January 21, 2020

Today's Top News

FDA’s OPDP To Examine How Proprietary Drug Names Affect Perceptions

Regulatory Focus (1/17, Brennan) reported the FDA Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) “is planning a study to investigate how proprietary drug names affect consumers’ and/or healthcare providers’ perceptions and whether they might overstate the efficacy of a drug.” The FDA said the “misbranding review” will focus on “identifying names that overstate the efficacy or safety of the drug, expand drug indications, suggest superiority without substantiation, or are of a fanciful nature that misleadingly implies unique effectiveness or composition,” adding, “while there are several ways proprietary names can be misleading, this research will primarily focus on overstatement of the efficacy of the drug product.” The proposed study will test reactions of “approximately 500 consumers from the general population and 500 health care providers (including physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants).”

Exec Posts Advice On Selling Pharma Marketing Strategy To Management

Lori Goldberg, founder and CEO of the healthcare and pharma agency Silverlight Digital, posts at eConsultancy (UK) (1/20) under the headline “How To Sell Your Pharma Marketing Strategy To Management.” Her post is for “the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device marketer” and focuses “on how to sell your marketing strategies to upper management by reducing risk, supporting ideas with data, benchmarking success, and having a strong plan B.”

Consultant Says Better Pharma Websites May Help More Than DTC TV Ad Spend

Consultant Richard Meyer writes at his World of DTC Marketing (1/20) blog about the future of direct-to-consumer TV advertising for pharma companies. Meyer writes that the ad spend on DTC “is flat and probably will be declining in 2020,” and he adds that “TV ads, in general, are ineffective in driving demand for products.” Meyer explores what he believes are better opportunities, including better pharma product websites. He writes, “Pharma product websites are designed to do one thing: sell, and that’s costing them business. Consumers today don’t want to be sold,” and instead “want good, clear, concise health information with links...so they can spend less time researching health conditions.”

Pharma & Healthcare

Civica Rx In Development Deal With Thermo Fisher For Nine “Critical” Drugs

FiercePharma (1/20, Palmer) reports Civica Rx “has struck a deal for a CDMO to help it develop its own brand of drugs for which it will own the drug applications.” The group announced a seven-year deal with Thermo Fisher Scientific “to help it develop nine ‘critical medications’ for which Civica Rx will own the abbreviated new drug applications.” The nine “were selected because they have been in short supply or might end up in short supply because there are not enough companies still producing them.”

Big Tech Companies Gain Access To Patient Data From Hospitals

The Wall Street Journal (1/20, Evans, Subscription Publication) reports that Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon have been given the ability to access patient data by hospitals, in what is said to be the latest example of the increasing influence of hospitals in the data economy. The Journal details these agreements and their scope.

        Search Marketing Daily (1/20, Sullivan) also reports, noting that “data has become the gold key to services and some hospitals are granting big tech access to train their algorithms in hopes of finding cures for cancer and other major diseases.” The hospitals are granting access to “identifiable patient information” in separate deals with “Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Google.”

Purdue University Team Creates Edible Security Tags For Capsules, Tablets

Engineering360 (1/17, Donlon) reports that a Purdue University research team has come up with “an edible security tag” for prescription drug tablets and capsules that are designed to protect them “from counterfeiting.” The report explains the science behind the physical unclonable functions (PUFs) and says they “could potentially protect prescription medications where packaging and other branding efforts such as manufacturing pills and tablets in distinctive colors, shapes and sizes have failed.” Their work is described in a report in the journal Nature Communications (1/16, Leem).

Walgreens Focusing On “Mass Personalization, Pharmacy Prescription Journey”

RIS News Magazine (1/17, Grill-Goodman) reported Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) is “prioritizing investments in mass personalization and reinventing the pharmacy prescription journey in order to further its digital transformation, to the tune of $500 million of capital expenditures behind digital and development this year.” The initiative targets “a better connection with the consumer, while its prescription journey work will connect the consumer much more closely with the prescription.” The initiative also aims “to boost the connectivity to patients and consumers.”

Amazon Files For Pharmacy Trademark In Canada

MobileSyrup (CAN) (1/20, Lamont) reports that “Amazon has filed a trademark in Canada for ‘Amazon Pharmacy,’” according to filing data from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. The company’s application, filed on January 9, “is listed at ‘pre-formalized.’” The application indicates that Amazon Pharmacy “could offer...pharmaceuticals, pill dispensers for domestic use, supplements” and services such as “advertising, insurance, transport and storage of goods, research and medical services.”

Fitbit Releases New Blood Oxygen Monitoring Features, Targets Sleep Apnea

FierceHealthcare (1/17, Landi) reported Fitbit unveiled new features for its smartwatches for blood oxygen monitoring. Spokesperson MaryEllen Green told FierceHealthcare that the company is in ongoing discussions with the FDA regarding a possible submission for a sleep apnea indication, and that the company “continues to collect clinical data to test and develop FDA cleared features for sleep apnea.”

Novo’s Ozempic Picks Up Clearance For Reducing Cardiovascular Event Risk

Endpoints News (1/17, Grover) reported that Novo Nordisk’s GLP-1 blockbuster Ozempic (semaglutide) “has secured an even more formidable label. Apart from its ability to stimulate insulin production in patients with diabetes, the FDA has now also endorsed its ability to reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events.”

        Among additional outlets reporting were FiercePharma (1/17, Blankenship) and Pharmaphorum (UK) (1/17, Staines).

Media, Marketing & Communications

Exec Says Google’s Higher Standard For Medical Websites Affecting Rankings

Naren Arulrajah, President and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, posts at MD Magazine (1/20) about “Why Medical Websites Are Losing Search Rankings & What Can Be Done.” Arulrajah says medical websites have been hit “hard” by changes in Google’s search methodology, and understanding how Google views such websites – as “part of a special classification, known as YMYL (Your Money, Your Life)” – could help with a response. The piece is geared largely to physicians and advises, “You also need to convince Google of your – and your website’s – expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.”

Employees Of Big Brands Are Making Viral TikTok Videos On Their Own

Vox (1/20, Jhaveri) reports that “passionate employees” of companies such as Starbucks, Sephora, and Chipotle are making TikTok videos in the wild that are viewed by millions for “the kind of exposure marketers dream of,” but the phenomenon offers companies risks as well as rewards. The videos aren’t part of any formal corporate communications program, so companies face “raw exposure to brand values” from employees that “they can relate to (and order from),” with “sophisticated agency work or corporate savvy...not required or rewarded, even from global brands.”

        For the corporate uninitiated, The Drum (UK) (1/20) posts an explainer on TikTok for brands by MJ Widomska, founder and creative director of the agency Yrs Truly, a member of The Drum Network.

Clorox Creates Influencer Advisory Board For “More Authentic” YouTube Content

Digiday (1/20, Monllos) reports the Clorox brand is creating an influencer advisory council to help build content for YouTube that is “more human, more authentic and less obvious in our approach towards driving demand,” according to Magnus Jonsson, US VP of the Clorox cleaning division. Jonsson said, “With millennial consumers we’re recognizing that they fundamentally do not want to be advertised to, which means we need to develop less obvious advertising.” For example, some YouTubers are competing “to win a ‘one-wipe challenge’ (likely inspired by the popularity of TikTok challenges) to see who can clean the most space with one Clorox wipe.”

Instagram Chief Thinks Removing “Likes” Will Diminish Harm On Platform

The New York Times (1/17, Chozick) examines the work of Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, who “wants to keep the platform a safe, special space” and is deciding the fate of “likes.” Mosseri arrived at Instagram “after years overseeing the Facebook News Feed, an unwitting engine of fake news, inflammatory rhetoric and disinformation,” and sees the test of removing likes – called Project Daisy – “as a signal to the world that he has learned from Facebook’s mistakes and is thinking about the larger, potentially corrosive impact of social media.”

Publicis Health Announces Leadership Changes

MediaPost (1/20, Faw) reports in its “People on the Move” column that Publicis Health has named Jennifer Shirley president Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, succeeding JD Cassidy, who “has assumed the role of EVP, client engagement strategy for Publicis Health.”

Coverage Continues Of Google’s Decision To Deprecate Third-Party Cookies

Google’s decision to deprecate third-party cookies within two years continues to receive heavy coverage. Digiday (1/17, Joseph) posts an explainer of the related Google Privacy Sandbox, which will represent “an alternative pathway that Google is providing for the ad industry to take, relying on anonymized signals (that are not cookies) within a person’s Chrome browser to profit from that user’s browsing habits.”

        More coverage on Google’s decision is provided by Ad Exchanger (1/17, Weissbrot), which posts under the headline “4 Ways The Death Of The Cookie In Chrome Could Affect Marketers”; Adweek (1/17, Shields), which posts “Google Kills The Cookie, Leaving Digital Media Companies Craving A New Way Forward”; and Ad Age (1/17), which posts “What Digital Publishers Need To Know About Cookie Blocking.”

Policy & Regulation

Judge Cuts J&J Antipsychotic Drug Damages Verdict From $8B To $6.8M

The New York Times (1/17, Thomas) reported that on Friday, a Philadelphia judge “slashed an $8 billion jury verdict in a lawsuit over the marketing of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, reducing the punitive damages to $6.8 million.”

        Reuters (1/17, Stempel) reported that “Judge Kenneth Powell of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas reduced the payout that a jury awarded Oct. 8 to the plaintiff Nicholas Murray, a Maryland resident,” and “no reason was given for the reduction.”

Friday's Top Stories

 • Tech Companies Are Using Nurses To Assist With Developing Products, Partnerships
 • “TikDocs” Find Fun Ways To Get Through To Teens About Health
 • Google’s Cookie Decision Produces Winners, Losers...And Then There’s Google
 • FDA Committee Rejects New Opioid Drug

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