Digital health news update: Pharma panned in Cannes; FDA has a plan

June 19, 2017 Matthew Arnold

The Cannes judges aren't lion -- pharma ads are creatively-challenged

  • Medical device makers and digital health firms are thrilled with FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s vow to give them further clarity on the regulation of digital health tools. In a blog post, Gottlieb said the agency would soon put forward “a new Digital Health Innovation Plan that is focused on fostering innovation at the intersection of medicine and digital health technology” and “will include a novel, post-market approach to how we intend to regulate these digital medical devices.”
     
  • Pharma lobbyists will likely be thrilled with the recommendations of a presidential executive order on reining in drug prices. The presidential commission informing it is led by a former Gilead lobbyist, and early emphasis, based on documents obtained by Kaiser Health News, is on strengthening intellectual property laws around prescription drugs abroad, streamlining regulation at home and promoting value-based pricing deals.
     
  • AMA delegates voted in favor of a measure calling for DTC ads to include pricing information. It’s hardly the AMA delegates’ first vote to curb DTC ads and it may not amount to much, but look for pharma critics in Congress to pick up the cause.  
     
  • And Nevada adopted a stringent new law requiring drug makers to be more transparent about pricing and to explain insulin price hikes.
     
  • Rich Meyers on pharma’s continuing addiction to DTC TV ads: “What I am seeing is digital budgets getting whacked, and more TV ads.”
     
  • Maybe Facebook, Google and Twitter can talk some sense into TV-ad-addled pharmas. The Big Tech triumvirate was reportedly working prospective pharma clients at last week’s adfest in Cannes, urging them to shift some of that spend to digital. Meanwhile, the Cannes Lions Health Award for pharma creative went to… Err, no one, as the judges found none worthy for a second time since the award’s introduction four years ago, though some pharma companies and brands did win lesser laurels.
     
  • Oscar Health is partnering with Cleveland Clinic to offer cobranded insurance plans in Northeastern Ohio. It’s an interesting play by the digital insurer, rushing into the individual insurance exchanges just as they’re falling apart in many markets, and by Cleveland Clinic to leverage its own considerable digital expertise. Oscar Health has also introduced a “Clinical Dashboard” feature for doctors – a sort of mini-EHR view that “synthesizes a member’s health history, medical encounters, lab results, active and past prescriptions, hospital admits and discharge alerts, allergies, and more into a readable profile of a member’s current state of health” and also “algorithms that parse through claims data, lab panels, and other relevant data feeds to generate alerts around likely health conditions, abnormal test results, and red flags.”
     
  • iEHR? Apple is reportedly working on centralizing medical data the way they centralized your music collection, and former health IT nerd-in-chief Farzad Mostashari calls it a “big f______ deal.”
     
  • Older Americans are increasingly mobile. Per new Pew Research data, 67% of those 65 and older now read the news on a mobile device.
     
  • As we head into what’s likely to be a momentous week in U.S. healthcare policy, here’s a marker for one dystopian vision of a possible future of draconian healthcare inequality: the $40,000 concierge healthcare service

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