Medical Communication

Archive for April, 2010

Ranbaxy and Cipla jostle in the Indian Markets

Posted by drneelesh on April 28, 2010

India’s largest pharmaceutical company by revenue, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, has launched an initiative to reach out to smaller towns and villages and invest more in research with an eye on becoming the leader in the generic drugs market in the next two years. Ranbaxy chief executive and managing director Atul Sobti says that with the new initiative, the firm expects to reach a minimum 350,000 doctors by 2012, up from the current 200,000.

The company has already hired nearly 1,500 marketing personnel since the strategy, named Viraat, was kicked off in January—taking its workforce to 4,300. Ranbaxy is aiming to overtake Cipla Ltd as the market leader.Two-thirds of the new hires are field personnel, who will spread out into towns and rural areas to push the company’s over-the-counter and prescription drugs. The rest have been hired at managerial levels.

On the other hand, Cipla has tied up with the Manipal Group-promoted Stempeutics Research to market stem cell-based therapies. Cipla will fund Rs 50 crore within the next two years to conduct clinical trials and to further develop two products being worked on by Stempeutics.

Ranbaxy’s current market share is 4.9% against Cipla’s 5.4%, according ORG IMS. In order to overtake Cipla in the market, Ranbaxy is streamlining its medical communication efforts. Separate strategies are being considered for metros and for towns. If they look deeper, they would also realize that it is important to have a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to reach the high-value prescribers in metros and cities. Even within this strategy, content and channels would have to be fine-tuned depending on the particular molecule/ product/therapeutic class being targeted.

Related articles

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Facebook for Learning

Posted by drneelesh on April 28, 2010

Click here to view the Articulate version


This week’s learning session explored Facebook and how we can use it to facilitate learning. As expected, thanks to the juicy topic ‘Facebook’, we had a full house (e-learning lab, I mean!). Only 25 were allowed to register, but we ended up with 32 participants, which just illustrates that Facebook is an interesting topic.


Based on our recent poll the majority of both Academic staff (66.7) and students (67.8) that participated think that IMU should use Facebook for e-learning.

But, where to start?

To get your Facebook social learning space moving, why not for starters create a ‘Facebook Group’ (especially if you want to have a closed group)?

Here are two screencast tutorials exploring how to create a Facebook Group and how we could use it to facilitate learning:

Part 1 – Creating a ‘Facebook Group’

Part 2 – Exploring Facebook Group Features


Why not combine Moodle (E-learning Portal) and Facebook to facilitate online learning environments that sizzles 🙂
Read more…

By- ZaidLearn

Posted in Facebook, Moodle | Leave a Comment »

GSK India’s plans for 2010

Posted by drneelesh on April 28, 2010

in the first quarter of 2010, GSK’s sales rose by 19% to Rs547 crore over the year-ago period, ahead of the drug market growth of 14-15%. Its growth was mainly due to higher volumes and a richer product mix, with price playing a negligible role, according to the company. Sales of vaccines rose by around 48% during the quarter. GSK offers a range of vaccines, for the prevention of hepatitis A, hepatitis B, invasive disease caused by H, influenzae, chickenpox, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and others.

The drug maker is driving growth through new offerings, with five new products slated for a 2010 launch. To cover the market with these new products, GSK hired 200 people in 2009 and plans to add 250 more in 2010. A concerted sales push with the help of an expanded field force could make a difference.

UK drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, like many other pharmaceutical majors, is looking to increase its presence in the fast-growing Indian market. “We are looking for acquisitions in India which are attractive to us. We are a very financially strong company,” GSK chief executive Andrew Witty told reporters at Nashik, India.Witty’s been talking deals (he’s in favor of them) and drug prices (they have to be flexible) and strategy (grow via deals and organically in poor and middle-income countries).

GSK-India has huge plans for the Indian market. But are their marketing strategies in tune with the changing media consumption patterns among Indian doctors and population? A conservative approach of maximizing field sales people without  having a long term outlook for marketing of newer molecules is just not going to yield the desired results.

Related News and articles-

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Promotional mix for Pharma medcom

Posted by drneelesh on April 26, 2010


One role of pharmaceutical research companies is to provide information about their medicines to health care professionals. This interaction between pharmaceutical representatives and health care professionals is often referred to as “marketing and promotion.”A number of tools and media are available for marketing communications in pharmaceuticals. Many avenues like detailing and samples have been overused and scant attention paid to other equally, if not more effective avenues.

Detail aids and materials – Traditionally, detailing via sales representatives has been the most often used avenue for medical communication. Nowadays, with increasing difficulty in arranging a face-to-face meetings with doctors, many companies are looking at using e-detailing in place of live detailing through sales rep. This is because a shift to e-detailing erases all logistics problems associated with physical presence of a sales rep at the doctor’s clinic, fully armed with a large number of visual aids.

Samples – This is a very important and often frowned upon tool. Samples are effective ways of demonstrating a drugs’ effectiveness and its importance cannot be underestimated.

Speaker programs – Though such speaker programs can be arranged through a live speaker program or technologically enabled via web casts, studies have shown more effectiveness for live speaker programs.

Journal advertising and Medical publications – An ethical dilemma to many. I shall comment more on this in one of my later posts.

Medical education and Patient education programs

DTC advertisingWith about 18 to 20 % of Indian drug market consisting of OTC (Over-the-counter) drugs, its a mystery what is being done in this arena. A few new advertisements on television do bring about a whiff of change, though.

Posted in marketing, Media | Leave a Comment »

UCB invests in Online patient community

Posted by drneelesh on April 22, 2010

After months of planning, UCB officially launched an epilepsy  community on PatientsLikeMe in early 2010. In the first two weeks, over 400 patients joined. Based on the growth of other communities, they expect  thousands of patients to connect there over the next few months.

What is PatientsLikeMe?
PatientsLikeMe is part databank, part community. It allows crowd sourced information on patient behavior and expectations via this “community portal”.

The site was started by two brothers – James Heywood and Benjamin  Heywood – after watching their brother Benjamin’s long battle with ALS. 

PatientsLikeMe offers pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to reach and learn from thousands of patients with chronic diseases. The industry can follow their symptoms, treatments, outcomes and attitudes. They can evaluate real-world safety and efficacy data, and conduct targeted clinical trial recruitment. 

UCB is hoping what it learns about epilepsy from the patients will help improve drug safety and lead to new advances  in care.

Patients in our epilepsy community can now access a series of PROs to help understand the effect of their disease on everyday life and have a voice in real-world, real-time research. The best part is that once they’ve completed the questionnaires (which should take about 20 minutes) they get to see summary findings of how they compare to other members in the community, plus a summary of their overall physical, mental, and social quality of life is displayed on their profile and their patient icon.- The PatientsLikeMe Epilepsy community.

UCB has ambitious plans for the partnership and has outlined a number of research projects in the pipeline, including one that takes aim at the specter of adverse events – long the cause of pharma caution on any form of social networking.

Related news and reports-

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    NPAA slashes Lantus prices but increases prices for other Insulins

    Posted by drneelesh on April 21, 2010

    National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has cut the price of Aventis Pharma’s monocomponent insulin Lantus by 2.8% and Novartis’s Vitalux Plus TR tablets by 2.9%, an official close to the development said. “The revised prices will be effective within 15 days,” the official said. This occurs at the time NPAA has increased the rates for many other Recombinant Insulin brands.

    NPPA is in charge of monitoring the prices of drugs sold within the country. NPPA periodically exercises its option to revise or fix the pricing of certain bulk drugs and formulation packs that come under Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) 1995 –a statute to regulate prices of essential drugs.

    Lantus is Aventis Pharma’s fastest growing drug and its sales have been growing at 33% per annum in India, according to a company spokesperson. Annual sales of Lantus are now worth Rs 50 crore. It was the first once-a-day form of insulin and its effect lasts 24 hours, making it a popular long acting drug.A 10 ml vial of Lantus 100 IU/ml will now cost Rs 2,370.49 instead of Rs 2,439.27. And this is NOT the first time Lantus has had to suffer this fate via NPAA.

    Wonder what Sanofi-Aventis plans to offset the loss of revenue?

    Related Stories:

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    MCI regulations to curb pharma industry influences on Doctors

    Posted by drneelesh on April 20, 2010

    Recently, the Medical Council of India with the previous sanction of the Central Government, has  amended the “Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002: 
    Here are the highlights,

    a) Gifts: A medical practitioner shall not receive any gift from any pharmaceutical or allied health care industry and their sales people or representatives. 

    b) Travel facilities: A medical practitioner shall not accept any travel facility inside the country or outside, including rail, air, ship , cruise tickets, paid vacations etc. from any pharmaceutical or allied healthcare industry or their representatives for self and family members for vacation or for attending conferences, seminars, workshops, CME programme etc as a delegate.

    c) Hospitality: A medical practitioner shall not accept individually any hospitality like hotel accommodation for self and family members under any pretext.

    d) Cash or monetary grants: A medical practitioner shall not receive any cash or monetary grants from any pharmaceutical and allied healthcare industry for individual purpose in individual capacity under any pretext. Funding for medical research, study etc. can only be received through approved institutions by modalities laid down by law / rules / guidelines adopted by such approved institutions, in a transparent manner. It shall always be fully disclosed. 

    e) Medical Research: A medical practitioner may carry out, participate in, work in research projects funded by pharmaceutical and allied healthcare industries. A medical practitioner is obliged to know that the fulfillment of the following items (i) to (vii) will be an imperative for undertaking any research assignment / project funded by industry – for being proper and ethical. Thus, in accepting such a position a medical practitioner shall:-
    (i) Ensure that the particular research proposal(s) has the due permission from the competent concerned authorities.
    (ii) Ensure that such a research project(s) has the clearance of national/ state / institutional ethics committees / bodies.
    (iii) Ensure that it fulfils all the legal requirements prescribed for medical research.
    (iv) Ensure that the source and amount of funding is publicly disclosed at the beginning itself.
    (v) Ensure that proper care and facilities are provided to human volunteers, if they are necessary for the research project(s).
    (vi) Ensure that undue animal experimentations are not done and when these are necessary they are done in a scientific and a humane way.
    (vii) Ensure that while accepting such an assignment a medical practitioner shall have the freedom to publish the results of the research in the greater interest of the society by inserting such a clause in the MoU or any other document / agreement for any such assignment.

    f) Maintaining Professional Autonomy: In dealing with pharmaceutical and allied healthcare industry a medical practitioner shall always ensure that there shall never be any compromise either with his / her own professional autonomy and / or with the autonomy and freedom of the medical institution. 

    g) Affiliation: A medical practitioner may work for pharmaceutical and allied healthcare industries in advisory capacities, as consultants, as researchers, as treating doctors or in any other professional capacity. In doing so, a medical practitioner shall always:
    (i) Ensure that his professional integrity and freedom are maintained.
    (ii) Ensure that patients interest are not compromised in any way.
    (iii) Ensure that such affiliations are within the law.
    (iv) Ensure that such affiliations / employments are fully transparent and disclosed.

    h) Endorsement: A medical practitioner shall not endorse any drug or product of the industry publically. Any study conducted on the efficacy or otherwise of such products shall be presented to and / or through appropriate scientific bodies or published in appropriate scientific journals in a proper way”.

    Dr Ved Prakash Mishra of the MCI ethics committee explained that the MCI would not do any policing and would not be taking any suo moto action. “The regulations are enforceable only if a person brings a complaint to the state council where a doctor is registered. If the parties are not satisfied, they could approach the MCI. The onus of proving innocence would be on the accused and not on the person filing the complaint,” said Dr Mishra. 

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    MedCom strategy for Hyalgan

    Posted by drneelesh on April 20, 2010

    Lupin Ltd has recently launched injectable osteoarthritis  drug Hyalgan in India. In fact, Hyalgan was the first FDA approved hyaluronan therapy.The drug, which is a natural liquid injected into the knees to relieve pain caused due to osteoarthritis, has been test-marketed by Lupin over the last six months across the country.  

    The options for treating OA include:
    • COX-2 inhibitors
    • Mild Narcotics
    • Local pain-relieving creams
    • Corticosteroids
    • Viscosupplementation– These procedures involve the injection of gel-like substances  (hyaluronates) into a joint to supplement the viscous properties of synovial fluid. Currently, these injections are approved for osteoarthritis of the knee joint, when more conservative treatments have failed.
    Hyalgan is recommended for patients of stage 1 to 3 of OA to relieve the acute pain associated with it. Hyalgan can also delay the progression of OA when taken regularly as per the schedule.


    The procedure for Hyalgan injections is explained here. Though many doctors know about this medication, not many are skilled enough to use this intra-articular injection. it would need a massive medical communication process to train most doctors in using this treatment option in the OPD. This communication would ideally be in the form an animated 2D or 3D video, with interactivity and notes.Such videos can then be distributed to relevant doctors, offline on a compact disc or online via medical forums and websites.

    The Hyalgan molecule is originally developed by Italian drug maker FIDIA SpA.
    According to a recently concluded survey, the market for osteoarthritis is currently pegged at Rs 150 crore. In India OA is the 2nd most prevalent disease in the age group of 25-30 years and affects more than 12 per cent of the population. Hyalgan injections are given as a series of 5 injections. Each injection is given once a week.

    Posted in 2D, 3D, Video | Leave a Comment »

    drneelesh’s Elearning Topic- April 2010

    Posted by drneelesh on April 20, 2010

    Posted: 17 Apr 2010 03:11 PM PDT
    I launched the world’s first elective course at a medical university focusing on web 2.0 and medicine for medical students in 2008. Now this is the 4th semester and the 8th week was dedicated to new media in medicine and education 2.0. Here is the outline of my presentations.
    First slideshow: New Media in Medicine

    Take-home message: Make your online work as efficient and time-saving as possible.
    Second slideshow: Education 2.0

    • What we have to face: lack of inspiration (educators) and lack of motivation (students)
    • But we can find motivation and inspiration online
    • e.g. Ted Talks – Ken Robinson

    • Why? We’re changing (students, even children use different communication channels) – Vision of students;

    • We’re digital natives, Generation Z.
    • Many examples, statistics about the problems with education
    • “If you want to teach me, you first have to reach me”
    • Wikipedia,, mind mapping, Exam General, slideshare, Second Life simulations,, twitter, friendfeed, and many more examples students can use in their studies

    Take-home message: The web is full of educational resources. Use them wisely.

    This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

    Posted: 17 Apr 2010 01:31 AM PDT

    Following Techcrunch’s posting on Thursday, Ning’s bubble bursts …, that the new CEO of Ning had written to its staff to tell them that it will phase out their free service and that “existing free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or transition off of Ning“, there has been a lot of blogging activity about Ning. 
    Some have suggested that this has been a big PR disaster for Ning, others that this could mean the end to free social media, whilst many more have focused on the alternatives to Ning. I wrote a blog posting on my Social Media in Learning blog about how I thought Elgg might be a good alternative.  However  there have been many other suggestions, some of which I actually don’t think would provide the same functionality as Ning, so this is the reason for today’s blog posting, as I wanted to remind you about the section in the Directory of Learning Tools, that (currently) lists 115  social networking and collaboration space tools and services.  In this list you will find

    • public social networks (like Facebook)
    • private/closed social networking platforms (like Ning)
    • group and small community spaces
    • enterprise collaboration platforms (like Elgg)

    Clearly the functionality of a tool or service will be important, but other factors will be the cost (ie whether it is free, open source or commercial software), and whether it is a hosted service or downloadable software.  When you choose your new platform you may also want to make sure you own the data and content this time, so if this is a consideration, you will need to read the terms and conditions closely. 
    You may find my comparison of Facebook, Ning and Elgg a useful resource when considering all the factors involved – to ensure you don’t jump out of the frying pan into the fire!
    Meanwhile, you should also note that Ning has made the following announcement on its blog:

    “We recognize that there are many active Ning Networks for teachers, small non-profits, and individuals and it’s our goal to have a set of product and pricing options that will make sense for all of them.”

    Decisions, decisons ..

    Posted: 15 Apr 2010 11:25 AM PDT
    Big news today from Ning: no more free networks (and 40% staff layoffs). Hosted services are great – as long as you can pull your data out (a significant value to Google’s data liberation project). Many educators use Ning for creating social networks. But, for Ning, ad revenue has not been able to meet their financial needs. Which is why I’m quite pleased that we’re using Elgg for our institutional learning/collaboration network at Athabasca University: the Landing. If you decide not to host your own site, at least make sure you can own and export your own data on your terms.
    Is this a commentary on “free” as a business model?
    Posted: 15 Apr 2010 08:15 AM PDT
    Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) levels were measured in 414 (ex)-smokers older than 50 years and the link between vitamin D status and presence of COPD was assessed. The rs7041 and rs4588 variants in the vitamin D-binding gene (GC) were genotyped and their effects on 25-OHD levels were tested.

    In patients with COPD, 25-OHD levels correlated significantly with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1).

    Compared with 31% of the smokers with normal lung function, as many as 60% and 77% of patients with GOLD (Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease) stage 3 and 4 exhibited deficient 25-OHD levels lower than 20 ng/ml.

    25-OHD levels were reduced by 25% in homozygous carriers of the rs7041 at-risk allele.

    76% and 100% of patients with GOLD stage 3 and 4 homozygous for the rs7041 allele exhibited 25-OHD levels lower than 20 ng/ml.

    Vitamin D deficiency occurs frequently in COPD and correlates with severity of COPD. The data warrant vitamin D supplementation in patients with severe COPD, especially in those carrying at-risk rs7041 variants.

    Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in COPD and correlates with variants in the vitamin D-binding gene. Thorax 2010;65:215-220 doi:10.1136/thx.2009.120659.
    Image source: Lungs, Wikipedia, public domain.
    Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow on Twitter and Buzz, and connect on Facebook.

    Posted: 12 Apr 2010 06:55 AM PDT
    This is the third installment in a 3-part series listing library-oriented iPhone applications – all links go to iTunes where you can download the apps. If you have a favorite book-related iPhone app that’s not listed here, please suggest it in the comments below, and be sure to check out parts one and two!

    Book-Related iPhone Apps

    eBooks & Audiobooks

    stanza Stanza
    Cost: Free
    Stanza claims to be the most popular electronic book reader with over 1 million readers. They offer access to over 50,000 contemporary titles and an additional 50,000 free classics.
    classics Classics
    Cost: $.99
    This app has over a dozen hand-picked, literary masterpieces in its collection including The Odyssey, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Frankenstein, and Pride & Prejudice.
    kindle Kindle for iPhone
    Cost: Free
    This simple app allows users to buy and read Kindle books on their iPhones as well as adjust the text size and add bookmarks.
    audiobooks Audiobooks
    Cost: Free
    Over 1 million people have used this iPhone app to listen to over 2,800 classic audiobooks for free.
    bookshelf Bookshelf
    Cost: $4.99
    An ebook reader app which supports many different formats with images and formatted text.
    freebooks Free Books
    Cost: $1.99
    23,469 classic books are accessible for free through this Free Books app.

    Find Local Books

    localbooks LocalBooks
    Cost: Free
    Similar to UrbanSpoon for restaurants, LocalBooks lets users know about libraries, bookstores, and bookish events near their location.
    redlaser RedLaser
    Cost: $1.99
    This extremely useful app lets users scan just about any barcode and receive search results for low online and local prices from hundreds of thousands of retailers. It works particularly well for books and WorldCat has now integrated their catalog with RedLaser so nearby libraries with the item will also appear in search results.
    bookzee Bookzee
    Cost: Free
    This is a location-based library book search for NYC.

    Posted: 07 Apr 2010 03:17 PM PDT
    Gartner (a Swahili term meaning “first we will make you give us a bunch of data to register for our site and then we’ll charge you a few thousand dollars for simple research reports”) is jumping on the touch mania that will continue to grow as more companies release their tablets/slates stating that “50% of the computers purchased for children will have touchscreens by 2015″. I can certainly understand the value of touch over keyboard and mouse interfaces. Children interact almost intuitively with touch interfaces. I’m reluctant to ascribe far-reaching educational implication to this, however. While pundits shall come a’runnin’, learning implications are far from clear.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

    Top drugs in 2014

    Posted by drneelesh on April 19, 2010

    A recent reuters article took a look at expected pharma sales trend in 2014. Avastin by Roche is expected to lead the pack, closely followed by two anti-arthritic drugs by Abbott and Pfizer.
    Consensus sales forecasts for world’s top 10 drugs in 2014:
    1. Avastin (cancer) Roche $8.9 bln
    2. Humira (arthritis) Abbott $8.5 bln
    3. Enbrel (arthritis) Pfizer $8.0 bln
    4. Crestor (cholesterol) AstraZeneca  $7.7 bln
    5. Remicade (arthritis) Merck, J&J $7.6 bln
    6. Rituxan (cancer) Roche $7.4 bln
    7. Lantus (diabetes) Sanofi-Aventis $7.1 bln
    8. Advair (asthma/COPD) GlaxoSmithKline  $6.8 bln
    9. Herceptin (cancer) Roche $6.4 bln
    10.NovoLog (diabetes) Novo Nordisk  $5.7 bln
    As expected, most sales shall come from drugs against chronic and life style disorders.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »