technologies. While biometric information is increasingly available in the commercial sector, it commonly lacks the scientific validity necessary to make the transition to healthcare applications. By applying rigorous medical research methodology and advanced statistics to the analysis of mobile technology data, Stanford researchers aim to create new insights into human diseases and develop novel tools for disease detection and prevention.
For more information, visit

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