Archive for February, 2010

By Daphne Swancutt

I’d planned on writing a brilliant post after last week’s  9th Annual ePharma Summit in Philadelphia. I wanted to explain why this statement made by one of the conference’s speakers always makes me bristle.

“Content remains King.”

Someone else’s brilliant post beat me to it, though (h/t Phil Baumann). Still, I have more, probably less brilliant, stuff to say on this irksome, but important, topic.

First, most of us have heard some version of the content-is-king quip. Few of us understand what it really means. So many seem clueless about the power of content. Hardly anyone in pharma knows how to do it well. Finally, and most important—and I did say something along this line at the conference: Content without context is just a bunch of rubbish. (And, by the way, bad content without context should be rammed down someone’s throat.) (more…)

Just Say Nocebo

By healtheditor

The FDA goes to great lengths to ensure drug makers disclose side effects. This “fair balance” language in ads and marketing materials is intended to ensure patients know the risks involved in taking a medication, and have all the information they need to make an informed decision with the help of their physician. And, to keep drug companies from making bold claims about a drug while minimizing risks.

All of this makes sense.

Except: What if disclosing side effects actually causes a patient to experience them, thus making a patient sicker and ultimately making the drug less effective?

It’s called the “nocebo effect,” the opposite of the “placebo effect.” A nocebo response occurs when the suggestion of a negative effect actually leads to a patient experiencing that side effect. It’s for real and has repeatedly been scientifically proven: (more…)

How HIPAA Ignores Basic Fairness

By healtheditor

A woman calls a reporter and recounts how a hospital has caused her irreparable physical and mental harm. She offers intimate details about her personal health, past illnesses, lifestyle and medical procedures, and offers the names of the physicians who harmed her. The reporter calls the hospital for comment.

Here’s what many attorneys think the hospital can say due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations: “We cannot acknowledge whether this person was ever a patient.”

And, if the hospital wants to defend itself? Forget it.

That’s because HIPAA prohibits a provider from discussing anything about a patient unless the patient has signed a waiver. Even confirming someone was a patient, in the eyes of many provider attorneys, violates HIPAA. This is true even if patients divulge their own protected health information (PHI) to reporters, their 300 friends on Facebook, their 2,000 followers on Twitter, and the numerous forum posts they’ve entered trashing the provider. (more…)


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