Pharma grinding to a hault?

More evidence recently published by the 2011 Pharmaceutical R&D Factbook indicates that the pharma industry’s productivity is continuing to decline. Fewer new molecular entities were launched in 2010 than in any other year in the past decade. The number of drugs entering Phase I, II and III clinical trials is also declining. R&D expenditure has also dropped to a three year low of $68 billion.

The future is now: FDA approves first pill with digital sensor

The Internet of Things has been a big buzz word in technology for a couple years now. The Internet of Things refers to how everyday devices are becoming connected or digitised with technology. Who would have thought that pills could be digitised and that prescribed medicines could become part of The Internet of Things? It happened this past November when the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the first pill with a digital sensor. What does this mean for medicine? It means that the prescribing doctor can be notified when a patient takes their medication; or maybe even more importantly, if they didn’t take their medication as prescribed.

Conflicting values of biomedical innovation?

The term ‘value’ is at the centre of an increasingly explicit debate in the fields of health and healthcare policy. ‘Value’ is understood in many different ways and diverging interests are being mobilised. How are values in biomedical innovation being expressed, represented, materialised and aligned or contested in different areas of biomedicine? How do values embedded in regulation, public health, economic policies, healthcare provision, technology assessment, producers’ strategies, and patient organisation movements shape biomedical innovations? At an ESOF discussion in Toulouse multidisciplinary perspectives on value between panel members and public participants will be explored and possible pathways to common solutions identified that promote socially acceptable biomedical innovation in the European context.

Stockout: vaccines that don’t arrive

The lack of vaccines is one of the biggest problems for immunisation in South Africa. The shortage of antigens is influenced by external problems, such as issues with pharmaceutical production and internal problems, such as poor management of stock, poor training, or staff shortages. It is a complex subject, in which the causes converge but there are many parties at fault. This is the fourth piece of a series from a data journalism initiative called ‘Medicamentalia – Vaccines ‘ brought to you by the Civio Foundation.

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Innovation has a role to play in chronic diseases prevention

Thanks to advances in technology, the ubiquitous smartphone is not just a way to connect with friends. It also becomes a kind of “doctor in our pocket”. Health apps, wearable sensors and fitness trackers are all contributing towards ‘more and better data’ for monitoring everything from caloric intake to steps taken on a daily basis. If we want to better understand, manage, and prevent chronic diseases, then new technologies and innovations like these are vital.

When negative data fails patients by publication omission

Half of all clinical trials never see the light of day. There are regulations in Europe and the US; they are often ignored. But public pressure has begun to push the pharmaceutical industries to make trial data available. However, in a world where industry, clinicians and medical publishers are complicit in not having clinical trials published in full, it may be necessary to give ownership of clinical data back to patients to gain greater transparency and accountability.

Special issue on Research Activism – Print Edition

As waves of researchers’ protest are about to invade the streets of Paris, Rome and Madrid, among others, there is a clear sense of déjà vu in these white coats with large signs walking the avenues of European capitals. What is new, however, is that these protests on longer follow a logic of being centred around national territories. They have become supra-national and aim to target the central power in Brussels as much as national governments.

European Elections coverage – Print edition

In the past few weeks, European elections debates to elect members of the European Parliament (EP) have been in full swing. The vote will take place between the 22nd to 25th May 2014, depending on the country. In most territories, the mainstream press appears to have little concern over higher education, research and innovation. It is also worth distinguishing the debate taking place in academic and research circles. There, the debate is only touching a few of the issues pertaining to research and education that would need to be addressed.The EuroScientist following its vocation as a participatory magazine, has called upon its network of loyal readers, supporters and reporters to gather an overview of issues that are relevant to scientists debated during the various campaigns across Europe. This article will give our readers food for thought by providing an overview and some anecdotal evidence of the debates that have taken place both in the mainstream press and in academic and research circles.