Friday, July 31, 2015

This week in ePharma: Self-diagnosis with Wize Mirror and more!

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The digital revolution is spreading across the pharma and medical industries faster and faster, cutting down the costs of services and the wait time along the way.

Another bright star on the digital health horizon is Opternative, the company that just launched a $40 online eye exam that everyone can take at home has he/she got a computer, smartphone and Wi-Fi.
As stated by TechCrunch, Opternative today is the only approved online eye exam that if done successfully will issue eye glasses prescription that can be used as online as in your local eye glasses store. The downside is, Opternative cannot diagnose eye diseases, so it is highly recommended to still check with an eye doctor once in a while as a preventative measure.

More and more health devices enter our and become an essential part of lives. Here is another promising gadget that is aiming at diagnosing medical conditions by "scanning" a person's face in the mirror. The idea behind SEMEOTICONS a.k.a. Wize Mirror is to integrate a multi-sensory system into a hardware platform
that looks like a mirror. This hardware will be able to read individual faces, monitor changes in their statuses and provide tailored suggestions about nutrition, physical activity, and more thus creating a platform for self-monitoring.

The smart technology market has expanded dramatically in the last five years coming up with many from business to fitness and health - oriented devices. A South Korean startup Dot has decided to face the fact that there's a large market of visually impaired people, who have the same demands for health wearables but don't have an equal supply. The problem that Dot stated they are trying to solve is out of 285 million visually impaired people, 95% cannot read. The prices for e-braille readers are very appalling and count in thousands of dollars still, therefore most of that 95% stay illiterate. With that in mind, Dot has launched an affordable E-braille smartwatch for visually impaired people. Tech in Asia reports that Dot smartwatch (currently available in Asia only) will go on sale in the United States in December at a retail price of approximately US$300.

A new development in treating obesity: the FDA has just approved a new medical device for a non-surgical obesity treatment - Reshape. Reshape integrates a dual balloon technology, which when inserted orally into a patient's stomach creates a feeling of being full and thus significantly shrinks the portions of food consumed. Combined with special diet and exercises Reshape is said to have natural, promising lasting results. The med device official website also claims, that during the recent studies patients lost more than two times more weight with ReShape than with diet and exercise alone. Plus, they were able to keep most of the lost weight off even after the device has been removed six months later.

Stay tuned for our weekly news round up! 

Subscribe to our Blog or follow us on Twitter: @epharma


About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tap Into Insiders' Top Secrets to Success at PharmaNEXT, Plus Get $500 Off by July 31st

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PharmaNEXT is proud to present Jane McGonigal, PhD, New York Times Bestselling Author and Author of SuperBetter - a revolutionary thinker, who will give you the insights on how to apply her award-winning out-of-the-box thinking to pharma.

Fast Company: "Top 100 Creative People in Business"
Oprah Winfrey for O Magazine: "20 Most Inspiring Women in the World"
MIT Technology Review: "Top 35 innovators changing the world through technology"
Business Week: "Top Ten Innovators to Watch"
Harvard Business Review: "Top 20 Breakthrough Ideas"

Whether you are trying to engage the patient or the physician, learn about both ends of the spectrum. These NEXTTalks feature life science professionals who will show you how to reach your evolving target customer and have your message resonate to achieve your desired outcome.

·         Leveraging our Insights for Better Physician Engagement: Jayne Gretz, Vice President, American Medical Association and Leslie Stokes, Senior Vice President for Physician Engagement, American Medical Association
·         Going from Brand Centric to Patient Centric from R&D to Commercialization: Anne C. Beal, MD, MPH
Chief Patient Officer, Center of Excellence for Patient Centricity, Sanofi 

Download complete agenda for details:

Join the participating companies including: Sanofi, Bayer, Astellas, Merck & Co., Inc, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Mylan, Biogen, Daiichi-Sankyo, AstraZeneca and many more for next generation strategies and solutions that await you at PharmaNEXT - the latest educational and networking experience focused on elevating your pharma commercial strategy to the next level.

Register by July 31st with code 00GKMH7ZD and save $400 off the standard rates. Plus use code XP2040blog and get an additional $100 off – that’s a $500 discount. Register here:

The Pharma Next 2015 Team

Friday, July 24, 2015

This week in ePharma: Diclegis partners with Kim Kardashian and more

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The summer is at its full speed, and we are ready to present you with yet another portion of ePharma news of this week!

Would you trust a purple pill against headache? Could a green pill create more trust in you? With this concept in mind researchers decided to find out whether color and shape of pills affected the perception of effectiveness of the drug and people's expectations. As was reported in The Wall Street Journal, the participants of this online study judged pills of three different colors and in seven different shapes. As the result, the white pills were rated as the most affective, and the light green pills caused the participants to become skeptical in terms of its effectiveness in treating headache.

Celebrity buzz: Kim Kardashian is now endorsing Diclegis, also known as a morning sickness drug. Duchesnay USA, the drug maker, and the reality TV star have partnered together to help raise awareness around morning sickness symptom relief that K. Kardashian has allegedly suffered from during both of her pregnancies (until she tried Diclesis.) It's important to point out, that Diclegis is currently the only medication for treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that's been approved by FDA.

Researchers from Partners Connected Health, the Department of Pulmonology, Massachusetts General Hospital, and pediatric asthma group as a team effort have created a password - protected Facebook group to conduct a 12-month-long asthma study among teens 14-17 years old. Along with the tests researchers sent monthly reminders and important information regarding asthma. The study had an unprecedented engagement results of 79% in comparison to an average 18% of engagement. In the society which is driven by user-generated information, scientists find high engagement results hugely important for the future research and drug development purposes.

Allergan, Botox maker, launched a new internet campaign, #ActuallySheCan, targeting millennial women. According to The Guardian, women make up 62% of their market in the US. The premise of this campaign is to start engaging millennial women and build lifetime loyalty toward the Allergan pharma brands and products. ActuallySheCan is also a website that educates women on birth control and serves as a community space gamifying the user experience from "shemojime" option of creating a unique emoji with the user's face to "gimme the deets" - a program that allows to earn virtual coins to donate to a participating women's charity.

Stay tuned for our weekly news round up! 

Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter: @epharma


About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at

Friday, July 17, 2015

This week in ePharma: Feeling ill? Call your doc on Skype or check your symptoms on Figure 1, an Instagram-like app for doctors

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Social media is drastically changing the way we consume and share information. In 2014 alone the use of social media by adults in the U.S. reached 73% (from 42% in the previous year.) And this number is still growing steadily. These days many fields and industries find it important to provide coverage in social media; it didn't escape healthcare and medical fields.

With many visually focused social media platforms on the market there is now the one that is specifically built for doctors. Figure 1 is a mobile app that enables a thought exchange between doctors across the globe in real time. The idea behind the Figure 1 app is similar to Instagram, where people can upload photos and leave comments, the difference is everyone can download the app but not everyone can create content on it. Figure 1 implements an option of account authentication, and only verified medical professionals can share information to enforce its validity and anonymity. Another, characteristic that Figure 1 features, is the ability to locate a medical professional in your area. The app is said to aim for a bigger goal of distributing knowledge across the international medical community.

Most of us know our family history going a few generations back. But do you know your family's history of deceases? is set to provide you with that. It just launched in a beta version. The premise of the website it to employ research and expert knowledge to make predictions and suggest preventative measures for users with family history of disorders. For that, Ancestry Health is partnering with 23andMe to use their database information of opted in and consented users.

"Virtual medicine in every house!" could be a slogan for the next news topic. As healthcare rapidly advancing online, it made it possible for doctors' consultations over the Skype. As it was reported in The New York Times, there are more and more doctors willing jump on a quick Skype call - consultation, and more and more patients leaning toward exactly this type of medical assistance instead of paying a visit to a hospital. The pros of virtual medical assistance are the ability to identify and diagnose minor health issues and get a medical assistance on the spot - a drugs prescription can be sent to your local pharmacy right away. The cons are the debatable accuracy of such diagnostics, and lack of insurance coverage still.

Lastly, good news for health-oriented Samsung users: the phone claims to now allow to track body fat with four sensors installed on the device's case. This technology has just been patented and is not yet available. But as stated in Tech Times, if the technology proves to work it will be the first of the kind, since no phone app yet has claimed to be able to track body fat.

Stay tuned for our weekly news round up! 

Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter: @epharma


About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at

Monday, July 13, 2015

Announcing PharmaNEXT: Achieve Commercial Success in a Customer-Centric World

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PharmaNEXT is where sales and marketing executives looking to reach new customer segments learn from best-in-class practitioners on how to leverage innovation, technology and analytics to create new, effective commercial operating models. 

October 20-22, 2015
Philadelphia, Marriot
Click here to download the agenda:

Experience the intensive boot camp style content, cross-industry visionary keynotes, interactive debates, and a Curated Networking and Exhibit Area at PharmaNEXT. Join commercial sales and marketing strategy executives for this one-of-a-kind experience to:

·         Learn the decision-making processes and value definitions of the new customer groups—including ACOs and IDNs.
·         Establish best practices for integrating sales force initiatives and multichannel campaigns to fully engage HCPs with brands.
·         Benchmark your initiatives against cross-industry case studies
·         Construct effective data-driven marketing platforms to strategically engage customers seamlessly across all touchpoints.
·         Network with like-minded peers facing the same challenges as the marketplace commands a different operating model.

Don't miss this opportunity to take away actionable insights that will immediately impact your business.

Register by July 17 and SAVE up to $500 with code XP2040link! Reserve your seat here:

The ePharma/Pharma Next 2015 Team

Friday, July 10, 2015

This week in ePharma: Consumers Search for Digital Medical Assistance, and How Brands Jump on this Trend

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The  professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School Dr. Ateev Mehrotra conducted a research testing accuracy of self-diagnosed internet users. In the days when everything can be done through the internet from buying food to controlling your kitchen equipment, it is quite expected that users will seek the answers on the raising health concerns they have over the World Wide Web as well. But how accurately can the internet diagnose a user? As it turns out, the results are questionable. Dr. Mehrotra and the team of researchers have tested 23 online symptoms checkers, and only in third of the cases the results were close or correct. However, the researchers agreed in one: in case of extreme illness all symptoms checkers suggested to use the emergency room service.

FDA is coming up with a regulatory framework around digital medicine field. The digital health industry is rapidly growing bringing along yet new medical devices and health mobile apps intended to help preserve our wellness. FDA is catching up with the appropriate guidelines to monitor and regulate software and digital medicine products with healthcare intentions. But there are many challenges that occur along the way such as how to obtain a consent over a mobile device, if this is a health app that's being tested. Or how to effectively keep up with quickly growing number of users of digital medical devices and to monitor their health outcomes. 

There is a new "kid" on the digital block that is catering to people with different forms of visual impairment.
One of the largest pharmaceutical corporations Novartis just joined the health wearables tech game with a product called ViaOpta app. The app is compatible with Apple watch as well as iOS and Android mobile systems. ViaOpta has a built-in camera capable of recognizing common set objects, and the app is a navigation device that can help an impaired person to get get to the point of destination.

As it has already been mentioned, the new trend in internet-friendly households is users tend to address their needs online. It doesn't shy away from getting medical assistance on the internet as well.
As it was reported in the USA Today, there was more than $2 billion dollars invested in digital health startups in 2014. CVS is one of the corporations  closely monitoring the digital health marketplace. Earlier this year CVS Health officially opened a Digital Innovation Lab in Boston focusing on developing digital health devices and personalized services. Some of the lab's work includes an otoscope that turns into a remote diagnostic device capable of taking photos and sending them to a medical professional when attached to a smartphone.

About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at

Stay tuned for our weekly news round up! 

Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter: @epharma

Friday, July 3, 2015

This week in ePharma: 4th July Throwback on the Biggest Pharma Fraud Settlement in the history and more

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It is the holiday week, and we have decided to look back at the recent history of pharma marketing in the U.S. - Did you know that exactly three years ago in the week of July 4th America has witnessed the biggest fraud settlement in the pharmaceutical industry in the history of the country?

GlaxoSmithKline, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies was ordered to pay $3 billion in damages and fines for pushing drugs that haven't been approved by FDA, the practice that's called "off-label marketing." GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) admitted bribing doctors to make them brand advocates and promote, and prescribe GSK products to their patients.

Speaking of off-label marketing, two days ago Annals of Internal Medicine, the premier internal medicine journal established by the American College of Physicians has published an article by the Harvard’s professor (and Chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital) Jerry Avorn concerning off-label marketing practices and calling on FDA' loose standards toward drugmakers. The argument that Dr. Avorn brings up is, should the capitalist society allow the government to play a bigger role in regulating the marketplace, or should the companies have their liberty?

$6.49 billion is how much was spent in total U.S. dollar value toward market research and marketing by drug and medical device manufacturers last year. These stats were published in Open Payments Data on June, 30, by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). To compare to the previous year, this number grew by almost 53% from $3.43 billion. Among other stats realized is 1,444 - the total of companies that proceeded with making payments fulfilling purposes of market research and marketing. 

''How can you learn a language if you don't hear it?" Motion Light Lab might have an answer. The lab's engineers are testing is 3-D technology to improve the sign language learning process for deaf and partially deaf people. The idea of this test is to capture human motions at their natural state and translate it into a 3-D character. There are many aspects of English that are hard to translate into American Sign Language, such as songs. Therefore the scientists from Motion Light Lab hope that the experiments with the 3-D technology will help them to translate sound-based rhythms into a visual element that is easily understood by the hearing-impaired audience.

About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at

Friday, June 26, 2015

This week in ePharma: Grand Prix of Cannes Lions festival goes to the U.S. campaign and more!

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Have you been following Cannes Lions this year? If you don't know what Cannes Lions festival is, it is an annual awards ceremony acknowledging and rewarding advertising and marketing efforts in various categories. The winners in the Health and Pharma categories have been announced!

The top award - the Grand Prix in the Pharma category was given to the U.S. AstraZeneca campaign towards men raising their awareness on triglycerides.

Check it out!

On the other news, Google is working on yet another smart medical device - a wristband that will be capable of tracking body temperature, heart rate and more. The intention here is to be able to monitor patients at all times especially during clinical trials.

FDA has approved large pharma manufacturers of generic pharmaceutical products in Bangladesh to export drugs to the U.S. This is particularly significant because Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited has become the first Bangladeshi pharmaceutical company to be approved by FDA due to strict regulations in the pharma industry in the U.S. 

And to build on the latter, a study shows that emerging markets will account for a third of global pharmaceutical spend by the end of 2016. According to the report by Cambridge Consultants workshop there are two main points that need to be addressed: affordability and accessibility of pharmaceutical products. Researchers suggest that driving innovation in healthcare industry in developing countries will speed up adaptation of new technologies thus contributing to the global growth of the pharma sector.

About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why Your Health Insurance Provider May Offer You a Fitness Wearable

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 If your health insurance provider gave you a fitness tracking device, otherwise known as a “wearable,” would you strap it on knowing your provider collects your fitness data? What if you received an additional incentive for allowing your health, weight, and exercise to be monitored -- would that influence your decision? These are questions you may encounter soon, as providers realize the data collection opportunities that wearables present.

Healthcare Industry May Boost Wearable Adoption

While the use of health and fitness tracking devices has more than doubled in the last two years, according to a nationwide survey conducted by TechnologyAdvice Research, only 25.1 percent of adults actually track their weight, diet, or exercise using a digital fitness tracker or smartphone-based app. Although this is a low number, it highlights the potential the healthcare industry has to boost wearable adoption.

“Healthcare providers and health insurance companies are two of the largest stakeholders in the promotion of fitness tracking devices, and they have an opportunity to greatly influence their use,” said the report’s author, TechnologyAdvice Content Manager Cameron Graham. The study showed that nearly half of those not using wearable health trackers would be more likely to use one if it was provided free by their physician or health insurance company.

Few Barriers

This survey also revealed that there are few real barriers to using health wearables, as almost half of respondents (43.7 percent) did not have a specific reason for not tracking their fitness. “These results suggest that if healthcare providers worked in tandem with health insurance companies, both stakeholders could benefit from the collected population health data. Adoption rates of health wearables could increase if their use was incentivized by the healthcare community,” Graham said.

Incentives for Using Health Wearables

Offering free wearables may not be the only incentive that health insurance companies can use to encourage fitness tracking adoption. According to TechnologyAdvice’s study, 57.1 percent of adults who currently don’t use health wearables said that the possibility of lower health insurance premiums would make them more likely to use such devices. This is an 11 percent jump from respondents who stated that they would use a fitness tracker if it was given to them for free. This increase shows that individuals are more willing to use fitness trackers when presented with monetary incentives from the same company.

As wearables use continues to increase, there are opportunities for health insurance providers and their clients to collaborate in order for both parties to realize the benefits of wearable technology. Such behavior and incentives may help exponentially grow the wearable device market in the near future, especially if they can be incorporated into medical software.

What do you think? If you were given incentives by your health insurance provider -- would you wear a fitness tracker?

About the Author: Jenna Elkins is a media relations coordinator at TechnologyAdvice. She covers marketing automation, gamification, project management, and other emerging technology. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Friday, June 19, 2015

This week in ePharma: Smartphones now test for HIV, detect Flu, and more!

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Shout out to Columbia University and the team of biomedical engineers!

 Did you know that now you can use a smartphone accessory that will test you for HIV and syphilis within 15 minutes? This software apps takes a finger prick of blood and within minutes detects the results. According to the article published on Columbia University website, it has been successfully tested in Rwanda and if mass produced, its manufacturing cost will be around $34, which is significantly lower than the cost of a lab equipment (which is in thousands of dollars.)

Image credit: screenshot
Are you prone to getting seasonal allergies but still desperately trying to avoid it year after year?

This new HEALTHYDAY mobile app by Johnson & Johnson (also in partnership with Tylenol, Zyrtec and others) is taking up the challenge by mapping out potentially "dangerous" neighborhoods with the most concentration of flu, cold, and allergy activity based on search queries made by users on Google, social media mentions, and doctors' alerts, all of whom are location-based. The app's smart algorithm is collecting and combining data and is making predictions towards outbursts of coughs, sneezing or domination of pollen in a neighborhood.

Image courtesy:
"Making healthcare better for everyone through sharing, support, and research" is the slogan for PatientsLikeMe - an online community of like-minded individuals concerned about health and healthcare. Everyone is welcome to share their symptoms and discuss possible treatments with other users. But how exactly PatientsLikeMe is going to make healthcare better for everyone? The answer is - by partnering with FDA! The premise is to monitor and regulate drugs based on users' reports after the drugs have been mass-produced. The idea is to have a better understanding of how medical drugs interact with people on a larger scale than the sample taken for clinical trials.

Image courtesy:
According to AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic marketing report
Hispanic population is underrepresented in terms of advertising efforts by pharmaceutical companies.
As stated by U.S. Census Bureau the Hispanic population in the United States is 54 million, representing approximately 17% of the U.S. total population. It makes it the nation's largest minority segment. However, this factor doesn't convince pharmaceutical companies to invest in advertising towards Hispanics, and the media ad spend toward this demographic target stays way below the national average.

About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at