Friday, July 28, 2006

Trials site aims to help pharma keep up with competitive intel

Trials site aims to help pharma keep up with competitive intel
A new searchable clinical trials database aims to help pharma, biotech, device, and diagnostic companies perform research and business development and gather competitive intelligence. The tool, from healthcare database firm DMS Data Systems, is available to subscribers at It contains data from all of the clinical trials registered on, as well as access to archives of 240,000 related news stories and 5,000 company profiles. The site is updated daily and includes an e-mail alert system, powerful search features, and the ability to create PDF documents from search results, according to the company. Most clinical trial databases are intended for doctors or consumers, including one launched recently by the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Trial Participation.
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Site with pharma advertisers has top diet podcast on iTunes

Site with pharma advertisers has top diet podcast on iTunes
Here's some good news for the pharmas that advertise on The Web site's podcast is now the number one diet podcast on iTunes. launched its free audio podcasts several weeks ago, covering topics such as health tips, diet, and fitness. They are available on iTunes or on the homepage. According to, health podcasts are still few and far between, with only 515 podcasts under the fitness and nutrition category on iTunes at the time of the company's announcement. Comparatively, there were 3,036 in the business category, and 4,188 in the comedy category. Pharma advertisers on include Wyeth's acid reflux drug Protonix and Ortho-McNeil's interstitial cystitis drug Elmiron.
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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

interesting new web launches...

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ePharma News from Today

Health search gets easier with new condition-specific sites 
Six new mini sites have been added to the health search engine Health Site Guide, providing another opportunity for pharmas to link their own Web sites to deeper content and a targeted audience. For example, Health Site Guide launched less than two months ago and since then, Merck has requested that the site add a link to MerckSource. The mini sites are available under a section called Health Spotlight, which links users to sites dedicated to six diseases: autism, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and prostate cancer. Like the Health Site Guide itself, the mini sites contain "pre-searched" links that provide direct access to sections of other health Web sites that contain information about the condition. In addition to links to outside sources such as Mayo Clinic and WebMD, the sites include information about the particular condition and links to videos, animations, support groups, and interactive tools.  
Pilot uses iPods to prepare patients for bariatric surgery 
In another example of how iPods can be used in healthcare, a pilot program in Indianapolis is teaching patients about their upcoming bariatric surgery through podcasts. Patients participating in the "HealthPod" program can review audio and video clips about the surgical procedure, pre- and post-operative care, and other information, reports The first iPods were distributed on July 11 and contain patient testimonials, Q&As from surgeons, and a virtual tour of the facility where their surgery will take place. Patients also have access to diet and exercise tips, motivational messages, and recipes. Doctors at a physicians' office in Wales are also using podcasts to educate their patients about using their asthma inhalers correctly (ePharm5, 6/23/06). iPods can be used to store medical information and act as medication reminders, said Grant Winter, president of The Manhattan Bureau, during Pharmaceutical Executive's Marketing and Sales Summit in Philadelphia.  
Pharma-sponsored Spanish site provides infertility information
Organon and Akzo Nobel are sponsoring, a Spanish-language Web site to help couples deal with infertility. The site offers information about topics such as testing for and diagnosing infertility, treatment options, and finding a clinic. Tools for financial planning, coverage of medical treatments, and coping with infertility-related anxiety are also available. Site visitors can register to receive a free monthly e-newsletter about infertility and information about medical developments. The new site is a Spanish-language version of one that launched last year, the companies report. Organon makes the fertility treatments Orgalutran, Pregnyl, and Puregon/Follistim.  
Sen. Frist launches blog, Web site to discuss healthcare issues
There is another Web site and blog dedicated to healthcare issues, this time from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who is also a physician. Currently, the bloggers on the site,, are anonymous, posting entries about drug importation and health costs. Although the site says its mission is to connect physicians, nurses, patients, and other stakeholders in discussions about healthcare and how it will change in the 21st century, some postings are political rants. For example, one post about WalMart's health coverage is entitled, "Elect a bunch of liberals, get bonehead laws." Frist will frequently blog, and according to the Miami Herald, future bloggers will include about a dozen other healthcare professionals. The site is run through Frist's Volunteer Political Action Committee.  
Pharma ties to FDA committee members will get greater scrutiny 
The FDA is taking a closer look at its process for letting people with drug industry ties serve on its advisory committees. Under its new plan, the FDA says it will draft guidance to identify more clearly how waivers are granted and when they will be disclosed to the public. The FDA also plans to make the entire advisory committee process more transparent. For example, it plans to issue guidance about when certain materials used during committee meetings will be made publicly available and more widely publicize committee schedules. The FDA's move to add transparency to its advisory committee process comes just weeks after the Journal of the American Medical Association tightened its conflict of interest policy because a group of study authors didn't disclose all financial ties to the drug industry.  
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Surf TV

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For all mommies... (and perhaps some daddies)

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

CMT Unveils Broadband Video Site

CMT Unveils Broadband Video Site
by Mark Walsh, Tuesday, Jul 25, 2006 6:00 AM ET
MTV NETWORKS' COUNTRY MUSIC TELEVISION channel, CMT, joined the broadband stampede Monday, kicking off a new entertainment Web site that combines unaired TV footage, original material and music videos in hopes of becoming a virtual Nashville for country music fans.

The new site, CMT Loaded, offers five main video-heavy channels: news, music, TV, movies, and highlights from across the network. Loaded will draw heavily on new or additional material from CMT Network shows to provide behind-the-scenes clips, exclusive performance footage and artist interviews. One program, for instance, features unaired auditions from CMT's "Coyote Ugly: I Wanna Be a Coyote" reality TV show. Exploiting the demand for user-generated content, the site will also offer access to unseen videos from the network's "Country Fried Home Videos" show.

"It's that whole YouTube situation--we definitely want to get in on that," said Lewis Bogach, vice president of programming and production at CMT, referring to the wildly popular video-sharing site. In starting a broadband video site to complement its cable network, CMT is also following the model of sister Viacom-owned networks MTV, with Overdrive, and VH-1's Vspot. Some CMT video is already available through Urge, MTV's download site.

Bogach said that Loaded is also creating original shows such as "B Sides," that rely on new and existing material to produce short-form videos ranging from "Video Babes" to "Skynyrd: The Beginnings." "It's a new, branded show that's totally unique to Loaded," said Bogach. More original programming is expected to be introduced in the coming months. To help cross-promote the new site and the cable network, the new vehicle of CMT star Jeff Foxworthy, "Foxworthy's Night Out," will premier exclusively on Loaded on Sept. 1.

And with a free, ad-based model, Loaded is hoping to lasso new and existing CMT advertisers. Signed on as charter sponsor for the site in the first month is AT&T Blue Room, the music video site the phone giant started in 2005. The AT&T ads precede video streams throughout the site and AT&T exclusively sponsors Studio 333 Sessions, which features "un-plugged" performances by upcoming and established country artists. Other initial advertisers include Nationwide, Pfizer and Fruit-of-the Loom.

"Were wrapping Loaded into all our upfront pitches so it's a real integrated effort to sell on-air and online like never before," said Martin Clayton, vice president of digital media for CMT. Because of the tight connection between Loaded and its network parent, he expects CMT advertisers such as Chevrolet and Procter & Gamble to buy space on the new site. Prior to the launch of Loaded, drew 2.3 million unique visitors in June--up from 1.6 million a year ago, according to comScore Networks.

Clayton said CMT's online users skew slightly younger than its TV audience, which has a median age of 40--but both are split about evenly between men and women. When it comes to any advertiser skittishness about the Wild West of broadband media, Clayton isn't overly concerned. "Our user-generated stuff isn't going to be that edgy," he said.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Patients use iPods to get information on surgery

Patients use iPods to get information on surgery
By Michael Schroeder
The Journal Gazette

What’s on your iPod?

The latest from rapper 50 Cent, rocker John Mellencamp’s greatest hits or maybe – just maybe – information about your upcoming surgery.

A pilot program through Indianapolis-based Clarian Health Partners is providing iPods to bariatric patients as part of its ongoing efforts in education. “HealthPod” is the first program in the nation to use the popular pint-sized devices as support mechanisms for bariatric patients, Clarian said when it announced the program this month.

It’s the latest wrinkle in the effort to keep patients informed about all aspects of their care – a far cry from yesteryear, when it was assumed it was better that only the doctor knew what was going on. Medical officials say keeping patients in-the-know helps to allay fears – even if some details may be difficult to bear at first – and increases the likelihood that they will take initiative in their care.

If all goes well with the pilot program, Clarian hopes to use iPod technology to support patients going through cancer, transplant and women’s health programs.

No immediate plans have been announced locally for iPod patient education, although health care providers use Internet and video tools to help educate their patients.

Technological advances like the iPod are a complement to ongoing education but not a replacement for one-on-one interaction, health care officials say. In the same way, many people turn to the Internet to research their options before setting foot in a doctor’s office or hospital.

“Having all that (information) real time is a huge benefit,” said Terri Hohlt, administrator for the Clarian Bariatric Program.

HealthPod allows patients to review audio and video clips about the bariatric program, their procedure, the pre-operative preparation and post operation follow-up at their own pace and review the information as often as needed. The first iPod was dispatched July 11.

Bariatric surgery is a weight-loss procedure for patients who are morbidly obese – typically 100 pounds or more above their ideal weight. Several procedures exist that either reduce stomach size, decrease the body’s ability to absorb calories and nutrients or both – as is the case with the most common bariatric procedure, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

Like all weight-loss measures, success requires a personal commitment to be made to eat properly and exercise.

Patients who participate in the HealthPod program get ready access to patient testimonials, surgeons answering frequently asked questions, a virtual tour of the facilities and specifics about their surgical procedure. They also get access to diet and grocery shopping tips, recipes, exercise routines, motivational messages and, after it’s all said and done, an iPod that is theirs to keep.

Clarian invested about $120,000 in a studio, video equipment, IT infrastructure development, program maintenance and distribution of the iPods, each of which costs $299, minus the health system’s 10 percent corporate discount. Clarian spent about $8,000 on the iPods and set aside $30,000 more for program expansion.

Hohlt stressed that HealthPod is just one component of an educational effort that includes regular face-to-face consultation. Still, the pilot program affords patients an opportunity to share health information with family members at home, she said.

Hohlt knows how hard it can be for patients to swallow the realities of surgery, especially in a sterile environment. She’s had patients walk out of bariatric program classes crying, saying they are scared, after hearing about the particulars of surgery.

“You need your family support to make it through,” Hohlt said.

A colleague at Clarian concurred.

“For increased chances of a successful preparation for and recovery from bariatric surgery … patients need to be steadfast,” Cindy DeBord, registered nurse and clinical resource manager of technology solutions and education for Clarian, said in a statement. “In order to be steadfast, bariatric surgery patients need to be educated with accurate information and motivated by the emotional support of loved ones. An informed patient is less likely to have return visits.”

That sentiment is echoed by others in the medical community.

Like numerous other local health care facilities, Parkview Regional Cancer Center provides patients with on-site Internet access. Staff members provide guidance on useful Web sites – such as the American Cancer Society’s site – and patients can surf on their own. A small one-room library also provides pertinent books, videos, pamphlets and other materials.

But the crux of patient education revolves around personal consultation. Nurses typically spend about 45 minutes to an hour talking with newly diagnosed patients, discussing their condition, laying out treatment options and answering questions. Patients are encouraged to ask as many questions as they wish – even if they have already been answered, said Lynn Gerig, cancer center care coordinator.

“They’re going to know much more about cancer than they ever wanted to know,” Gerig said.

It can be overwhelming given the gravity of the situation and technical nature of the information, she said.

But ultimately education decreases patients’ fear by illuminating the unknown, decreases their potential for side effects (as patients learn how to properly prepare for treatment and what steps to take – such as rest – to recover) and improves their follow-through, said Gerig, who is a registered nurse.

When patients know all their options, “it gives them control … in a very frightening situation,” she said.

The more patients know about their cancer and treatment, the more equipped they are to monitor their health and take necessary precautions. After treatment, that could mean the difference between making a preventive visit to the doctor’s office when symptoms first arise and landing in the emergency room in dire condition, she said.

Like others in her profession, Gerig couldn’t think of any good reason to withhold information from patients, even if some details are sometimes hard to stomach. She joked that she knows enough is enough when a patients’ eyes glaze over, but she expressed serious concern about the well-being of those who prefer to remain in the dark.

“There always are individuals who say, you know, ‘I don’t want this (information) … just do what you have to do,’?” Gerig said. She accepts that this is how some patients cope but worries that it inhibits optimal care.

Many of these patients experience a high level of anxiety about treatment – even to the point where some may not be able to hold still during a procedure – and they may find it hard to trust their doctors, leave out useful personal medical information and lack proper follow through, she said.

Luckily, Gerig said most people don’t defer education on their condition and treatment options.

Kim Harris, director of clinic services at Fort Wayne Orthopedics, agreed. She said the average patient is more knowledgeable – in large part – because of the Internet.

Harris points patients to the company’s own Web site and partner WANE-TV, Channel 15’s Web site. The latter includes a tool called “Interactive Human Atlas” which provides 3-D video clips on topics such as ACL (or anterior cruciate ligament) tears.

Once in the office, a patient’s education entails personal consultation and literature, mainstays in the field. Whether patients just want the basics or want more in-depth information – as most seem to – that’s what they get, she said.

“We try to tailor the education to what they are looking for,” Harris said. She’s quick to add that there’s a pay-off for patients who take advantage of Internet resources, like the Web sites, before they come in. “I think they get more out of their visit.”

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Podcasts Lure Big Advertisers

Podcasts Lure Big Advertisers
Monday, Jul 24, 2006 7:00 AM ET
BIG ADVERTISERS ARE PAYING ATTENTION to podcasts. According to The Economics of Podcasting, a report released Thursday by Nielsen Analytics, the most successful podcasts get as many as 2 million downloads a month. Podcast advertisers include Sony Pictures, Shell Oil, EarthLink, Warner Bros., HP, HBO, and GoDaddy. More than 6 percent of U.S. adults--about 9 million Web users--have downloaded podcasts in the past 30 days, the report concluded, echoing estimates released last week by Nielsen//NetRatings. Most podcast users are male--more than 75 percent. To reach consumers, advertisers are putting their messages within the program or using endorsements from podcast hosts.

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