Predictions for Healthcare in 2012

February 21, 2012 · Leave a comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc., MPH

While the Mayans might have been good at developing a cosmic calendar with 27,000-year cycles, I will try to venture only one or two years out and predict some developments within the healthcare system.

I dare say the Mayans had great foresight about changes, even if they never invented the wheel, but clearly they missed the fact that 2012 was an election year in the United States, and that predicting change became no mean task with orders of magnitude of difficulty. Nonetheless, I will attempt to gaze into my crystal ball and give my predictions for the next little while.

The promise of personalized medicine has been swirling around in the minds of brilliant people for well over a decade now, but we are patiently awaiting the results to impact our daily lives. Throughout the past 10-15 years, advances in the personalized medicine field have been somewhat slow to appear on the landscape. We should not be too discouraged by this advancing timeline, since we are still waiting for a cure for cancer after many decades of highly-funded research. Yet, each day, scientists are discovering more and more biomarkers with the potential to move us closer the reality of personalized medicine.

These biomarkers are not only predicting diseases—they are identifying companion diagnostics, indicating response levels to ... read more »

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Companion Diagnostics – Partnering for Personalized Medicine

September 15, 2010 · 3 comments

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc, MPH

When the Human Genome Project was finally completed with the mapping of the genetic sequences of our DNA, there were many predictions about how the face of medicine would change forever. We would finally figure out how to cure diseases linked to genetic aberrations, find ways to enhance our interaction with the environment, and develop medicines that are tailored to fit our unique genome. But a decade later, we are all aware of just how painfully slow progress has been to date. However, one area that is advancing steadily is the use of companion diagnostics.

Everyone was quick to point to Herceptin and the prototype example of a diagnostic test that was required to be use prior to prescribing this chemotherapeutic agent for women with breast cancer that over-expressed the HER2/neu gene. But now there are more examples of such companion diagnostics, and the list continues to grow.

What does all this mean for the future of medicine, and the interaction among the diagnostic and biopharmaceutical companies? When we can go to a physician’s office, be correctly diagnosed, and then given a medicine to take knowing in advance that we will have a high probability of responding, without suffering from annoying side effects, then we will have personalized medicine.

Does that mean that people will have ... read more »

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Europe's IMI Sets Pace for Public/Private Partnerships in Pharmaceutical Development

June 23, 2010 · Leave a comment

A recent PharmaTimes article highlighted the efforts of the largest public/private partnership in the pharmaceutical industry, Europe’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).  The IMI, jointly funded for 2 billion euros by the European Commission and the industry group, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), seeks to address the development and delivery issues for critical new medicines that may be too large for an individual institution or company to tackle alone.

According to PharmaTimes, the IMI focuses on “unmet needs common to the pharmaceutical industry and patients – the key concepts being pre-competitive research, open innovation and patient-tailored therapies.”   Now in its third year accepting proposals, the initiative will target a number of new developments in pharmaceuticals and patient education, including the development of personalized medicine approaches for the treatment of diabetes and a variety of training programs for creating “informed patients.”

Ongoing projects like the Innovative Medicines Initiative and Italy’s Drug Development and Discovery Unit (see our previous post about the D3 here) are opening up greater opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry to pool its resources and work with the medical community for better public health.

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Personalized Medicine Shaping Pharma's Future

May 25, 2010 · 1 comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc, MPH

I have spent the last 30 years directly or indirectly involved with the pharmaceutical industry. I worked for two international pharmaceutical companies and have advised many other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies over the past few years. So I undoubtedly have a biased view in favor of this industry and its aims to promote health while making a reasonable profit for its research efforts.

While I can appreciate all the activities undertaken by pharmaceutical companies to develop medicines to improve the health of people throughout the world, I can also understand why many people have a jaded view of these companies. The perception that pharmaceutical companies take advantage of sick people and make them pay high prices for medicines to make them better is one that prevails among many societies. Yet, through the invention of antibiotics to control infectious diseases, and vaccines to prevent many childhood diseases, and many other products for a variety of diseases, the pharmaceutical industry has made significant improvements to healthcare. In addition to the high cost of medicines, few people realize that the total cost of pharmaceutical products as a portion of the total healthcare spending in the United States is less than 10%. Yet, many people believe that medicines are far too expensive.

Pharmaceutical companies, for the most part, ... read more »

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