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.)

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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.

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"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.

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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 

Friday, June 12, 2015

This Week in ePharma: Top 3 Pharma Marketing News

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This week in ePharma: Top 3 Pharma Marketing news. iPhone iOS9 HealthKit contrubites to mHealth trend.
iPhone Will Track Your Sex Life: Is That Helpful? 
As You may have heard, iPhone is coming out with a new version of its iOS - iOS9, and it looks like iOS9 is even more "female-friendly" than ever. Aside from improvements in the front-facing camera, which is great for selfies, iOS9 features HealthKit app which is capable of tracking menstrual periods and sexual activity. Although, the iOS9 HealthKit app is not an innovator in this field, look at Period Tracker for example.

This week in ePharma: Top 3 Pharma marketing news. Walgreens pharmacy makes telehealth push.
Walgreens makes huge telehealth push by providing virtual doctors and making the remote telecommunications between patients and healthcare providers possible. When implemented,  the giant pharmacy chain expects to reduce consumers' spend on health consultations and by that significantly expand its consumer base.  

This week in ePharma: Top 3 Pharma Marketing news. Integrations of mobile health apps are possible through API, and what it means for the pharmaceutical industry and helthcare providers.
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A study on how mobile health apps can connect through API.

Aside from the ambition of making it easier for health providers to track and analyze data that's being registered on wearables and mHealth devices, and be able to predict health services consumers may face in the nearest future, it also raises the questions of security of data and privacy regulations. Read the whole article here

Courtesy of: Mandl et al., Driving Innovation in Health Systems through an Apps-Based Information Economy, Cell Systems.(2015),

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, June 1, 2015

Top 4 IIR Pharma Division’s Favorite Mobile Health Apps

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Health and mobile are the two terms that are closely intertwined this year. The ever - growing number of wearable devices on the market, and startups developing yet even more effective solutions towards health - oriented people, both speak for themselves. 

Health and mobile even have their own term – mHealth, which stands for Mobile Health and represents the health industry practiced on a screen of a mobile device. With that in mind, I decided to investigate our own office - the female team of Pharma Division, IIR USA.

Mobile Health Apps, Weight Watchers
 “Gamification of my own health” – Ali, 
Marketing Manager.

The Big Data and its security are the hottest trending topics in many conversations. Do we have an ownership of our personal information or we have to rely on third-party sources like doctors and hospitals? I have found an answer - the Weight Watchers app. It is very straight forward, and you don’t need to depend on your physician, dietologist or your gym trainer to suggest you to lean heavily on this or that - you have an app for this! It is gamification of my own health. I track my own success and missteps and create and adjust my diet accordingly.

Mobile Health Apps, FitBit

“Tracking my every step” - Amanda,
Senior Marketing Manager.

I work a lot and I would like to know that every step when I’m not snuggled up in my office chair, is being tracked and put to a good use a.k.a. calories are burning.

Mobile Health Apps, Period Tracker

“Just what the doctor ordered” - Ksenia, 
Digital Marketing Assistant.

My GY doctor and her fellow - coworker shouted out the name of this app within the first few minutes of my appointment.

Based on your personal information that you load into the app you can make predictions from the first day of your period to what kind of food cravings you will have in exactly eight days (if you are consistent with updating your personal diary of symptoms, mood and intimacy on a regular basis.)


Mobile Health Apps, ZocDoc 

“Finding a doctor in my neighborhood” – Amanda, 
Social Media Strategist

When I moved to NYC two years ago, I had no idea where to begin in my search for a local doctor and a dentist. Fortunately, a friend told me about ZocDoc and it was a saving grace when I came down with a bad throat infection my first winter here. I was able to easily make an appointment on my smartphone without getting out of bed. It even matched my insurance with doctors that were compatible. As a young person living in NYC who’s always on the go, ZocDoc saves me time and money on healthcare.


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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