Novo Nordisk is partnering with IBM’s Watson on an effort to create a “virtual doctor” that would aid diabetes patients in decision making – around insulin dosage, among other things.
Christmas came early for legions of Martin Shkreli haters last week, as the enfant terrible of vulture medicine was arrested for securities fraud and stepped down from his role as chief of Turing Pharmaceuticals. He’s out on $5m bail. The Times says Shkreli’s antics give other, more legit pharmas cover for price hikes. Others argue that Shkreli’s actions could grease the skids for price controls.
How’s this for a horror movie plotline? Ur-geneticist Craig Venter wants your genome and Google wants your blood. The former is trying to develop “the healthcare equivalent of Google Earth,” while the latter is getting deeper into medtech, with a patent filing for a wearable or handheld needle-free blood draw.
Gilead is selling the Egyptian government Sovaldi at very low prices – and licensing rights to manufacture the drug to Indian and Egyptian companies for a minimal cut of whatever they charge -- in exchange for tight restrictions to ensure that it is not resold on the black market, undermining sales elsewhere. Egypt is combating a horrific hepatitis C epidemic that resulted from a public health campaign in the ‘60s and ‘70s, during which hundreds of thousands were infected after being given anti-schistosomiasis injections with dirty needles. The initiative is regarded as an important test of a means of distributing high-priced drugs to patients in poor countries.
Celebrity marketing – of a sort: sales of Merck’s Keytruda are up on news that the drug sent Jimmy Carter’s melanoma packing, and patients are asking doctors to give them what the former President had.