Prescription of generic drugs

18 years ago Brazil welcomed the country’s first generic drug registration. According to the National Agency for Sanitary Vigilance Agency (Anvisa), prescription of generic drugs increased 65% from 2015 to 2018. Between February of last year and February of this year, 34% of the 115 million medical prescriptions issued were generic versions.
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State lawmakers and prescription drug

This year, state lawmakers across the U.S. have introduced an unprecedented 160 bills to stem the rising cost of prescription drugs, and have enacted 37 into law.

States are pursuing a range of strategies to tackle drug costs including

  • allowing pharmacists to share lower cost drug options with consumers,
  • enacting laws that authorize the wholesale purchase of drugs from Canada,
  • and requiring drug manufacturers to provide additional data justifying price increases over specified thresholds.

For the past several years there has been increased interest and activity on legislation that relates to the pricing, payment, and costs associated with prescription drugs. Can more be done?

You can find below what the M3 Global Research community answered to this question.

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Brexit and the delay in the supply of medicines

Earlier this year, the Brexit Health Alliance published a paper calling on both the UK and EU to put patients first.

It warned that unless a deal can be reached, medicines and medical technologies could be delayed or, in extreme cases, become unavailable to patients.

The Alliance is concerned that if a decision can’t be reached regarding the future co-operation between the UK and the EU on the regulation and trade of medicines and medical devices that up to 120,000 prostate cancer patients throughout Europe could be affected.

Another area at risk is the future of research into new medicines and medical technologies. Without a plan in place, UK and EU patients could lose out on access to the best treatments and medical devices.

Are you concerned about the impact of Brexit? 
You can find below what the M3 Global Research community answered to this question.

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Artificial intelligence in healthcare

Artificial intelligence tools and inexpensive diagnostic software could soon become as essential to physicians as the stethoscope was in the past. AI can be sliced and diced many different ways and will change the role of physicians in the future.

In addition to altering the function of physicians, two AI approaches currently available, natural-language processing and real-time machine learning, could radically improve physician performance.

“Natural-language processing” helps computers understand and interpret human speech and writing. The software allows computers to review thousands electronic medical records and illuminate the best steps to evaluate and manage patients with multiple illnesses.

The second approach, “Real-time machine learning”, involves using computers to watch and learn from doctors at work. These computers record and analyze how the best physicians achieve superior outcomes.

One of the biggest barriers of AI use in medicine is a culture that often values doctor intuition over evidence-based solutions. While the timing may be unclear, AI will disrupt healthcare landscape.

You can find below what the M3 Global Research community answered to this question.

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Talking to… Dr. An Pham

Dr. An Pham, a pulmonologist from Pennsylvania, USA, shares his opinion on stress and quality of sleep, tobacco taxation, and advancements in procedures and drugs in the treatment of pulmonary conditions.

M3 Global Research is currently conducting studies on various pulmonology-related topics. If you are a pulmonologist or internal medicine physician specialising in pulmonology and practising in the US, please contact M3_US_support@eu.m3.com. If you are not a member of our panel already and are interested in participating in healthcare market research, you can register here.

What inspired you to specialise in pulmonology and what is the most interesting aspect of working in this area?

I did a rotation with a wonderful pulmonologist who became my mentor and made me want to follow in his footsteps.

You are certified in sleep medicine. What are your thoughts on new trends like home sleep tests, for example? Currently, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends home sleep tests should be used in conjunction with a comprehensive sleep evaluation to diagnose obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Mixed feelings. Most of the time this works out, but a lot of times the results come back inconclusive and have to be repeated. Additionally, the Apnoea Hypopnea Index (AHI) is frequently underestimated, which impacts treatment decisions, especially for borderline cases.

Short sleep duration has been associated with a variety of adverse cardiovascular outcomes in cross-sectional and small prospective studies. As someone with more than 20 years of medical practice, during your career have you noticed much indication of lifestyle directly influencing quality of sleep and resulting in other health issues? 

That varies from individual to individual. In general, yes, to some degree, but many patients don’t even realise that.

The percentage of the population in the United States that smoke has declined from 20.9% in 2005 to 15.5% in 2016. However, cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the country. Do you agree with measures trying to address this? The Australian government, for example, has announced it will raise tax on tobacco by 12.5% every year from 2017-2020. Would you agree with something similar being put in place in the US?

Mixed feelings. The effect of cigarettes on health is no longer a secret, so if someone chooses to smoke he or she is willing to take that risk. It’s the same with alcohol. I’m not sure where to draw the line as far as controlling what people do with their lives.

In your opinion, how has technology improved the treatment of pulmonary diseases in the last decade?

 Lung transplants and interventional pulmonology have advanced significantly. Older patients can now be candidates for lung transplants. Many patients can now avoid surgery given new intervention bronchoscopy procedures. Also, new drugs, especially the biologic agents, have improved patient outcomes significantly.