Thursday, November 03, 2005

ANA Rejects Commercial Alert's FDA Petition to End Prescription Drug Advertising

November 02, 2005

ANA Rejects Commercial Alert’s FDA Petition to End Prescription Drug Advertising

The ANA strongly opposes the call of Commercial Alert and a number of medical school professors for an end to DTC prescription drug advertising.

We believe that the Commercial Alert proposal is radical, misguided and unconstitutional. DTC advertising provides tremendous benefits to consumers and promotes public health. FDA studies have found that more than 24 million Americans have discussed a health issue with their doctor for the first time after seeing a prescription drug ad.

A survey by Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harris Interactive found that 25% of those who went to their doctor received a new diagnosis and 43% of those new diagnoses were for ‘high priority’ conditions that could be severely debilitating or life threatening.

The ANA is responding to a petition of medical school professors organized by Commercial Alert, a consumer advocacy group that opposes “commercialism” and the marketing of a wide array of products and services. The petition called for an end to all broadcast ads for prescription drug products.

The views expressed by these medical school professors certainly do not provide a balanced representation of the opinions of the medical community about DTC advertising. In the last several years, for example, identical proposals to ban DTC ads have been put forward at the annual meetings of the American Medical Association and have been uniformly defeated.

A recent FDA survey of physicians concluded that a majority of doctors believe that DTC advertising can play a positive role in their interactions with their patients. The FDA survey found that 89% of the doctors surveyed believe DTC advertising made patients more involved in their health care; 85% believed their patients were more likely to use their prescriptions properly because of the ads; 69% felt the ads encouraged hard to reach patients to seek assistance.

Consumers have a right to information about their healthcare and a right to ask their doctors about new treatments for medical conditions. The FDA already has the power and the responsibility to block any false or deceptive DTC ads.

We reject the call of Commercial Alert to turn back the clock to the days when patients were paternalistically kept in the dark about their health options. The CDC has found that millions of Americans suffer from serious or life-threatening undiagnosed health threats. DTC advertising is a proven way to reach these high-risk groups. Denying this critical information would be harmful, not helpful, for consumers. It would also violate the First Amendment. While Commercial Alert may not like it, the First Amendment protects DTC advertising.



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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Online networking clicks among friends And investors sense profits from Web sites linking people

Online networking clicks among friends And investors sense profits from Web sites linking people

Reyhan Harmanci, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Before the Internet, social life was both simpler and more complicated. To keep up with friends, you actually had to see them. To organize a party, you had to pick up the phone. To get a date, you had to have chemistry. Now, thanks to the miracle of online social networking sites, you can manage your friends without taking your hands off the keyboard.

Social networking has become one of the most popular applications on the Internet in the wake of the dot-com bust. There is now a social network site for practically every subgroup, no matter how weird, niche or pragmatic. is an invitation-only site restricted to jetsetters. caters to dog owners. serves professionals who want to foster new business ties. helps people plan events.

Unsurprisingly, young people are the force behind the most popular sites., which was acquired in September by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $580 million, boasts 33 million users, who, among other things, use the site to upload and share music.

Palo Alto-based, which was founded in February 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, has grown to 8.3 million users and is the 11th most visited site on the Internet, according to Web trafficking firm comScore Media Metrix.

Chris Hughes, a Facebook spokesman and Harvard senior, said the company is close to claiming representation at every college in the country, with 80 percent membership among each collegiate population. In September, Facebook launched a service for high school students; a month later, 22,000 teenagers have registered accounts.

In an increasingly crowded field of Web sites dedicated to online social networking, stands out, and the reasons behind its success speak to trends both in online social networking and the Internet in general.

By serving the needs of a specific population, creating a platform for users to generate content and enabling advertisers to reach a niche audience, Facebook has the makings of an Internet 2.0 giant.

"People's behavior will change with technology," said Howard Rheingold, author and Internet expert. "I know very few young people who can't type out a text message on their phone with one thumb, for instance. You mention Facebook -- it's a Facebook generation."

"Social networks didn't begin with social networking Web sites, but the technology has extended our capabilities in important ways."

On the financial front, social networking sites' prospects are also intensifying, as investors and advertisers look beyond the raw number of page hits to determine a Web site's viability. Among other things, each site is a treasure trove of consumer data.

In May 2005, the Accel group, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm, bought a $12.2 million chunk of Facebook, which is currently valued at around $100 million. Accel plans to capitalize on Facebook's ability to deliver a targeted youth audience to advertisers.

This month, Yahoo purchased Upcoming, a site that lets people publicly list and share their schedules of events with friends. Google jumped into the fray even earlier: In May 2005, it bought Dodgeball, a site that brings social networking to mobile phones by enabling people to broadcast their whereabouts via text messages, betting on a future of mobile social networking.

Advertisers see social networks as free focus groups. Already, Apple Computers has bought the right to start groups on Facebook, roping college kids into an advertising campaign by dangling the prospect of a free iPod.

As Tim O'Reilly, Internet pioneer and publisher, said in an interview, "Social networking has always been considered one of the key applications of the Internet." From the inception of the World Wide Web around 1992, people have aggregated around interests.

It wasn't until 1997, though, when the first site was launched -- it was called Sixdegrees, named after the famous Stanley Milgram experiment that aimed to show how every human could be connected through six degrees of separation. The idea behind a connected virtual community took off in 2003 with the wildly popular Friendster, which, with about 19 million users, is still one of the leading sites.

Since the first generation of online networking, a whole galaxy of start-ups have emerged, all trying to tie social networks to certain services or communities.

The ever-changing composition of Facebook and other popular networking sites exemplifies what O'Reilly calls the "secret sauce" of the Internet: harnessing collective intelligence. "EBay and Amazon don't just sell things; Amazon lets readers write annotations and reviews, and eBay gives informed search results. It's all about user-generated content," he said.

O'Reilly believes online social networking is in its infancy. "There's a huge opportunity for players like Microsoft or Yahoo or Google to layer social networking applications on top of existing features, like utilizing existing buddy lists or saving e-mail addresses and connecting them to profiles," he said.

"I really believe the next generation of e-mail, for example, will take on social networking features."

But whether or how these sites will change the nature of social life is harder to predict. Unlike dating sites, which facilitate real-world interactions, Facebook, MySpace and Friendster are not necessarily intended to bring people from the online world to the offline one. Instead, they enable users to find strangers with similar interests, to experiment with identity, to maintain and solidify friendships, to network for jobs and housing.

"It's an alternative form of social interaction, totally," said Dena Takruri, 21, a junior at UC Berkeley, who claims 365 friends on her Facebook profile. Takruri explains that the Web site itself is part of her social world.

For the majority of users, logging onto Facebook is as embedded in their routine as e-mail. Students check their messages, look at their "wall" of comments from friends, read their online bulletin boards, update their profile, check out classmates, search for high school friends, and, of course, spy on ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends.

Every field in a profile -- which is subject to endless tweaking -- can be searched and cross-referenced, or hyperlinked, making it easy for students to find people in their classes or other fans of obscure music. If a student can't be bothered to write someone a note, he can click the "poke" feature, which Takruri translates as "just a way of saying, 'What's up?' "

Undoubtedly, there are many potentially useful features of Facebook, but users seem less interested in finding study partners than in uploading pictures of friends in compromising positions and starting groups with names such as "I Went to Private School ... But Somebody Else Paid."

"I love it; it's awesome," says San Francisco native Elizabeth Shapiro, 20, a student at Kenyon College in Ohio. "I don't use it to meet people so much as keep track of my friends."

It's also an addiction, said Shapiro, a feeling echoed by many students, according to a study of collegiate social life by UC Berkeley graduate student Megan Finn.

Social scientists ascribe the appeal of social networking sites to what they call "low cost." Rather than engage in long conversations to determine someone's favorite movie, for example, Facebook users can just glance at a profile and get a sense of the interests of the person living next door. Then connections can be maintained by checking a user's page.

"I'm not sure I think of it as a new social sphere," said Duncan Watts, a professor at Columbia University's Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. "Linking to someone on Facebook doesn't have much in the way of consequences for how well you know them, influence them or work with them; thus it doesn't generate new meaningful ties that didn't exist for any other reason."

Watts finds the lowered costs of social activity to be a double-edged sword. "Often when people talk about networks, there is an assumption that more connectivity and lower costs are always better," he said. "But that's not necessarily true. Very often in social life, we don't want everyone to know everything about us."

For that reason, Facebook limits access to personal information.

By restricting their membership to those with academic e-mail addresses and only enabling people to search through their schools, Facebook has managed to shore up its community.

Shapiro, for instance, was turned off by the idea of interacting with "strangers" on sites that allow the general public to sign up. Takruri said that her friends jokingly refer to MySpace as "Facebook for the common folk." As Sam Altman, 20, a recent Stanford University dropout and CEO of a company that will launch early next year, puts it, "For a social network to be useful, do you need to see 29 million people's profiles? Selective restriction might be a better way to go."

Although overwhelmingly popular on campuses, there are plenty of students who feel skeptical about the kind of social interaction Facebook breeds. Anastasia Queira, 23, joined the site when she was attending Stanford but never put much personal information on her profile. She logged on at Stanford to find practical information, such as party locations, or to keep in touch with high school friends but finds the practice of contacting near-strangers disturbing.

"I think it has a lot to do with the fact that both my parents are not American," said Queira of her doubts about Facebook. "There's a very American way of defining friends, with levity. What does it mean to call someone a friend who you've met for three seconds? It's very passive kind of contact, and there's something troublesome about it."

Altman affirms that the existence of online social networks has changed the social landscape. "They've added a totally new level of social structure. You meet someone and ask yourself, 'When am I good enough friends with someone to add them on MySpace?' "

But, he adds, we've only seen "less than 2 percent" of what social networking technologies can do.

"Social networking is going to be a highly mobile thing," he said. "Right now, you're stuck behind a computer, which limits how you can improve your social life."

While the long-term impact of social networking Web sites has yet to be determined, experts caution against hyperbole.

Jonah Peretti, director of research and development for Eyebeam, a New York-based new media research organization, finds the telephone to be an apt metaphor for how people might overestimate the antisocial effects of online networking sites.

"When the telephone first became popular, people thought that no one would leave their houses, traffic patterns would change, that overall car use would decrease," Peretti said. "Yet one of the results was that people called each other up and arranged to meet, increasing social activity."

But lots of low-cost friendships might mean lots of lower quality friendships.

"Everyone has a network of friends, but only someone using a system like Facebook can browse them," Peretti said. "This makes it possible for socializing to become a competitive sport in which you strive for more and better social ties than your peers."

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Online initiatives expand

Online initiatives expand

Med Ad News, October 2005

Pharmaceutical companies and physicians are looking to move more of their operations online. Web-based programs can increase efficiency for detailing, writing prescriptions, and training sales forces. Analysts say these online initiatives will help increase the effectiveness of sales representatives, rather than replace them.

E-detailing solutions are in transition from pilot programs to large-scale initiatives for targeting physicians, according to financial-analysis company Frost & Sullivan. A typical e-detailing program reaches 2,500 physicians, and life-sciences companies are aiming at reaching 10,000 physicians to 25,000 physicians. To achieve this target, these companies must use next-generation e-detailing technologies that are interactive and can be customized.

Internal restructuring of sales forces is one factor driving companies to adopt e-detailing. Companies see e-detailing as a way of increasing sales-force effectiveness. This life-sciences e-detailing market is expected to more than double during the next five years, with revenue going from $44.5 million in 2004 to $103.4 million in 2009.

"Increased contact with physicians, controlled promotional material, and immediate feedback and reporting analysis help position the e-detail as a leading e-marketing strategy," says Steve Tobin, industry analyst, Frost & Sullivan ( "E-detail actively engages physicians with a controlled and succinct promotional message, and if correctly implemented, can significantly augment the efforts of the sales force."

Physicians also are looking to increase their use of e-detailing, according to health-care marketing firm Manhattan Research ( Pharmaceutical companies, however, do not intend to replace sales representatives with e-detailing.

"Embattled pharma sales forces can rest easy," says Meredith Abreu, VP of research at Manhattan Research. "The majority of physicians do not plan to spend less time with their detail rep because they see e-detailing as an educational opportunity, not as a sales-rep replacement."

Physicians are using e-prescribing technologies at increasing rates as well. Use of an e-prescribing system through a personal digital assistant has grown 300% since 2004 and has served to increase the number of prescriptions written.

"Physicians using the handheld platform write an average of 42 more prescriptions per week than physicians using e-prescribing through the desktop or another platform," says Erika Fishman, senior analyst, Manhattan Research. "This represents a significant difference in prescription-writing habits and further demonstrates the enhanced efficiency that PDAs can bring to the physician workday."

Instead of replacing sales people, Web-based programs are being used to train them. According to market-research company Best Practices LLC (, most companies expect e-based sales training to be a primary tool in the next couple of years because of the drive to control spending, maximize training efforts, and minimize the time that representatives are not in the field. About 92% of companies will spend more money this year than in previous years on Web-based training services. About 84% will spend more this year on computer-based training using DVDs and CD-ROMs.

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By Eric Ladley (Med Ad News, October 2005)


Larger numbers of physicians and consumers are using the Internet more frequently to find information about pharmaceuticals. This information then acts as a catalyst to facilitate discussions on health care between the doctor and the patient. While some searches are undertaken to learn more about specific conditions, many consumers use the Internet to find the cheapest prices for drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have been taking advantage of these trends and going online to build stronger relationships with patients.

The actual number of adults who have ever searched for health information online has grown to about 117 million, up from about 111 million last year, because of an increase in the percentage of U.S. adults who go online, according to a poll by Harris Interactive Inc. (, a market-research company. The total number of Internet users has increased from 69% of all U.S. adults in 2004 to 74% in 2005. The percentage of online U.S. adults who have ever searched the Internet for health-related information, however, has declined from 80% in 2002 to 72% this year. That number was 74% last year.

Although the percentage searching for health information online has decreased, the adults who do search the Internet for health-related information are doing so more frequently compared with last year. About 58% say they have looked for information about health topics often or sometimes, an increase of 8 percentage points from 2004. The percentage who hardly ever search for health information dropped to 14%, down from 24% last year. On average, people looking for health information search the Internet almost seven times per month, an increase from five times per month a year ago and three times per month four years ago in 2001. About 85% of those who have ever searched the Internet for health information have done so one or more times in the last month. Last year, 60% said they had gone online one or more times in the past month looking for health information.

The Harris poll found that people who search the Internet for health information generally find what they need. About 89% of people searching for health information online say they were successful. About 46% say they were very successful, and about 43% say they were somewhat successful. About 90% of people say the health information they found online has been reliable. About 37% say the information was very reliable, and about 53% say the information was somewhat reliable.

A survey conducted by Net-progress (, an Internet consultancy, shows that the quality of Websites in the life-sciences sector is above average. On a majority of Websites examined, few problems were found that would prevent visitors from carrying out the tasks they want to complete. Search engines did well turning up company names and product names. The average number of links to the Websites was high, but some companies have work to do in this aspect of their Website presence. GlaxoSmithKline ( ranked high for Web performance, while AstraZeneca ( did well in Website presence and quality.

Consumers are using the information found online to interact with physicians. According to the Harris poll, about 57% of adults who have gone online to get health information say they have discussed this information with their doctor at least once. About 52% of people who search the Internet for health information have searched for health information based on a discussion with their doctor. People who often use the Internet to find medical information are even more inclined to discuss this information with their doctor or to search for information based on a discussion with their doctor. About 53% at least sometimes talk to their doctor about information that they found online. About 70% have gone to the Internet to look for information to supplement what their doctors have told them.

The Internet is second only to physicians as a primary source of information on pharmaceuticals, according to a Prospectiv poll. About 73% of respondents look to their doctors as their primary source of information for drugs, while 14% look first to Websites and e-mail. In the poll, about 47% named informational Websites and 37% named e-mail as their preferred online vehicle for receiving drug information. About 92% say they would be likely or very likely to visit a Website focused on products for their ailments, and 83% would be interested or very interested in receiving educational information about drugs. About 34% say educational e-newsletters are most valuable in helping them make drug-purchasing decisions. About 51% say free samples from a pharmaceutical company would motivate them to purchase a drug.

"These results confirm what we see as a growing trend for pharmaceutical marketers to leverage online technologies and communications to build closer and more direct relationships with the consumers who can benefit from the drug treatments they have to offer," says Jere Doyle, president and CEO, Prospectiv (, which provides customer acquisition, e-mail marketing, and data-analytics solutions. "As a result, we’ve seen many of our pharmaceutical clients allocating more marketing resources on building their direct-to-patient databases through online channels."

Although some people search the Internet for information on conditions, others are searching for better prices on pharmaceuticals. Consumers searched prices for more than 1,500 different brand-name and generic drugs on’s price database in 2004. But just 20 drugs, less than 2% of the total, accounted for 17% of all searches. These drugs stood out because significant savings were offered for them online. On average, consumers could save 54% by comparison shopping online for these 20 drugs. This number is higher than the almost 40% in savings generally available on brand-name drugs. has tracked online drug searches and prices since 2003.

The top 20 drugs are Lipitor, Levoxyl, Fosamax, Viagra, Zocor, Advair Diskus, Celebrex, Zoloft, lisinopril, Norvasc, Premarin, Cialis, Actonel, Plavix, atenolol, Toprol XL, Bextra, Diovan, Effexor, and Pravachol. Lisinopril and atenolol were the only generics to make the list. Five products are for blood pressure and three products for cholesterol. The only drugs to make the list without offering online savings of more than 25% were Pfizer Inc.’s erectile-dysfunction product Viagra and Lilly Icos Inc.’s Cialis. Online savings from licensed pharmacies is 10% for Viagra and 23% for Cialis. Their search popularity may result from high prices and the fact that some online pharmacies sell them without a prescription from a doctor.

In addition to consumers, physicians during the previous four years are increasingly using the Internet to find information about pharmaceuticals, according to health-care marketing company Manhattan Research. About 70% of physicians practicing in the United States actively use the Internet to research pharmaceutical information and related services, making physicians almost five times more likely than the average U.S. adult to use the Internet on a regular basis for pharmaceutical information. Physicians use a wide range of online resources from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Improvements in the breadth, depth, and quality of online offerings determines how often physicians use these resources.

"Back in 2001, we were looking at one-third of physicians who were the early innovators, a small group that was unique in the degree to which they used technology for professional purposes," says Meredith Abreu, VP of research at Manhattan Research ( "Just five years later, the market has completely shifted. Now we see that more than two-thirds of physicians rely on technology and the Internet: ePharma Physicians are no longer early innovators; they are the norm."

The top five corporate pharmaceutical Websites in 2005 were Pfizer (, Merck & Co. (, Eli Lilly and Co. (, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis (, according to Manhattan Research. In terms of market share, Pfizer had 50%, Merck 44%, Lilly 25%, GlaxoSmithKline 24%, and Novartis 22%. The top five pharmaceutical product Websites in 2005 were Advair at 18%, Allegra at 15%, Singulair at 12%, Crestor at 12%, and Pulmicort at 11%.

Sales force upgraded after acquisition

Esprit Pharma Inc. has signed a three-year agreement for software and services to help conduct targeted marketing and sales for Sanctura, an overactive bladder medication that the company has acquired. The software and services comprise Dendrite International Inc.’s First Source Sales Support, Validator data-cleansing services, and WebForce Express.

In July 2005, Esprit acquired U.S. marketing rights to Sanctura from Odyssey Pharmaceuticals Inc. ( Sanctura will be jointly promoted by Esprit and Indevus Pharmaceuticals Inc. ( Approved by FDA in May 2004, Sanctura is indicated for the treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency, and urinary frequency.

"After securing the marketing rights to the new drug Sanctura, it was critical that as an emerging pharmaceutical company we had the support infrastructure in place to drive sales and succeed in the highly competitive overactive bladder medication market," says Martin Silverman, executive director, sales and marketing operations, Esprit ( "Dendrite provides our sales and marketing people with immediate value because their solutions are designed specifically for the pharmaceutical industry. Dendrite’s industry knowledge will be critical as we continue to expand."

Dendrite’s solutions will enable Esprit to develop an understanding of its customers and support services and to make its sales and marketing efforts more efficient. The First Source Sales Support Services suite includes help desk, hardware and asset management, account management, and computer-systems services. These services will streamline the sales process and increase the effectiveness of sales representatives in the field. The Validator data-cleansing services check license data from prescribers, allowing the Esprit sales force to send samples to only valid and current customers.

"We are pleased that Esprit Pharma has selected Dendrite to help drive growth of Sanctura while supporting its expanding sales force and its business initiatives," says Bob Parisi, senior VP, Dendrite ( "Esprit Pharma’s trust in Dendrite to support its sales goals demonstrates our continuous efforts to serve both specialty pharma as well as the big industry players."

Another recent transaction for Dendrite occurred when Warner Chilcott Inc. ( signed a three-year contract extension to use Dendrite’s newly enhanced First Source Sales Applications suite to upgrade its existing sales-force-automation solution. Warner Chilcott is adopting several components of the First Source Sales Applications solution suite, including Mobile Intelligence 4.1 on TabletPC and Analyzer. The company will continue to use BuzzeoPDMA for compliance and regulatory support services. BuzzeoPDMA is the consulting and compliance division of Dendrite.

"We are pleased that Warner Chilcott has chosen Dendrite to help drive the growth and development of its sales force across different sales and marketing channels," says Dave Escalante, VP, product development, Dendrite. "It is important that our partners and customers are completely satisfied and benefit from our state-of-the art products and services."

Sales software for branded products

Alpharma Inc. has deployed mobile pharmaceutical sales-force-automation and customer-relationship-management technology for its branded business unit. About 200 U.S.-based Alpharma representatives and sales managers are using Target Software’s Target Mobile Premium Edition product for data retrieval, sales analysis, and customer management. District managers and regional directors have access to Target Mobile Web, an online application that enhances performance monitoring and management of these sales teams.

Target is upgrading Alpharma’s in-house capabilities as well. The Target Software Support Center is providing a variety of outsourced support services to Alpharma, including help desk, asset management, hosting, and data management. Analysts at Alpharma are using the suite’s advanced data-management and analytical-report generation and distribution capabilities along with its XML synchronization technology to push relevant sales and marketing data to each field user’s Pocket PC in a timely manner.

"Alpharma is committed to delivering exceptional customer service and to providing our representatives with the resources and insights they need to do it," says Bill Schultz, senior manager, sales administration, Alpharma ( "Target Software’s sophisticated technology will greatly enhance our team’s ability to service our customers and increase our effectiveness in the field."

Target’s SFA technology suite is an integrated sales-force-automation, customer-relationship-management, and inventory-management package designed to address sales and regulatory compliance needs that are specific to pharmaceutical companies. Target SFA combines mobile front-end technology and back-end systems and processes and complies with applicable federal and state regulations. Target Software is a subsidiary of the health-care industry data-solutions company Cegedim (

"Alpharma wanted a customized technology solution that would enable more effective management of its customer relationships and more efficient support for its geographically dispersed team of sales representatives," says Joseph Hadfield, director, custom solutions, Target Software ( "Our comprehensive understanding of pharmaceutical sales, data management, and compliance issues enabled us to develop a specialized Target SFA configuration that is uniquely suited to help Alpharma Branded Products better leverage opportunities in the market, deliver heightened service to customers, and increase sales-representative productivity."

Solution for internal sales force

A subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. has selected StayinFront Inc.’s customer-relationship-management software and services solution to drive effectiveness and track field activity with an internalized contract sales force. StayinFront provides enterprise-wide customer-relationship-management applications, decision-support tools, data services, and e-business systems.

Duramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. will use StayinFront Pharma for its customer-relationship-management platform. StayinFront Pharma offers a pen-enabled system that allows field representatives to track sample disbursement, capture electronic signatures, and manage inventory. StayinFront Analytics will be used for data analysis and decision support.

"We had previously worked with StayinFront through our contract sales force and have been very happy with their software and the support they provided," says Phil Gioia, VP, proprietary sales, Duramed ( "When it came time to make a decision about which supplier to select for our internal sales force, the decision was straightforward."

StayinFront CRM is designed to provide a single platform that can manage and integrate all points of customer interaction including sales, marketing, customer-support applications, and the Internet. The object-oriented data models used in StayinFront CRM allow an exact fit system to be configured for use with an existing business structure without programming code. StayinFront Analytics uses drag, drop, and drill technology to quickly and easily analyze sales, marketing, and financial information from databases.

"We are very pleased to establish a direct relationship with Duramed," says Thomas R. Buckley, CEO, StayinFront ( "Our significant experience within the pharmaceutical industry, combined with the unique architecture of our products, allows us to respond rapidly and cost-effectively to companies undergoing accelerated growth and expansion. Duramed is a fast-growing company in the pharmaceutical sector, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership."

In August 2005, StayinFront unveiled new portable hand-held sales-automation products: StayinFront Mobile, version 9.2, and StayinFront Companion, version 9.2. The applications operate on personal digital assistant devices running on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0. StayinFront executives say the products can improve sales-force productivity through readily available client data, purchasing history, company product information, and calendar and tasks lists.

StayinFront Mobile is a hand-held customer-relationship-management application that allows users to operate remotely and synchronize data directly through the Internet from their Windows PDA. Organizations can use StayinFront Mobile to deliver sales, inventory, and customer service data to field users at the point of sale. StayinFront Companion augments StayinFront CRM 9.2 desktop or laptop-based solutions. Users can download segments of information from the StayinFront CRM 9.2 application to their PDAs. StayinFront Mobile and StayinFront Companion feature a tabbed notebook look and feel.

"With StayinFront Mobile and StayinFront Companion, we are able to meet the mobile needs of a broad range of clients," says Kenneth Arbadji, VP of sales, North America, StayinFront. "We deliver our CRM solution on many different platforms, including tablets, laptops, and handheld devices, which allow our clients to deploy our solutions in a manner that best fits their business needs. Our platforms offer field forces both the flexibility and functionality they require to maximize their efforts."

Software agreement extended

Stiefel Laboratories Inc. has extended for three years its contract with Synergistix Data Solutions for sales-force automation. Synergistix’s Call Activity Tracking System was specifically designed for the pharmaceutical industry. The solution provides managers and their sales forces with automation tools and customer-relationship-management support that integrates back-office data and market intelligence with the in-field marketing efforts of pharmaceutical company sales representatives.

"We’re pleased to extend our SFA contract with Synergistix," says Joseph Rabus, senior manager, sales operations, Stiefel ( "They have the ability to meet our needs as our company continues to grow, and they have systems to effectively maintain the policies and procedures that keep us in compliance with the PDMA."

Synergistix develops marketing sales-force-automation solutions for pharmaceutical companies that are required to stay in compliance with the PDMA and other regulatory mandates.

"After working with Stiefel for almost 36 months, we are delighted that they are expressing their confidence in our CATS products and support services by extending their agreement with us for an additional three years," says Don Schenker, president, Synergistix (

Synergistix also has reached an agreement with Innovex, which selected the Call Activity Tracking System as its sales-force-automation solution for two new customers in the United States. The two national sales teams that Innovex provides for customers comprise more than 650 field representatives and managers. Innovex ( is a unit of outsourcing company Quintiles Transnational Corp. (, and provides sales and marketing solutions for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

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AstraZeneca Proposes Mandatory FDA Review of All Pharmaceutical Direct-To-Consumer Advertising

AstraZeneca Proposes Mandatory FDA Review of All Pharmaceutical Direct-To-Consumer Advertising

Recommendation is part of AstraZeneca testimony at this week's FDA hearing on DTC

WILMINGTON, Del., November 01, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AstraZeneca , one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, today proposed a mandatory requirement for pharmaceutical companies to submit all direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Division of Drug Marketing and Communication (DDMAC) for review prior to its use. AstraZeneca made the recommendation in written testimony submitted to FDA's Public Hearing on Consumer-Directed Promotion of Regulated Medical Products.

While already having its own set of DTC guidelines in place, AstraZeneca also adopted PhRMA's Guiding Principles on DTC Advertisements of Prescription Medicine in August. Reflecting those principles, television advertisements launched earlier this year for CRESTOR(R) (rosuvastatin) and NEXIUM(R) (esomeprazole magnesium) are educational in content and serious in tone. AstraZeneca also is the first company to use television to provide patient assistance information in product ads for those unable to afford their medicines.

"The PhRMA guidelines are a solid first step, but the proposals we're making today make clear that AstraZeneca views the PhRMA principles as a floor, not a ceiling," said Tony Zook, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, and President and CEO designate, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP. "If our collective goal is to ensure that accurate and responsible information is communicated to patients and health care providers, then manufacturers, patients, physicians and policymakers ought to welcome such a review process."

The submitted testimony asserts that while the present system and the PhRMA principles rely on voluntary pre-submission of ads, AstraZeneca would support legislation that would require a mandatory review of DTC advertisements by the FDA, but only where DDMAC has the necessary resources to conduct its review within a specific timeframe. Requiring FDA to review and comment on an advertisement prior to its use should preclude a subsequent finding by the FDA that the advertisement is misleading or inaccurate. Manufacturers would be required to incorporate the FDA's comments into the advertisement as appropriate. However, the FDA would maintain the right to halt the use of an advertisement it previously reviewed if, subsequent to the FDA's approval, new scientific or medical information came to light.

"As a leader in DTC advertising we have a responsibility to provide patients, consumers, and medical professionals accurate and balanced information," said Zook. "Communications that clearly discuss treatable conditions and available therapies are paramount to raising disease awareness, fostering the patient-doctor relationship, and helping to ensure that patients take their medicines as prescribed."

AstraZeneca bases its DTC advertising on the following principles:

-- Providing consumers with accurate and clear information about our
medicines and the conditions/diseases those medicines treat in a
straightforward and responsible manner;

-- Reminding patients of the necessity of talking with their doctor
because only their doctor knows which treatment is appropriate for

-- Providing an appropriate balance between benefit and risk information
and clearly communicating such information so patients can have
better-informed conversations with their doctors;

-- Providing information on patient assistance programs, including
Medicare Part D.

As part of its testimony, AstraZeneca discussed the importance of DTC advertising that provides education and disease awareness to consumers, including its cutting-edge "If You Were My Sister" campaign aimed at enhancing the awareness of the risk of breast cancer recurrence. In addition, AstraZeneca said it has committed to fund the first large-scale consumer research study on the use of fair balance in television commercials. Results are expected to be available to the public in early 2006. The company also requested that FDA provide further clarity and guidance to industry with regard to the development of patient-friendly brief summaries.

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of over $21.4 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, oncology and neuroscience products. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $9.6 billion healthcare business with more than 12,000 employees. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

For more information about AstraZeneca, please visit:

CONTACT: Andy Izquierdo of AstraZeneca, +1-202-350-5530,, or Carla Burigatto of AstraZeneca,+1-302-886-5953,

Web site:

Company News On-Call:

Ticker Symbol: (NYSE:AZN)

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CDC: Diabetes on the rise among Americans

CDC: Diabetes on the rise among Americans

About 21 million Americans--almost 7% of the population--have diabetes, and most diabetics have the type 2 variety, which is associated with poor eating habits, being overweight, and getting too little exercise, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of these 21 million diabetics, about 6 million do not know they have the condition, according to a report from Reuters. An additional 41 million people are believed to have prediabetes, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and about 21% of Americans aged 60 years or older have diabetes, according to the report. Last month, the federally run National Diabetes Education Program added a community action kit and brochure to help older adults manage their diabetes, according to the group's Web site:

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Crossing the Digital Divide

Crossing the Digital Divide

Published: November 01, 2005
(After November 09, 2005, this article will only be available to eStat Database subscribers.)

After lagging the broader US population in online usage, African Americans are starting to catch up. A new report from eMarketer explains why.

African-American Internet users make up 10.5% of the total online population, according to eMarketer. There are 18.4 million African Americans online – nearly as many as there are teens online in the US.

"African Americans are a strong potential market for broadband services and for education, career and informational content," says Debra Aho Williamson, Senior Analyst at eMarketer and author of the African Americans Online report. "They will also be among the early adopters of the mobile Internet."

Internet usage among African Americans has risen steadily, from 34% of the adult population in 2000 to 57% in 2005, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The National Urban League has also noted an uptick in usage, as cited in its 2005 edition of "The State of Black America." Last year, twice as many white households had Internet access as black households. This year, there has been an 18-point improvement in access among black households.

"But amid the good news, there is still frustration," says Ms. Williamson. "Just 50% to 60% of African American households have computers, versus 70% of white households. Though African Americans are increasingly using the Internet at work, home access is a strong driver of frequency of use."

Income and educational status are improving, but remain barriers to access.

A greater concern, however, is that the remaining lag in usage may also be self-imposed. "The most worrying factor," says Ms. Williamson, "is that a large percentage of African Americans don't appear to be interested in going online, even if they have the money and education to do it."

"Some of the digital divide is self-imposed," Bruce Gordon, head of the NAACP, told Businessweek in October 2005. "A computer and a DSL line don't cost that much anymore. We need to convince more households to buy computers and go online."

Keep up with the changing times—read eMarketer's new African Americans Online report today.

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Taisho Pharmaceutical Opens Two New Health Information Websites for Mobile Phones

Taisho Pharmaceutical Opens Two New Health Information Websites for Mobile Phones

TOKYO (JCN) Oct 18, 2005- Taisho Pharmaceutical launched two health information websites for mobile phones on October 17.

Naron Fresh C provides useful information on menstrual cramps and the company's proprietary Naron Fresh C painkiller. Preser Ace specializes in hemorrhoids and offers information on Taisho's unique anti-hemorrhoid series Preser.

The company offers mobile phone users three access methods. Users can take pictures of the two-dimensional bar codes provided at the company's website, send a blank mail to (for Naron Fresh C) and (for Preser Ace), or simply type in the mobile address,

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GSK survey: Greater Hep B education needed among Asian-Americans

GSK survey: Greater Hep B education needed among Asian-Americans


A new GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) survey shows that Asian-Americans need hepatitis B education. For example, although one in three of the more than 800 Asian-Americans surveyed say they have lost a family member to the disease, one in five said they were not aware of the risks associated with the virus. According to the GSK report, hepatitis B is an ongoing health problem in Asian-American communities where people are often not screened and children are not always vaccinated. The survey also showed that only one-third of respondents knew all of the ways hepatitis B can be spread . GSK sponsors a Web site,, with information about the disease and content that can be translated into Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. GSK makes the hepatitis B treatment Epivir-HBV. 

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Roche aims to help women cancer survivors find inner beauty

Roche aims to help women cancer survivors find inner beauty


Roche launched a campaign over the weekend that aims to use fashion as a way for women cancer survivors to feel empowered and find their inner beauty. The campaign kicked-off with a seminar at Nordstrom department store in Las Vegas that featured a discussion led by a lingerie designer and a certified oncology nurse. The campaign also has a Web site, which will Web cast campaign events and features fashion suggestions and survival techniques, such as "10 Ways to Live Your Beauty from the Inside Out." The site also provides personal stories of breast cancer survivors and encourages women to wear lingerie as a way to build body confidence. Roche markets the breast cancer drug Herceptin internationally; it is marketed in the U.S. by Genentech, and in Japan by Chugai.



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