Media irresponsibility

KEY TAKEAWAY: There is nothing worse than promising very sick or dying patients with false hope of a “miracle cure”. Yet, Forbes and other media outlets, like The Hill, have spread the story about a small team of Israeli scientists who are telling the world they will have the first “complete cure” for cancer within a year. And not only that, but they claim it will be brief, cheap and effective and will have no or minimal side-effects. This company is another Theranos?

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The digital health ​market scam

  • igital health global venture capital broke records again in 2018 with 698 deals raising a total of $9.5bn.
  •  Funding for the digital health sector continues to rise, at a 32% increase year-over-year – a pace that will be difficult to maintain this funding pace going into 2019 unless there is “a clear exit path for investors,”.
  • In the United States, digital health companies raised close to $7 billion in 2018 with the remaining $2.5 billion coming out of other countries.
  • Most doctors say they have not recommended any general health and wellness apps or wearables to their patients. (Source: Kantar)
  • For medical-grade devices, the results are similar, with 70% of doctors saying they have not recommended medical-grade web-connected devices to their patients. (Source: Kantar).
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The healthcare debate the media refuses to acknowledge

  • Drug prices continue to fuel media stories and drive politicians to action but, for the most part, the real driver of high healthcare costs is being ignored.
  • The total percentage of non-elderly people with insurance and affordability problems to 26.2%.
  • The number of US adults with diabetes increased from 21.2 million in 2003-2004 to 30.2 million in 2013-2014, while the prevalence of obesity rose from 31.7% to 37.5% over the same period.
  • Millennials are on track to be the most obese generation.
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Pharma is obsessed with dominating

  • Companies that live in such a zero-sum world don’t “earn market share” from a competitor, they “conquer the market.” 
  • They don’t just serve their customers, they “capture” them and they don’t treat them like customers.
  • It’s easier to buy competitors than invest in R&D now.
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Millennials not going to the doctor (apps don’t replace physicians)

  • A Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey and followup analysis by Kaiser Health News found that 26% of 1,200 respondents said they didn’t have a go-to primary care physician.
  • Nearly half (45%) of 18-to-29-year-olds said they didn’t have a primary care doctor.
  • Millennials tend to want to have access to care right away, they want it immediately and they want to be able to see a doctor quickly. 
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About that DTC study on drug pricing…

  • A new study measured the results of including drug prices in DTC ads.
  • For the high-priced drug, the price disclosure significantly reduced the likelihood of participants asking their physician about the drug, asking their insurer about the drug, researching the drug online, and taking the drug.
  • However, results were significantly mitigated when a modifier was included about out-of-pocket costs.
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The jungle of online health information

  • 75 percent of adults have searched online for health-related information in the last year.
  • When faced with an actual or potential diagnosis of cancer, most people are inclined to consult Dr. Google, often before they see a real live medical expert.
  • It’s easy for people to land on a site filled with misinformation that leads them to make decisions that may not be in their best interests,” said Dr. Lidia Schapira, medical oncologist at Stanford University Medical Center.
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