KeyVive seeks to improve medication adherence with SMS system
PARK CITY, Utah A healthcare technology company that uses social media and self-management tools to help people with chronic illnesses is launching a mobile health technology designed to improve adherence.
KeyVive said that its Simplatype mHealth technology, a new SMS system, utilizes proprietary technology with existing cell phone carriers to provide an effective way for practitioners and patients to communicate, store conversations and integrate with electronic records, the company said.
“Our company’s mission is to provide the best healthcare opportunities to professionals in the industry, allowing people to succeed in managing their disease, saving time and money,” said David Greenholtz, president and co-founder of KeyVive. “Pilot groups are currently being implemented, and we are very excited to see how individuals will use their phones to improve their outcomes.”
For more information, visit KeyVive.com.
Now available at Rite Aid: Pertussis immunizations
CAMP HILL, Pa. One week after Walgreens announced that it was offering pertussis immunizations at its California locations, Rite Aid has followed suit.
Rite Aid said Monday that pharmacists at more than 500 Rite Aid stores across the state will offer pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccinations to individuals ages 7 years and older. The disease already has claimed the lives of nine infants in the state and is on pace to become the worst epidemic the state has seen in 50 years.
Patients in California and across the nation can go online to RiteAid.com/pharmacy/immunization/ to locate the most convenient Rite Aid pharmacy where immunizations are available. Patients are urged to call first to check availability and for questions on health insurance, which may cover some of the cost of a vaccination. Walk-ins are accepted whenever possible.
Rite Aid has been offering Tdap, the whooping cough vaccination, for the past several years, and currently is available in more than half of the states where Rite Aid operates, a Rite Aid spokesperson said.
"Helping protect against whooping cough in California is just another example of how convenient neighborhood Rite Aid pharmacists can help the community stay healthy," said Robert Thompson, Rite Aid EVP pharmacy. "Administering these shots is part of Rite Aid’s expanded national immunization program, with more than 7,000 pharmacists in more than 3,000 stores vaccinating patients against flu, pneumonia and up to a dozen other highly infectious diseases."
Walgreens announced earlier this month that it was offering vaccinations for pertussis at 150 select stores in the state.
NACDS conference discusses patent cliff, future of generics
Like a freighter in the Atlantic Ocean during hurricane season, anyone with a stake in the generic drug industry will encounter smooth and bumpy sailing alike over the next few years, according to a recent presentation by an industry expert.
IMS Health VP industry relations Doug Long appeared at the end of August at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ Pharmacy and Technology Conference in San Diego to talk about the current state of the drug industry and what the near future holds. Over the next decade, according to his remarks, the U.S. drug market will present opportunities as well as uncertainties.
For the generics industry, the so-called “patent cliff” is of particular concern. For the last several years, generics companies have profited handsomely from a steady supply of generic drugs losing patent protection and thus becoming open to generic competition. Under the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, the first company to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a generic version of a drug gets to compete directly with the branded version for six months, which has allowed many generics companies to grow into giants, especially Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which ranks as one of the largest drug makers in the world.
But that will all slow down pretty soon. A slideshow shown during Long’s presentation listed 20 drugs that will lose patent protection between 2010 and 2014, whose sales by the time of their patents’ expirations will total $107 billion; IMS estimated the expirations will dampen sales by $79 billion. These include Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium), currently the world’s top-selling drug, which will lose protection next year and face generic competition from Indian drug maker Ranbaxy Labs, and Purdue Pharma’s opioid painkiller OxyContin (oxycodone hydrochloride), which will lose patent protection in 2013. Eight of the drugs listed ranked on IMS’ list of the top 10 in terms of sales, while Teva will itself lose protection for one of its own branded drugs, the injectable multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone (glatiramer acetate), in 2014. “So you have this patent cliff, which means there are going to be plenty of generic opportunities between now and 2014,” Long said.
Sales growth for the top 10 generics companies
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However, 2015 is the worrisome year, the year of the patent cliff, when the number of big-name drugs losing patent protection will suddenly drop. That, Long said, could affect not just generic drug companies, but also retailers and other businesses that benefit from generics. In other words, the party won’t be over, but it’ll reach the point when a few guests remain, even though the VIP guests have left and refreshments have dwindled to flat soda and potato chips.
Despite the patent cliff, use of generics has been strong and will likely continue to remain so, and Long said that coinciding with the economic crisis, a growing trend had emerged of patients starting or continuing therapies with generics rather than branded drugs. In 2005, generics accounted for 57.7% of total prescriptions dispensed, according to IMS. By July 2010, that number came close to 75%, even as generics’ market share in terms of percentage of dollars fell from 85.4% to 80.7% during the same period. Sales for the top 10 generic drug companies have grown by 15.1% in the 12-month period ended in June, with Teva and Mylan accounting for 34.4% of generic prescriptions and Teva ranking as the eighth largest drug maker overall in terms of sales.
Among generic companies, Teva had $7.4 billion in generics sales during the 12 months ended in June as sales grew by 1.1%, and the company had a 21.3% market share. Mylan accounted for $3.6 billion in sales, while sales grew by 6.3% and the company commanded a market share of 10.3%. Other companies have grown considerably while commanding a relatively small market share. Global Pharmaceuticals, despite having 2.6% of the market and $899 million in sales, grew by nearly 277%. The U.S. subsidiary of Iceland’s Actavis had $873 million in sales and 2.5% of the market, though its sales grew by almost 75%. Only four of the companies in IMS’ top-20 list—Covidien, Dr. Reddy’s Labs, Apotex and Baxter Healthcare—had declines in sales.
On the branded side, according to the FDA and IMS, the FDA has approved fewer primary care drugs and more specialty drugs—drugs typically prescribed by specialist physicians—every year between 1998 and 2009, except for 2002. Long noted that development seemed skewed toward specialty drugs and orphan drugs, drugs used to treat rare and dangerous diseases and conditions.
Many top-selling branded drugs continue to have strong sales growth. Aside from Lipitor, which had a sales decline by 4.3%, all of the drugs that IMS listed as the top 20 in terms of sales grew during the 12 months ended in June, and sometimes quite strongly. AstraZeneca’s cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor (rosuvastatin calcium) had $3.5 billion in sales, growing by 34.7%, while the antipsychotic and antidepressant Abilify (aripiprazole), made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, had $4.3 billion in sales, growing by 22.3%. Purdue’s OxyContin had sales of $3.1 billion, growing by 18.6%.