Medical Communication

Archive for March, 2010

Regulating Prescription Drug Marketing in India

Posted by drneelesh on March 31, 2010


The Medical Council of India (MCI) started 2010 with a long awaited bang.On 1/1/10, MCI put out a statement asking the country’s doctors to stop receiving gifts or favours from any pharmaceutical companies and said they must desist from endorsing products. 

As per the MCI, All medical practitioners shall not receive any gift, national/international travel facility, paid vacations ( for self or family),  from any pharmaceutical or allied healthcare industry and their sales people or representatives.The punishments range from censure (for accepting gifts valued between Rs.1,000 and Rs.5,000) to removal from the Indian or State Medical Registry for more than one year (for accepting gifts worth more than Rs.100,000). 

Now the MCI wants the government to regulate the Pharma companies.

“We have already written to the health ministry seeking equal and stringent regulation for these companies. You cannot expect fair play by punishing one group and sparing the other,” Vedprakash Mishra, an MCI member, said.

Authorities said the health ministry is discussing with all stake-holders and a fair outcome will come out.

Presently, the pharma marketing practices are regulated by a few ancient acts like-
And most importantly, SELF REGULATION.


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Top 20 drugmakers

Posted by drneelesh on March 30, 2010

The following is a list of top 20 pharmaceutical companies, ranked by global prescription 
drug sales for the 12 months through September 2009, according to pharmaceutical 
market research company IMS Health Inc.
- via Reuters 

1 – Pfizer – $41.7 billion – (0.8)
2 – Novartis – $36.7 billion – 7.0
3 – Sanofi-Aventis – $35.1 billion – 3.3
4 – GlaxoSmithKline – $34.3 billion – (3.4)
5 – AstraZeneca – $33.2 billion – 7.8
6 – Roche – $31.3 billion – 8.6
7 – Johnson & Johnson – $26.9 billion – (6.6)
8 – Merck – $25.0 billion – (4.1)
9 – Eli Lilly – $19.6 billion – 8.3
10 – Abbott – $19.4 billion – 5.5
11 – Teva – $15.7 billion – 12.3
12 – Bayer – $15.4 billion – 3.9
13 – Wyeth – $14.8 billion – (2.3)
14 – Amgen – $14.8 billion – (3.1)
15 – Boehringer – $14.6 billion – 10.4
16 – Takeda – $14.4 billion – 2.1
17 – Bristol-Myers – $14.2 billion – 5.8
18 – Schering-Plough – $13.1 billion – 4.3
19 – Daiichi Sankyo – $8.5 billion – 3.1
20 – Novo Nordisk – $8.2 billion 11.6

(Source: IMS Health)

The data does not include the results from mega acquisitions by Pfizer and Merck
as their deals for Wyeth and Schering-Plough were converted in 4th quarter.

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BlackBoard Mobile for Medical elearning

Posted by drneelesh on March 23, 2010

Person with PDA handheld device.

Blackboard Brings Interactive Teaching and Learning to Mobile Devices

Blackboard Mobile Learn Offers Two-Way Mobile Learning Experience
Now how can we use this in Medical education?
Blackboard’s existing Blackboard Mobile Central™ application already delivers a mobile campus experience that includes news, events, maps and sports among a range of student life and service options. Blackboard Mobile Learn will take the next step by bringing the classroom experience and learning content to the mobile environment, arming campuses with a high quality option to quickly meet the growing demand from students who want to do more with their smartphones and other Web-enabled devices.
With Blackboard Mobile Learn, students will be able to check grades and assignments, add comments to discussion boards, email instructors and classmates and post comments on blogs – all from their mobile devices.
Blackboard Mobile Learn will recreate and enrich the course experience of Blackboard Learn™, the leading Web-based teaching and learning platform, in native mobile applications that in June will support a selection of the world’s most popular mobile platforms including iPhone® OS, Android and BlackBerry®. Like Blackboard Mobile Central, Blackboard Mobile Learn is available through an annual license, will be branded under the school’s name, and can be downloaded by students and faculty at mobile application stores.  
Schools that are interested in experimenting with mobile learning on their campus for no additional charge can enable Wi-Fi access to Blackboard Mobile Learn on devices such as the iPhone and iPod touch® and, through a special partnership with Sprint (NY SE: S), on select smartphones powered by the Now Network™. The no cost options are intended to help institutions get started quickly without extra investments.
Blackboard Mobile Learn will be available initially for U.S. and Puerto RicoBlackboard Learn and the WebCT and ANGEL platforms, will follow. 
For more information about Blackboard Mobile Learn, please visit

Blackboard mobile could prove to be a handy strategy in Medical education, because of the “two platforms” tool itcan prove to be. Thus a PC or Laptop based elearning environment can be seamlessly integrated with a mobile instrument.

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Medical communications Conference in Georgia on April 21-23, 2010

Posted by drneelesh on March 22, 2010

Health reporting is much more than giving news, it entails responsibility for creating health behaviour change for the better.Information exchange is at the heart of a democratic society, and health information exchange delivered by qualified reporters, shapes the health and safety of our communities. Proliferation of Health information TV spots and internet websites present a challenge to effective health communication.

Media training is critical in the new patient centric healthcare system. Practitioners need to be communicators. Many studies cite statistics that improved communication skills leads to more accurate diagnosis, patient compliance, more referrals, and reduced malpractice claims.
The Medical Communications conference was created in 1980 with the belief that physicians are uniquely qualified to provide health care and medical news and information to the public via mass media.  The conference was designed to help interested physicians build the skills necessary to be effective broadcast journalists, program hosts, news sources or spokespersons.  This yera, the 30th Annual Medical Communications conference will be held on April 21-23, 2010 at Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead Atlanta, Georgia
The conference is attended by a diverse group of interested parties, and supported by an impressive advisory board. It should prove useful to all health communicators who strive to provide the latest and most accurate information so as to improve health status of the population.
I shall provide more details on the conference on this blog, so register for my RSS feed  or  check it later for updates.

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Personalization tools at PubMed

Posted by drneelesh on March 19, 2010

Logo of the United States National Center for ...


PubMed® Search Results can be Customized Using My NCBI

[These changes were implemented in PubMed on March 16, 2010.]
Searchers will soon be able to tailor the display of PubMed search results using My NCBI. This will be a welcome change for those who prefer to see search results in the Abstract format, to view more than 20 citations per page, or to sort the order of results. In addition, the number of PubMed filters you can select has been expanded from 5 to 15.

Result Display Settings

The current default in PubMed displays multiple items in the Summary format, 20 per page, and sorted by items recently added at the top. To change this, access My NCBI, click on “PubMed Preferences,” then “Result Display Settings” (see Figure 1).
Select either the Abstract or the Summary format. You can change the number of citations to be displayed per page – up to 200, and choose from the sort options of Recently Added, Pub Date (Publication Date), First Author, Last Author, Journal, or Title (see Figure 2). You must be signed in to My NCBI to apply your display selections to your PubMed search results, and note also that a change to the display may result in a longer response time. This does not change the display of single records which will continue to display in the Abstract format.

A two minute Quick Tour, Changing Your Default Display Settings, will be available on the PubMed Online Training page.
Searchers who want the Supplemental Data (e.g., MeSH terms) to always display are reminded to use the Abstract Supplemental Data preference option. For more information about this and other My NCBI preferences, see My NCBI Help: Using Preferences.


You can also now use My NCBI to select up to 15 filters for PubMed. All filters are displayed as links under “Filter your results” on the upper right of your search results (see Figure 3). Click on any of the filter links to display a subset of your results. To change your filter selections, click on “Manage Filters.” 

By Lidia Hutcherson
National Center for Biotechnology Information

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Social Networking & Education for Hospitals

Posted by drneelesh on March 19, 2010

This icon, known as the "feed icon" ...

Why should we be paying attention to social media? Because the people we are trying to reach are!

  • 184 million bloggers 
  • 73% of active online users have read a blog
  • 45% have started their own blog 
  • 57% have joined a social network 
  • 55% have uploaded photos 
  • 83% have watched video clips 
  • 39% subscribe to an RSS feed

Source : Universal McCann Comparative Study on Social Media Trends April 2008

Data for Hospitals-Hospitals Are Adopting Social Media
As of February 14, 2010:

  • 557 Health Systems/Hospitals/Centers: *
  • 254 YouTube Channels *
  • 336 Facebook pages 
  • 430 Twitter Accounts *
  • 70 Blogs 

-Source: Ed Bennett

Presentation by Nedra Kline Weinreich; Weinreich Communications

@ California Assn of Hospitals and Health Systems
Healthcare Volunteer Leadership Conference
March 17, 2010

Also check out

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The PhRMA proposal for regulating online Pharmaceutical practices

Posted by drneelesh on March 15, 2010

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the  leading American pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, with a mandate to conduct effective advocacy for public policies that encourage discovery of important new medicines for patients by pharmaceutical/ biotechnology research companies.The PhRMA is active on Twitter , and makes good use of micro blogging services for advocacy.
Regarding use of social media tools for medical marketing and public access to trustworthy Medical information online, the trade group proposed a paid search format somewhat similar to that proposed by Google. PhRMA’s format would feature the drug’s branded and generic name, followed by an “abbreviated indication or therapeutic category,” and then, in the left hand corner, an FDA logo reading “FDA regulated” that links to risk information, along with a line warning of risks and linking to the patient medication guide.

For drugs with boxed warnings, PhRMA suggested, the line might read “You should be aware of serious risks associated with this product.” For those without a boxed warning, the line would read “All drugs have risks. Click here for important safety information.”
You can read the detailed comments here.

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drneelesh’s Elearning Topic- March 2010

Posted by drneelesh on March 12, 2010


Posted: 09 Mar 2010 07:39 AM PST
The folks at Educause have put together 7 Things You Should Know About E-Readers. This brief guide details the essentials about these portable devices such as:
  1. What is it?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Who’s doing it?
  4. Why is it significant?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Where is it going?
  7. What are the implications for teaching and learning?
This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now


Posted: 04 Mar 2010 10:44 AM PST

My colleagues at the Internet Time Alliance have been thinking a lot about what “learning” and being a “learner” means.  This has been part of the ongoing discussion we have been having about the hijacking of terms like informal and social learning by “snake oil sellers”.
Jay Cross has become well known for helping organisations understand that learning is either formal or informal
In my Social Learning Handbook I identified 5 categories of learning: Formal Structured Learning, Personal Directed Learning, Group Directed Learning, Intra-Organisational Learning and Accidental & Serendiptous Learning.

Harold Jarche looked at these 5 categories and grouped learning into 3 types: directed, self-directed and undirected learning.
In his posting yesterday he now refers to learners  as being Dependent, Independent and Interdependent 
So how do these different terms map together?  I’ve drawn up this table to make it a little clearer,

Recently I have come across a lot of instances of the use of phrases like “managing informal learning” or “formalising informal learning”, which might sound as if they make sense, but when you look more closely at what they mean, it’s the same thing as saying “directing the learning of self-directed learners”  which makes no sense at all!  
In my opinion it is just not possible to manage or formalise informal learning – if you do, it just becomes formal learning.  All you can do to do is SUPPORT and ENABLE self-directed (independent and interdependent) learners and their learning, which is quite a different thing altogether. 
So what about those people who say that you can’t let employees be responsible for their own learning, they might not learn the right things(!), let me point you to the article in December 2009’s CLO Magazine written by Timothy R Clark and Conrad A Gottfredson, Agile Learning, Thriving in the New Economy, which explains why supporting and enabling self-directed/independent learners should be encouraged:

“As competitive environments increase in speed, complexity and volatility, organizations and individuals are compelled toward a dynamic learning mindset. Dynamic learning is defined as rapid, adaptive, collaborative and self-directed learning at the moment of need.”

So as organisational learning departments simply can’t respond quickly enough to the ongoing learning needs of the organisation (it takes weeks if not months to put together and deliver a course) , they will need to consider new approaches, so as I put it in my article ..

“The consequence of this for Learning & Development  is that they now need to concern themselves more with helping employees become dynamic, agile, self-directed, independent and interdependent – what we might also term “smart” – learners and less with creating and managing learning solutions for dependent learners. Helping employees become smart learners includes supporting them acquire a set of trusted resources and networks, using the most appropriate tools; and having the right mix of skills to make effective use of the tools and (re)sources.”

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Top 10 valuable brands in Pharma

Posted by drneelesh on March 8, 2010

Brand Finance, a UK based brand valuation company, released this list of Top 500 most valuable global brands. Retail giant Walmart retained the top spot, with Google at #2. 
Though it is not very clear how the rankings were compiled, Several major pharmaceutical companies did indeed make the list, including:

  • Johnson & Johnson (#85)
  • Pfizer (#131)
  • Merck (#150)
  • Sanofi-aventis (#161)
  • Abbott (#169)
  • AstraZeneca (#222)
  • Lilly (#264)
  • Schering-Plough (#343)
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb (#347)
  • Baxter (#468)

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Pedagogy of participation rather than retention

Posted by drneelesh on March 8, 2010

Want to get a good sense of emerging technologies available for learning and training? New Technology Supporting Informal Learning offers a great “state of the field” analysis of change pressures and tools/methods available as a response. 

From the article: “Learning networks capture an essential element in learning today, the simple fact that we don’t know what we want to teach…Social networks represent a gradual decentralization of content and contact online…we are currently seeing experimentation in the development of distributed online courses and in software – particularly, the personal learning environment – that support the formation of connections between the far-flung pieces of such courses.”

a pedagogy of participation rather than retention…… The intent of such systems is to facilitate the conversation and interaction around episodic learning events in a distributed environment, transforming them from elements in a linear flow-based design to free-floating objects in an environment.

The need for participatory pedagogy is obvious. Many researchers have acknowledged this for decades. Unique today is the ready access to simple technologies that permit high levels of participation at classroom and course levels.

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