Law of the land can help or destroy the Pharmacovigilance system

U.S. Supreme Court, ruling allows shareholders to sue Pharma and biotechnology companies for failing to report adverse drug events/ dangerous side effects.

Maker of homeopathic remedies Matrixx Initiatives, was sued by investors once it came to know their marketed nasal spray linked to a string of instances in which people using the treatment lost their sense of smell. The adverse events were reported back to the company by several medical professionals and patients, but never amounted to a statistically significant group. Matrixx argued it wasn’t responsible for reporting scattered and unreliable anecdotal evidence of adverse events. But the supremed court said No

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-22/drugmaker-investor-lawsuits-backed-by-u-s-supreme-court-4-.html

Compare that to the Indian Law System

Madras High Court in India allowed a stay on immediate withdrawal of drugs banned  due to Severe Side Effects. The  pediatric doses of pain reliever nimesulide and anti-cold medicine phenylpropanolamine banned in  market due to harmful side effects, Indian Drugs Manufacturers Association & Confederation of Indian Pharmaceutical Industries successfully managers to convince the legal system to set aside the safety of patients & to get a reversal of the ban for a short period. DCGI has a long way to go before effective PV can be enforced in India. The systems failed in France very recently even with the strong arm run EU PV policy in place,

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/hc-stayimmediate-withdrawalbanned-drugs/429458/

The French Regulatory system was rocked recently in its disability to handle PV issues in proper maner. A report from the Inspection Generale des Affaires de Santé (IGAS). Mediator a lipopenic  drug (a drug to lower fat levels in the blood) was discovered to have appetite suppressant qualities and was heavily over-prescribed by doctors whose patients wished to lose a little weight. Controversially, the drug stayed on the market despite a succession of warnings over its side-effects, which include heart valve disease and pulmonary hypertension. It is thought that as many as 2,000 people may have died from the severe Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) incurred by their use of the drug. However, already in 1997 the drug was banned in the US and in Switzerland ; with France following suit 12 years later. The European Medicines Agency warned in 2002 of the risks associated with the medicine, however the warnings went unheeded.

http://www.imt.ie/opinion/2011/03/regulating-the-regulator.html)

Clinical Trial and Pharmacovigilance process automation

I had posted last month about the Pegasystem pharmacovigilance solution.

Pega Systems the industry leader in Business Process Management (BPM) software solutions, released a Pharmacovigilance case processing software.

Pega has experience in clinical trial space, specifically in Clinical Trial Management. The solution is designed for rapid deployment to quickly leverage existing adverse event processing rules and requirements and can produce specialized documentation to help ensure compliance in a validated environment.

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I have not come across any new updates after that. But apparently Accenture  has acquired Knowledge Rules, Inc., a Philadelphia-based consulting company that focuses exclusively on implementing and integrating business solutions using Pegasystems’ Business Process Management (BPM) software.

Accenture has a very large Pharmacovigilance division serving several large pharmaceutical companies. It would not be very suprising if Accenture roles out the BPM software for their pharmacovigilance services.

I think that is a possibility because Accenture  has announced plans to use the applications for all its Fortune 500 customers.

I would predict that United Health Group could be one of those customers as they are an existing customer of Pega.

Speaking of which Pega sounds like an attractive target Oracle can acquire

MNC Pharma tries to capture the $1.9 billion Indian OTC market by selling Drugs through India’s 170000 post offices

The multinational pharma companies are planning to approach the health ministry with a proposal calling for the utilisation of the 1.7 lakh post offices across the country to distribute over the counter drugs.

The move if implemented would increase the reach of OTC drugs by 20%.

The plan initially submiited 2 years ago requires  the approval of and coordination between department of pharma under the ministry of chemicals and fertiliser, department of post under ministry of communications and the health ministry.

The Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), an association of multinational pharma companies, is in the process of reviving the proposal as top officials at the health ministry have shown interest in discussing it and considering its implementation

The Indian over-the-counter (OTC) medicines market, the 11th largest globally, is pegged at $1.9 billion. It is the second fastest growing market globally with a growth rate of around 9% per annum.

Ranjit Shahani, country president, Novartis gives the analogy of the how petrol pumps have metamorphosed into multi-utility centres in last two decades. “One simple legislation can change that for over the counter medicines,”

Would you support this, even in US where people are more educated and FD keeps a watch on drug advertisement , people are often misguided.

India is yet to come up with a strong and comprehensive adverse drug event reporting infrastructre.

Harvard Medical Schools new automated safety surveillance system provides faster early warnings in the postmarket evaluation of medical device safety

Implementation of a computer-automated safety surveillance system of clinical outcomes registries for cardiovascular devices resulted in the identification of a drug-releasing stent that had significantly higher rates of major adverse cardiac events than similar stents

“Monitoring the safety of approved medical products is of vital public health importance, given that in clinical practice such medical products are often used in numbers far greater and in patient populations more diverse than when studied in premarket evaluations and clinical trials,” the authors write. “Ensuring the safety of medical devices challenges current surveillance approaches, which rely heavily on voluntary reporting of adverse events. Automated surveillance of clinical registries may provide early warnings in the postmarket evaluation of medical device safety.”

“In conclusion, automated safety surveillance of medical devices is feasible using automated monitoring tools applied to detailed clinical registries and can efficiently help identify emerging potential postmarket safety risks. Automated medical product surveillance can complement existing public health strategies, providing an additional mechanism to assess the comparative safety of approved medical products and improve the quality of health care delivered,” the authors write.

 

Original article on

http://www.scientificcomputing.com/news-DA-Computer-automated-System-for-Identifying-Medical-Devices-with-Safety-Risks-111110.aspx

FDA has poor oversight in medical device monitoring and post market surveillance

According to a British Medical Journal, article on the effectiveness of post-market surveillance, medical device manufacturers “often fail to properly conduct safety studies” and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “provides scant oversight” in post-approval monitoring of these devices.

The article is published by Jeanne Lenzer and Shannon Brownlee, called  “Why the FDA can’t protect the public,” on British Medical Journal, November 6, 2010.

Lenzer is a medical investigative journalist, and Brownlee is an instructor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

“Most devices and drugs on the market are supported by studies that are underpowered to detect rare but potentially life threatening events that can kill tens of thousands of people if the drug or device is widely used,” the authors write. “The impracticality of conducting large scale clinical trials before approval for every drug and device places a burden on post-approval surveillance.”

The authors also note that “FDA’s ability to detect potentially unsafe devices is further hampered by the fact that many post-approval studies required as a condition of the device’s approval are not conducted or conducted so poorly as to be meaningless.”

FDA’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database is its most “comprehensive source of information about the safety and effectiveness” of medical devices, the authors claim. But they cite several problems associated with this “imperfect tool,” especially “the fact that manufacturers—not the FDA or any other independent body—can decide whether the device is connected with a negative outcome.” Other alleged problems with MAUDE include (i) “the voluntary nature of the reports,” (ii) “fear of litigation by surgeons and others in a position to report the event,” and (iii) “failure by patients and healthcare providers to connect new medical problems with a device.”

In response to the report, an FDA spokesperson reportedly said that the agency considers “very seriously” post-approval device monitoring, that FDA has “a variety of initiatives underway to bolster postmarket surveillance” and that the agency is reworking its 510(k) premarket approval process for lower-risk medical devices.

That FDA response comes  little more than two weeks after the FDA rescinded approval of the Menaflex Collagen Scaffold knee replacement device. The agency admitted that the medical device was approved without being properly researched due to political pressure and the overly flexible requirements of a program designed to fast-track certain devices through the approval process.

It also comes just three months after DePuy Orthopaedics issued a recall for 93,000 artificial hips, which had failure rates of 12% and 13%. Many individuals who received one of the defective hips are pursuing a DePuy hip lawsuit, alleging that doctors were expressing concerns to DePuy about a higher-than-expected failure rate for the metal hip system before the recall. The implants have been found to shed metal particles into the bloodstream, which could lead to cobalt toxicity.

A study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released in June 2009 found significant shortcomings in FDA medical device approval procedures, and a heavy reliance on the 510(k) process. The GAO report identified gaps in the FDA reviewing process, deficiencies in the agency’s postmarket surveillance, and also found that FDA has not kept up with regular inspections of medical device manufacturing facilities. Many devices which should be put through the more stringent premarket approval process are put through the premarket notification process instead, the GAO found.

Health Council of Canada says some prescription drugs approved for use in Canada may be less safe than consumers think, due to poor Pharmacovigilance/Post Market Surveillance rules

Canada’s Food and Drugs Act relies on drug companies to submit adverse reaction reports, which drug users submit if they suspect they are experiencing negative side effects. Drug users also can submit the reports directly to Health Canada, but it still leaves the government to rely on outside parties to report problems.

In 2009, Health Canada received 27,496 adverse reaction reports — a number that has increased steadily over time. Health Canada needs the power to require pharmaceutical companies to conduct more post-market monitoring and to share the results, Abbott said. The council also would like to see the federal government hold the power to impose penalties for companies that do not comply.

Health Canada is already modernizing its regulations to allow for stronger monitoring after the drug goes to market. The government also has established a Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network to study the safety of drugs in the market.

The Canadian pharmaceutical industry welcomes modernized regulation, said Mark Ferdinand, vice-president of police research and analysis for RX&D, the pharmaceutical industry association in Canada.

However, Ferdinand said consumers should recognize that there is already a formal, rigorous post-market reporting system in place.

“No one has any interest in seeing a drug used inappropriately in the real world. A lot of people have invested a lot of time, effort, certainly money … to ensure what they are producing and what they are providing to patients is safe and effective,” he said.

Ferdinand said drug safety often depends on the way medicine is prescribed. He said it has to be “the right medication, for the right person, at the right time.”


70% of Pharmaceutical organisations outsource at least one PV activity. This level is expected to increase to 80% by 2012

Currently, 70% of Pharmaceutical organisations outsource at least one PV activity. This level is expected to increase to 80% by 2012.

Oracle starts the Oracle Health Sciences Institute (OHSI), in partnership with Sun Labs

The Institute is focused on research that will accelerate IT innovation to advance personalized medicine and the delivery of safe and effective   treatments and health care services to patients around the globe. OHSI will work in tandem with academic research centers, focusing on a targeted set of research areas fundamental to the R&D and health care delivery challenges facing health sciences organizations today. Research priorities currently include: artificial intelligence and semantic technology; genomic, genetic and phenotypic data analysis; data mining to support optimization of clinical trials; and predictive algorithms and other technology to advance patient safety and provide advanced decision support at the point of care.Academic institutions interested in collaborating with OHSI in these focus areas should contact OHSI representatives at Oracle http://linkd.in/bXf98c
Oracle starts Oracle Health Sciences Institute (OHSI), in partnership with Sun Labs. This is exiting news and I hope we get to see the participation of Open Source Drug Development Network (OSDD) and initiative by CSIR India earlier supported by Sun Microsystems

One in 10 hospital prescriptions in UK ‘is wrong

I am not concerned about the number of mistakes made in UK hospitals. As a pharmacist I am concerned, if UK has such a high rate of medication errors, then what would be the rates in countries like India, where Pharmacists almost never over ride the prescriptions and physicians treat more than 100 patients every day.

Read about the study published in Gurdian which states that   Doctors in UK make mistakes in about 8% of the prescriptions they write for hospital patients, and depends on pharmacist and nurses to correct them- the study was commissioned by the General Medical Council (GMC).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/03/prescription-errors-junior-doctors

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6942289.ece

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/dec/03/junior-doctor-prescription-mistakes-study

India looses USD 1 Billion Investment in Drug R&D to China due to lax Indian patent laws-

Did I really read the news correct or was I just plain drunk on a weekend while reading it. Turns out it is true. Just a week after the Novartis CEO has blasted the Indian IP laws, Novartis has announced plans to invest 1 Billion US Dollar in China for Drug Discovery and Developement. The plan calls for hundreds of new hires and new research facilities in Changshu.

Novartis is  waging a high-stakes court fight over patent protection for the cancer blockbuster Gleevec, No wonder the Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella had enough and announced that the subcontinent’s reputation as a low-cost R&D center is losing its luster.

In 2006, Novartis made a commitment to build a $125 million R&D facility in Hyderabad. The next year, after the company lost a patent battle over its blockbuster cancer drug, Gleevec (
I thought China also didnt had a great IP law to speak of. How many times we saw news stories about fake chinesse counterbrands.
But here is the upside , the chineese dont challenge the patents in Courts. China is behind India in pharmaceutical chemistry, so they are not so keen in spending time to another way to manfacture the drug. But China is way ahead of India in Medicinal Chemistry,  pre-clinical and toxicological study infrstructre. SFDA the Chineese equivalent of FDA, is taking a lot bold steps and investment to ensure fast trial registration, proper Pharmacovigilance reporting etc. net net it is faster to run R&D in China
India is yet to have solid infrastructre or plans for clinical trial monitoring or pharmacovigialance . The WHO fund for a national pharmacovigilance monitoring policy and infrastructre has already elasped in 2008. And we are yet to see any increase in number of adverse events reported in India .
India will make similar progress, he opined, when Indian pharmaceutical companies have more IP they want to protect. Then, the companies will force the government to act and increase IP protection.
Pfizer announced it would close six out of its 20 R&D facilities around the globe as part of its post-Wyeth-acquisition consolidation but the company’s Shanghai R&D operation is not affected – an implicit endorsement of China’s R&D.
Ok we Indians will wait till then , and just pray that the Red Dragon is not going to burn the Indian the pharma industry till that time

India begins serious efforts to ensure patient safety- Rejoice if you are in US Obama is going to penalize hospitals with high one-month readmission rates for transitioned patients

MUMBAI: A mop left inside a patient’s stomach after a surgery, an expired drug administered to an ailing person or a hospital-acquired

infection-medical errors are a nightmare for both doctors and patients. Such incidents, which are usually swept under the carpet, will now be recorded and reported to an independent body in India. This will be done in an attempt to streamline and improve the Indian healthcare system.

Indian Confederation for Healthcare Accreditation (ICHA), a non-profit organisation consisting of various associations, would spell out clear-cut healthcare standards, train employees of hospitals, nursing homes and clinics in spotting medical errors and adverse reactions as well as encourage them to report the same in order to create a database

ICHA is organizing the first Patient Safety Conference in India on November 27-29 at Delhi. India is still trying to increase the number  Adverse Event Reporting related to cliical trials and post makret surveillance. Indian community doctors and helath expert swamped with treating more ethan  hundered patients every day ( yes I mean more than Hundered, average Indian physician attemps to more than 100 patients in Indian community hospital and governments run medical colleges), has no time to report Adverse Event and Drug Safety concerns on time and effectively. This is despite the formation of a National Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance Programe supported by severl regional centres.

In United States one in five patients discharged from the hospital experiences an adverse event within three weeks. Two-thirds of those outcomes are drug-related, with many of them potentially avoidable, according to a recent report issued by an expert panel of internists, hospitalists and emergency physicians.

The Transitions of Care Consensus Policy Statement published jointly in August in the Journal of Hospital Medicine and the Journal of General Internal Medicine by the American College of Physicians, the Society of Hospital Medicine, the Society of General Internal Medicine, the American Geriatrics Society, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

The panel said hospitals and outpatient physicians should be held accountable for properly transitioning patients, coordinating care, involving family in decision-making and communicating key information in a timely fashion. The group also called for national standards and performance metrics.

It proposed that the following elements about patients should always be communicated as quickly as possible:

  • Principal diagnosis and problem list.
  • Medication list, including over-the-counter items.
  • Medical home or transferring physician or institution and contact information.
  • Patient’s cognitive status.
  • Test results and pending test results.

The recommendations come on the heels of increased scrutiny of how well doctors and hospitals prevent readmissions. President Obama has proposed bundling payments for hospitalization and care delivered within 30 days after discharge, penalizing hospitals with high one-month readmission rates. The administration says the move would save $8.4 billion and give hospitals more financial incentive to reduce the 20% 30-day readmission rate among Medicare patients.

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