PHARMACY

New York Pharma Forum explores ‘The Reinvention of Pharma’

BY David Salazar

NEW YORK — At the New York Pharma Forum’s 26th General Assembly, held Dec. 7 4 at the historic New York Athletic Club, global pharmaceutical leaders came together to share their views on and participate in a panel discussion about “The Reinvention of Pharma. 
 
The panel was preceded by individual presentations by each of the participants — Akihiko Matsubara, managing director of the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association; Laurie Olson, Pfizer’s EVP strategy, portfolio and commercial operations; and Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A president Ramona Sequeira — as well as the facilitator, Ed Saltzman, president and founder of Defined Health. 
 
“We reinvent pharma every few years, we’re always reinventing pharma, but you don’t see the drastic changes on a daily basis,” Saltzman said. “This is why it’s a great value to step back and realize that we do in fact live in a changing time with serious challenges to our current business model.”
 
Saltzman’s presentation focused on the innovation that has driven the growth of the industry this year while noting that the industry’s model is changing, with drugs meant to treat heterogeneous populations and chronic illnesses being overtaken — at least in terms of R&D — by high-priced drugs for small patient populations. He also noted that this focus has a tendency to overlook mental, neurological and musculoskeletal disorders that have the largest economic impact. 
 
Offering a global outlook, Matsubara discussed JPMA’s efforts to support globalization with a focus on emerging market, and the Japanese government’s support of biopharmaceutical innovation, establishing the Agency for Medical Research and Development. AMED will provide assistance for research and accelerated development, and support networks that will help bring innovative drugs to patients. Additionally, he discussed the trust that Japanese consumers have in the pharmaceutical industry. 
 
“While the reputation of the biopharmaceutical industry is low in many countries, this is not the case in Japan, where 84 percent of respondents to a JPMA survey expressed feelings of trust towards the industry,” he said. 
 
Sequeira’s presentation focused on the need to adapt to a changing market, noting that Takeda has been working to develop innovative therapies while fostering strategic partnerships and assistance programs to increase patient access. The most important things to keep in mind, she said, are the changing care models, cost containment and rapid technology uptake. 
 
 “The increase in negotiating power of the payers is affecting our business and our companies and means we need to partner with them in a more tailored way to ensure patients get access to our innovation,” she said.
Olson rounded out the panel with a presentation on the demographic, social, technological, political, economic and scientific factors that are shaping the industry, and the role that consumerism is playing in how companies approach patients. 
 
“There is a growing sense of empowerment among our patient population,” she said. “Patients around the world are taking a more proactive role in their own healthcare.”
 
Olson also noted the new role that technology companies are playing in the development of healthcare technology, and the potential transformations collaborations with these companies, academia and public organizations could bring to the industry. 
 
The organization’s annual meeting, at which Thomas Heffner, preceded the panel, Pfizer’s executive director of global business development was re-elected president. Sunovion Pharmaceuticals’ head of global development administration was elected vice president, Kyorin USA president Yasuhiko Sakoe was elected secretary and Merck’s executive director of strategic alliances, Kenji Kaneko, was named treasurer. 
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FDA approves Alecensa oral therapy

BY David Salazar

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced the approval of Genentech’s new oral therapy Alecensa (alectinib). The drug is indicated to treat metastasized ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer in patients who could not tolerate Xalkori (criznotinib) or whose illness worsened after that treatment. 
 
The drug blocks ALK protein activity in an effort to prevent the spread of cancer cells. About 5% of patients with NSCLC develop ALK gene mutations, which make it possible for the cancer to spread to a patient’s brain. 
 
“Today’s approval provides a new therapy for a group of patients who would have few treatment options once their disease no longer responds to treatment with Xalkori,” said Dr. Richard Pazdur director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “In addition to the primary effect on tumors in the lung, Alecensa clinical trials provide evidence of an effect on tumors that had spread to the brain, which is an important effect for clinicians to understand.” 
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Cardinal Health introduces Generation Rx Medication Disposal Grant Program

BY Michael Johnsen

DUBLIN, Ohio – To help support education and awareness of community drug disposal programs, non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico are invited to apply for grant funding from the Cardinal Health Foundation, the organization announced Friday.
 
"The Generation Rx Medication Disposal Grant Program helps support our communities as they strive to prevent the misuse of prescription medications," stated Betsy Walker, director of community relations at Cardinal Health. "Proper medication disposal is a simple way adults can help keep their families safe, so it is critical for communities to have the support to offer medication disposal options."
 
The grant program is intended to reduce the misuse of prescription medications through properly disposing of expired or unused medications by supporting new or existing initiatives that seek to:
 
  • Increase awareness of the disposal program and increase participation of community members in the program;
  • Increase awareness of how to prevent prescription medication misuse, and the importance of disposing of unused/expired medications in preventing misuse; and
  • Involve both youth and pharmacists or student pharmacists in the disposal program.
 
501(c) (3) non-profit organizations wishing to start a disposal program or maintain an existing one are invited to apply for grants ranging from $10,000 – $25,000.
 
Interested applicants can find complete grant program criteria, as well as apply for grant funding on the Generation Rx page. The deadline for applications is Jan. 22, 2016.
 
Cardinal Health Foundation will host two informational webinars, one on Dec. 17 and the other on Dec. 21, to help prospective grantees submit successful proposals and answer any questions. Login credentials for the webinars are posted on the Generation Rx page.
 
 
 
 
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