This New York Times article takes a step back on childhood immunizations and gives us an overview of the diseases and complications that could be avoided with vaccines.
As most of us already know, vaccines are probably one of the most important health and lifesaving advances of the last century. However, misinformation and scaremongering is damaging the perception and the adoption of that innovation.
When too many people opt out of immunizing, outbreaks of preventable diseases happen, with sometimes deadly consequences for some.
Childhood diseases could lead to serious complications doubled by debilitating infections.
It’s a shame not to use all the available technology to protect us and our loved ones from potentially deadly diseases. It’s like riding a motorbike without helmet.
“A new survey from The Commonwealth Fund and The Kaiser Family Foundation asked primary care providers—physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants—about their experiences with and reactions to recent changes in health care delivery and payment.
Providers’ views are generally positive regarding the impact of health information technology on quality of care, but they are more divided on the increased use of medical homes and accountable care organizations.
Overall, providers are more negative about the increased reliance on quality metrics to assess their performance and about financial penalties. Many physicians expressed frustration with the speed and administrative burden of Medicaid and Medicare payments. An earlier brief focused on providers’ experiences under the ACA’s coverage expansions and their opinions about the law.”
Probably each start of a new system is painful and requires people to adapt to it. However, it will have to be carefully monitored as adoption by healthcare providers is crucial for the success of the new system. It will validate the concept of value-based healthcare.
In a little less than 4 years, US healthcare coverage increased from 85 to 90% according to a TIME article.
“Decreasing the number of uninsured is a key goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides Medicaid coverage to many low-income individuals in states that expand and Marketplace subsidies for individuals below 400% of the poverty line.” as stated in an article of KFF.
However, it will be difficult to have a full coverage of the population as some individuals refuse to buy healthcare insurance as they do not see how they could take advantage of the money spent in it. Some of them could simply not afford to buy coverage despite the subsidies.
Moreover, some issues arise with the methodology used to count the number of insured/uninsured people (see the Health Affairs article at the end of the post for more details).
In conclusion and despite all the issues with people not willing to adhere or counting methodology, it is a real progress to expand coverage, especially because US were lagging behind some emerging countries (have a look at the OECD Publication “Health at a Glance 2013” on page 138-139).
And what’s really interesting is the impact of more coverage on global health as a blog post pointed out.
A fascinating article on GABI Online and study written by researchers on the effect of price caps and reference pricing on generics entry. Another study is also available here.
The key points (quotes from the article):
Question: how the use of a price cap along with reference pricing affects the entry of generics after patent expiry?
For reference pricing to stimulate generics entry, the price effect needs to be sufficiently small relative to the demand effect.
If price cap regulation is introduced, the negative effect of reference pricing on generics entry can be reversed, and that reference pricing is more likely to result in cost savings than under free pricing.
If the price cap is sufficiently strict, introducing reference pricing may actually increase the number of generic drugs on the market.
The reason for this is that binding price cap regulation reduces the brand-name price difference between reimbursement schemes with and without reference pricing. Generics makers may therefore obtain higher market shares under reference pricing. Reference pricing is more likely to stimulate generics entry and facilitate cost savings when prices are regulated than in the free pricing equilibrium.
These studies show the price dynamics in the pharmaceutical markets and the impact of price control tool ont generics entry.
In any situation, if we only know half of the truth, distorsions ocurr and could lead to inappropriate and harmful decisions. A US law was passed in 2007 to encourage pharmaceutical companies to register them on a website and give follow-up on the results.
But this is not always precisely executed. After the legal maximum of a year was up, the percentage of clinical trials which had had their results published:
– 6% of those paid for by other government agencies/academic institutions.
The quantity of missing trials is huge and hiding poor results is not what we expect from scientists.
It has to change as hidden or missing data could lead to the use of inappropriate drugs in some patients. There is hope: the website Alltrials (launched by Ben Goldacre) and the charity behind this initiative are leading the movement toward more transparency. The charity “Sense About Science is working on an index, to be published later this year, that will rate pharma firms according to the extent of their commitment to publish all trials”.
Allergan (former Actavis) is restructuring its operations with the divestment of its generics business to Teva for approximately USD 41 billion in cash and stock ($33.75 billion in cash and Teva shares valued at $6.75 billion, giving it a 10% stake in Teva).
But it’s not done. According to an interview with the Financial Times, the CEO, Brent Saunders, is eager to sign another mega deal with the proceeds from the sale mentioned above. Allergan can then be put on the list of serial deal makers.
On the other side of the table, Teva is about to join the club of the biggest pharmaceutical companies. According to a Business Insider UK article, “Allergan’s generic business is generally seen as a better fit than Teva’s previous target Mylan because it will improve Teva’s distribution channels and because Allergan is strong in so-called biosimilar drugs.”
In the generics market, Teva will stay one step ahead of Novartis Sandoz division (estimated proforma 2014 sales of USD 15.7 billion for Teva-Allergan vs. USD 8.5 billion for Novartis Sandoz division).
In this context, Teva will probably drop its pursuit of rival Mylan, which in turn will be able to focus on buying Perrigo.
It is no secret that 2015 has been a highly active year for deal-making in the life science space. However, what is often overlooked is exactly where in the space those deals are taking place. Life Science Nation’s financing rounds database contains detailed information on over 250 of these rounds that have taken place since January 1 of 2015. We track this data from a variety of sources however as many companies and investors chose not to disclose this information this should be viewed as a sample of the entire data set of financings. With this article will highlight what our data tells us about the rounds that have taken place thus far in 2015 for therapeutics companies around the globe.
The first cut worth examining is the types of technologies that received funding.
I think that this article really deserves a read. Why? Because it goes deeper into the fundamentals of the industry destroying some myths about the figures, very often misunderstood by the crowd.
According to Bruce Booth, despite the gigantic amounts invested in the sector:
– it is not always VC funding;
– it is not equally distributed;
– it is not linked to an increasing number of biotech companies getting financed;
– it is not leading to an increase in the the number of new companies created.
Moreover, after this analysis, the author wonders about the current situation (overfunding?) and what would happen in the next few months when investors would switch to other sectors… Another crucial question also emerges: will the number and quality of new ventures be sufficient to refresh the current ecosystem?
Several new innovative and internet-linked services are emerging every day.
Several years ago, Amazon was selling books online, then it became a one-stop shop for many other things; Google expanded its traditional search engine business into a variety of other activities; Apple as well as other mobile phone producers launched smartphones only few years ago.., we can go on forever with examples.
Healthcare is one of the last area reached by digitalization. But the trend is now more than settled.
Recently a new startup named Pager raised USD 14 million for making your medical appointments instant and for a flat fee during extended hours (from 8:00am to 10:00pm).
A Forbes article drew some parallel with Uber for taxi ordering: “The service finds and verifies doctors for its network and bills you automatically over a linked credit card”. However the CEO, Gaspard de Dreuzy, compared the company with Amazon instead: “Pager is focused on delivering a broader range of care options on demand than exist today. It could be a tele-consult via phone or messaging, or an in-person visit in the home, or a referral to the right specialist. We like to think of ourselves as the Amazon for healthcare.”
The service is only currently available in New York, but the company will soon expand its operations with the funds raised.
Other companies like ZocDoc or Doctors on Demand are also facilitating life for patients or people looking for health services quickly.
Below an pic from WSJ (see the related article in the Additional material section):
Everyone is affected by mental illness in some capacity, either directly or through those that we know. Around a quarter of the population experience a mental health condition each year and this high prevalence has considerable repercussions, both socially and economically. Indeed, many would be surprised to hear that on top of obvious human suffering, mental illness is estimated to cost the UK an eye-watering £105 billion a year once healthcare expenses and lost productivity have been taken into account.
With mental illness disrupting the lives of so many and harming the economy to such an extent, I was genuinely surprised to hear of the funding gap that exists in mental health research. Compared to other diseases that place a similar burden on society, publicly funded research into mental health is disproportionately low. Cancer research provides some of the strongest evidence of this effect, receiving around 20% of total UK research expenditure, almost four times more than the amount invested…
A newly published report by PWC reveals novel collaboration models for improved value of medicines
“Driven by empowered consumers and connected technology, the New Health Economy is shifting business incentives from volume to value with a focus on health outcomes beyond the clinic.”
Big data together with EHR (electronic health records) and wearables drive patient empowerment. Today, more and more, people have their say in treatment choices. Actually, health benefits and prices are crucial criteria for decision, especially as patients face today higher out-of-pocket expenses than ever before. We all well know that expensive treatments are financially disastrous for patients as mentioned in one of my previous posts.
Currently, increased focus is put on drug cost effectiveness as we switch progressively from a fee-for-service to an outcome-based world. Every treatment should be precisely calculated in order to be sure that it is optimized for all stakeholders from all points of view. In this context, already last year, PWC highlighted the beginning of a new system: the New Health Economy, where outcomes and quality are rewarded (instead of volume). It is the continuum of what has been started by Michael E. Porter several years ago.
All these changes have essential meanings. Therefore business models need to adapt to current trends: digital is unavoidable; purchaser perspective is necessary; patients need to become partners; regulatory changes have to be anticipated.
Adapting business models is fantastic but not sufficient. Novel collaborations are needed to optimize them for long-term success. All the stakeholders have to be integrated and blended by the biopharma companies: government agencies, insurers (payers as a whole), new entrants, consumers. Beyond collaborations, a consensus on the value of new medicines should be agreed on. Additionally, consumer and patient health information should be leveraged to improved personalization and precision of treatments.
In one word, several changes will flow the industry and challenges will pave the way to success. But it will become much more exciting to develop drugs in this context than ever before!