PHARMACY

PricewaterhouseCoopers projects expansion of retail clinics, offerings

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Traditional care delivery models will continue to give way to alternative care delivery models, such as retail-based health clinics and work-site clinics, as the healthcare system continues to battle rising costs and capacity, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ list of health industry issues for 2010.

Each year, PwC’s Health Research Institute publishes its top issues across all health industry sectors. The report includes trends impacting insurers, hospitals, physicians and other providers, pharmaceutical and life sciences, as well as the growing number of non-traditional market participants in the healthcare space. Among PwC’s 2010 top 10 issues:

  • “Alternative care delivery models to emerge: As the health system continues to struggle with costs and capacity, traditional care delivery models will give way to alternative models of care outside of physicians’ offices and hospitals. Expect to see an increase in the number of and scope of services offered by work-site and retail health clinics and home health services as well as other technology-enabled delivery such as email, telehealth and remote patient monitoring.”
  • “Big pharma joins the healthcare delivery team: The role of pharmaceutical and life sciences companies will evolve from manufacturer/supplier to full partner on the healthcare delivery team as its focus shifts from lab-based outcomes to promoting prevention and patient outcomes. In 2010, expect to see greater alignment of incentives between pharmaceutical companies, payers and providers. There will be an increase in collaborations among pharmaceutical and life sciences companies with one another as well as retailers and other organizations to address education, clinical effectiveness, product safety, wellness and compliance.”
  • “Technology and telecommunications sectors become leading players in healthcare: Beginning in 2010, the convergence of healthcare with technology and telecommunications companies, as well as other new market participants, will change the regulatory rules, the basis for competition and the way health services are delivered.”

To view a full copy of PwC’s Health Research Institute’s “Top 10 Health Industry Issues in 2010,” including implications for healthcare organizations, visit www.pwc.com/us/top10 http://www.pwc.com/us/top10.

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Biovail, Alexza develop inhaled mental health treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. An inhaled mental health drug could appear on the market in the near future under a collaboration announced Wednesday by Biovail Corp. and Alexza Pharmaceuticals.

Biovail subsidiary Biovail Labs International SRL and Alexza said they would work together to develop and commercialize AZ-004 (loxapine) in the United States and Canada. The drug is based on Alexza’s proprietary Staccato technology and is an inhaled drug designed to treat agitation in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Alexza submitted an approval application for the drug to the Food and Drug Administration in December 2009.

Under the terms of the deal, Biovail will pay Alexza $40 million upfront and up to $90 million in milestone payments, if the drug is approved, as well as royalty payments of 10% to 25%.

“We are very excited to be partnering our lead program with Biovail,” Alexza president and CEO Thomas King said in a statement. “Their key strategic focus and their [central nervous system] commercial plans match our view of an ideal partner for AZ-004. We believe that AZ-004, if approved, has the potential to change the treatment practices for acute agitation, as the only product able to meet both the patients’ desire for quickly and comfortably gaining control of their agitation and the clinicians’ goal of rapidly and reliably calming an agitated patient.”

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Novartis to develop, market hepatitis C drug

BY Alaric DeArment

BASEL, Switzerland Novartis has gained exclusive rights to develop and market a hepatitis C drug that is the first of its kind, the Swiss drug maker announced Tuesday.

Novartis acquired control of Debio 025 (alisporivir) from Debiopharm Group. The drug is the first of a drug class known as cyclophilin inhibitors, which target host proteins involved in the growth of the virus. The drug is currently in phase 2b clinical trials.

Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will pay unspecified upfront and milestone payments to Debiopharm, as well as royalties on sales, in exchange for the exclusive right to develop and market the drug worldwide, except in Japan.

“Hepatitis C is sometimes referred to as a ‘silent epidemic’ because the virus can lie dormant in the body for years or even decades before the symptoms become apparent,” Novartis Pharmaceuticals Division CEO David Epstein said. “Novartis is dedicated to developing medicines that will reduce the impact of this disease on patients, and we believe that Debio 025 could prove an important step forward by significantly enhancing the efficacy of existing therapy that forms the standard of care for hepatitis C.”

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