A decade of community pharmacy funding in England

DAWN CONNELLY | December 15, 2016

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Community pharmacies in England dispense 174 million more prescription items annually than in 2010, a figure that is predicted to rise further. Despite this, total funding for the community pharmacy contract is heading back towards 2010 levels.

Spotlight

Omega Pharma, A Perrigo Company

Omega Pharma, the Branded Consumer Healthcare division of Perrigo, is one of the major companies in the consumer health and personal care industry in Europe.

OTHER ARTICLES

Artificial intelligence in pharma: utilising a valuable resource

Article | March 11, 2020

The pharmaceutical industry is set to greatly benefit from the use of artificial intelligence (AI), due to its wide range of applications. Sydney Tierney discusses how machine learning can enhance marketing, manufacturing and drug trials. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be applied to nearly every aspect of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, to enhance data processing. Adopting the technology will reveal the astonishing potential of the healthcare sector, with success rates flying higher than ever before – especially in the research and development of crucial, life-changing drugs.

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Top Specialty Pharmacy Therapy Areas

Article | March 11, 2020

Accelerated by advancements in cancer treatments and a growing emphasis on personalized and precision medicine, specialty pharmacy represents a rapidly growing sector within the healthcare industry. In fact, the market is projected to grow to $500 billion by the end of this year—up from $200 billion in total U.S. specialty drug spending in 2017. Industry growth of this magnitude creates challenges for those looking to understand and penetrate the market. It can be difficult, after all, to maintain updated information about high-priority drug therapy areas or facility affiliations in a market that’s constantly changing.

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VIEWS AND ANALYSIS

New Dimensions of Clinical Trial Optimization

Article | March 11, 2020

For much of the past three decades, even as methodologies for clinical trial design have advanced and refined, the idea of the optimized clinical trial has centered on optimal patient samples, target enrollment rates, and generally the most efficient uses of scarce resources in the form of patients. Yet anyone who has had to design and optimize a clinical trial, knows that trial optimization occurs within an ecosystem of choices; a series of choices that stretch from the time it takes to implement a clinical trial and submit clinical data for analysis, to general concerns about the cost and power of a clinical trial. A true clinical trial optimization process would try to unify a number of these choices into a single framework for trial optimization. The complexity of clinical trial optimization comes from the need to align priorities on the one hand, and to understand opportunities on the other. We know that at a very general level, clinical operations specialists benefit from simplicity in clinical trial design, and that commercial teams prefer shorter clinical trials to longer ones. We also know that the statistical design of a clinical trial can influence both simplicity and duration. Yet how many sponsors have their clinical operations and commercial teams, sit with their R&D teams to review various statistically nuanced design options? For many sponsors, the reason this process does not occur as often as it should, is because the nuanced statistical parameters of a clinical trial design are very difficult to communicate to non-statisticians. Yet a trial optimization tool like Solara, equipped with data visualizations and the ability to see tradeoffs intuitively, can overcome this challenge. The real challenge is often convincing the non-statistician that they have a stake in clinical trial design. Cytel recently had a client that thought it needed a sample size re-estimation design, because it had a very strict limit on the number of patients it could enroll. After a few hours of working with Solara, though, a statistician discovered that a much simpler Group Sequential Design would deliver comparable power using about the same number of patients. The gains from the more complex design were minimal from the optimization perspective, when understood as the eco-system of choices. Similarly, most commercial teams pressure their clinical trial designers to have the most accelerated clinical trial imaginable, but as we all know, the longer the clinical trial the more likely there will be a higher number of events that demonstrate the effectiveness of a new medicine. So commercialization teams have a stake in longer clinical trials, even when their rule of thumb is to shorten them. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to communicate the benefits of various statistical designs to multiple stakeholders in a way that makes tradeoffs clear. Aligning on priorities early during the clinical trial design process is essential to selecting the optimal clinical trial. Yet for this statisticians need to be equipped for both a strategic and communicative role in the R&D process.

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Comparing HydroxyChloroquine Trials

Article | March 11, 2020

One minor side effect of the pandemic is that perhaps more people will learn about what drug research and clinical trials can really be like. Today’s example: we have a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine from Wuhan that has just published on a preprint server. What’s good is that this one is blinded, randomized, and controlled (like the earlier hydroxychloroquine which one I blogged about here from Zhejiang University, so we can actually talk about it rather than just spend all our time wondering what the heck is going on.

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