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Bayer gastrointestinal cancer drug extends progression-free survival in trial

BY Alaric DeArment

WAYNE, N.J. — An experimental drug made by Bayer HealthCare extended the length of time that patients with gastrointestinal tumors survived without their disease getting worse, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial released Monday.

Bayer announced the release of data from the phase-3 "GRID" trial of regorafenib in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors, also known as GIST, whose tumors could not be removed through surgery or whose disease had spread to other parts of the body despite prior treatment with Novartis’ Gleevec (imatinib). The trial compared the ability of regorafenib to extend progression-free survival of patients with that of placebo.

According to the results, which the study’s investigators plan to present at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 48th annual meeting in Chicago, patients taking the drug experienced progressive-free survival of nearly five months, compared with just under a month among those taking placebo.


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Packaged Facts: U.S. chocolate sales reached nearly $20 billion last year

BY Allison Cerra

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The U.S. chocolate market continues to grow, according to a new Packaged Facts report.

Calling the market "mature, differentiated and demanding," Packaged Facts said it has projected that the U.S. market for chocolate sold at retail was $19.5 billion in 2011, up 6.6% over the previous year. The research firm said everyday chocolate, seasonal candies and premium chocolate all posted dollar gains for the market, though the sales also were driven in part by price increases implemented to offset rises in raw material and other costs. The main channel for chocolate sales continue to be supermarkets and convenience stores, but natural food stores also have seen gains, particularly in the organic chocolate category.

For the full report, "Chocolate Candy in the U.S.," click here.

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Survey: Hassle-free returns, speedy delivery and tracking capabilities important to online shoppers

BY Marianne Wilson

RESTON, Va. — Sixty-three percent of online shoppers look at a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase, and nearly half said that they would shop more often and recommend a retailer with a lenient returns policy, according to a new study by ComScore. The report, commissioned by UPS, evaluates consumer shopping habits from pre-purchase to post-delivery. It is based on a ComScore survey of more than 3,100 U.S. online shoppers.

The report, the "Online Shopping Customer Experience Study," reveals that hassle-free returns and exchanges rank above average in terms of importance for shoppers but rank low in terms of current customer satisfaction, showing a significant area of opportunity for retailers.

"While free shipping has tended to dominate the discussion regarding what provides satisfaction to online shoppers, the study shows there are several other factors critical to a positive online shopping experience," ComScore director Susan Kleinman said. “Retailers need a holistic understanding of these drivers if they hope to stimulate sales while maintaining healthy margins in this competitive retail environment."

Consumers currently are most satisfied with the ease of checking out, the variety of brands and products available and online delivery tracking ability. They are least satisfied with the current level of flexibility in choosing delivery dates.

At least 42% of online shoppers reported abandoning their shopping carts because of delivery timing estimates, according to the study. While two-thirds of shoppers choose the most inexpensive shipping option, more than 40% expect to see the availability of two-three day delivery and nearly one-third of shoppers wanted the option to choose overnight shipping.

The need for speed is also important, with 48% of online shoppers not willing to wait more than five days for packages to be delivered. One-third of shoppers said they most often choose to pay a fee for faster delivery.

Online shoppers also said they valued having tracking capabilities to know when their packages would arrive; 46% said receiving their orders when expected would lead them to recommend an online retailer. The ability to reroute a package and schedule a two-hour delivery window is also important for shoppers in the delivery process.

To download a copy of the report, click here.

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