Digital health news update: enter the pill-plus-Alexa-Skill

March 16, 2017

by Matthew Arnold, Principal Analyst





  • Scott Gottlieb has gotten the nod for FDA commissioner, pending Senate confirmation. Dr. Gottlieb (M.D.) is a familiar figure in health policy circles, having served as deputy commissioner at FDA under George W. Bush, and was the drug industry favorite for the job given his deep ties to pharma – he’s served on the boards of several large pharmas, proffers generally pro-industry positions from his perch at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, and has led investment in biopharma for a venture capital firm. He’s been an outspoken critic of FDA regs barring off-label communication and an advocate for speeding up generic drug approvals. Industry watchdogs are howling, of course – but it’s a good bet that even many of them are breathing a sigh of relief, as Gottlieb’s nomination forestalls a potentially radical upending of the agency’s functions envisioned by other contenders.







  • Novartis is launching an Ankylosing Spondylitis awareness campaign featuring Dan Reynolds, frontman of the rock band Imagine Dragons. The campaign, dubbed This AS Life, is anchored by a website meant to foster community among young patients, along with a series of short videos in which Reynolds interviews people living with the disease. Novartis’ Cosentyx is indicated for the disease. Fierce writes: “For Novartis, it’s a modern approach to pharma marketing. It feels more like philanthropy and disease advocacy than an advertisement for Cosentyx.”


  • The shift from a consumer-driven, dial-a-random-doctor model of telehealth provision to one centered on value and the patient-provider relationship is underway – the VA’s telehealth program reduced hospital admissions by 20%, and more than half of Kaiser Permanente’s 110 million patient visits happened online or over the phone last year – but it’s incomplete.




  • Read this excellent piece on the gravitational force effected by digital technology and the cross-function sea changes its advances bring to organizations.




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