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

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