96% say only the attending physician should be making clinical decisions regarding the patient

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: When physicians prescribe a particular medication, they evaluate which drug is likely to work best for the individual patient — based on their knowledge of the patient’s illness and treatment history, other medical conditions, drug-to-drug interactions, and drug-disease interactions. Only the prescribing physician has enough clinical … Continue reading

Not all patient stories make good adherence stories

There are legions of patient stories out there — just take a look at the many chatlines, blogs, tweets and facebook posts by patients. Some complain about their treatment, some worry about their disease, some feel better, some don’t like their doctor … While these patient dialogues and interactions may help, they may also not … Continue reading

Can a Patient Adherence Program be Self-Funded?

According to the report “Ensuring Profitable Patient Adherence Programs: Using Analytics and Metrics to Improve the Bottom Line”, pharmaceutical companies spend nearly 97% of their marketing budget to capture initial market share.  This means that 3% of their marketing budget is devoted to on-going efforts, like patient adherence. As the report’s author, Dr Andree Bates, … Continue reading

More than 3/4 believe that drug switching is occurring without physician consent

I recently conducted a survey on drug switching, which occurs when a patient from the drug originally prescribed by his or her physician is switched to an entirely different chemical entity. Drug switching (aka therapeutic substitution) is not the switching of a branded drug for its generic equivalent. Rather, it occurs when your pharmacist, health plan or … Continue reading

Can communities promote better healthcare outcomes?

A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “Effectiveness of a Barber-Based Intervention for Improving Hypertension Control in Black Men” is a great example of the power of communities to promote better healthcare outcomes. In this study, the researchers led by Dr. Ronald G. Victor (Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Los Angeles) and Dr. Robert Haley (University of … Continue reading

Reminders for patients to take their medications are not enough

The most common opinion of patients who don’t take their medications is they’re forgetful and need reminders. This may be true of some people, but many choose not to take their medication. In a very illuminating study recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “Effects of Benefits and Harms on Older Persons’ Willingness to … Continue reading

Telling patients to get better is easier than listening to what they think

The current (and sadly most used) approach to communications is to push information at us — e.g., TV advertising, PR campaigns, and pharmacy refill reminders. It reminds me of the cartoon (below), which unfortunately epitomizes this approach (my apologies to the cartoonist, as I don’t know where I got it). You can easily imagine the … Continue reading

Report confirms patients helping patients helps

A recent report by Pew Internet and American Life Project found that the internet gives patients and caregivers access not only to information, but also to each other. In particular, 20% adults say they turned to others who have the same health condition. As Susannah Fox, author of the report explains: The internet enables people to help people … Continue reading

Pharmaceutical company promotions to nurses raise concerns

The American Journal of Managed Care recently published the results of an interesting survey of nurse practitioners’ (NPs) interactions with pharmaceutical industry promotional activities — “Under the Radar”: Nurse Practitioner Prescribers and Pharmaceutical Industry Promotions As the researchers point out, NPs have been operating “under the radar”. NPs are generally allowed to prescribe medications (for a state-by-state comparison and references, … Continue reading

When is off-label marketing ok?

Is it ok to market a drug off-label? The answer is NO and YES. NO — For a pharmaceutical, the answer is a definite no. For example, Elan Pharmaceuticals recently pleaded guilty to off-label marketing of its epilepsy drug Zonegran, and was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $97 million and forfeit $3.6 million in substituted … Continue reading