Category: Pharma

COVID-19 vaccinations are going poorly in MA. I’m quoted in the Boston Globe

published date
January 29th, 2021 by

For months we’ve been focused on the shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses. That’s still a problem, but for now the bottlenecks are further downstream. Massachusetts is struggling to get the doses distributed and administered. More than half sit unused. Even if we have 10 million (or a billion) doses we’d still be stuck.

In today’s Boston Globe (State’s hope of vaccinating almost everyone by the end of summer depends on a lot going right) I encourage the state to assume there will be enough vaccines and just get them out to people.

“We’re only using half of what we’ve been given,” said David Williams, president of Health Business Group, a Boston management consulting firm. “It’s not an excuse to say because supplies are slow, we can just sit back. We should assume there’ll be more supply, and we owe it to the citizens of Massachusetts to be ready when it comes.”


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Javara CEO Jennifer Byrne Talks Clinical Trials and Integrated Research

published date
January 21st, 2021 by

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Javara CEO, Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne has spent her whole career in clinical trials, working on more than 8000 studies. So she knows a thing or two about the needs of pharma sponsors, clinical sites and patients. As founder and CEO of Javara, Jennifer is spearheading a new concept: the integrated research organization or IRO, a novel model for bringing clinical research into the healthcare ecosystem.

In this episode of the HealthBiz podcast, Jennifer shares her journey –how it was influenced at various times by her father and her mother, and what she sees coming in the post-pandemic era.

Jennifer is a big reader. She’s currently re-reading Jesse Itzler’s Living with a SEAL. He’s a serial entrepreneur who’s married to the founder of Spanx. She’s always reading the Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business by Charles Duhigg.

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Check out the rough (AI generated) transcript.

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By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

ICER founder Dr. Steve Pearson explains COVID-19 remdesivir pricing model

published date
November 12th, 2020 by

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Dr. Steve Pearson

Drug pricing is the hottest topic in healthcare, and ICER founder Dr. Steve Pearson is the coolest person to discuss it with.

In this episode of the HealthBiz podcast, Steve describes how the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) compiles and analyzes clinical evidence to estimate the fair value of treatments for cancer and other serious illnesses. ICER has been especially active during the pandemic, developing a pricing model for remdesivir and other COVID-19 therapies that’s being used in the United States and by health technology assessment agencies around the world.

For fun, he has been reading Paradise Lost by John Milton.

This is the second episode I’ve recorded on COVID-19 drug pricing. Check out the first one: Remdesivir powers activate! with Dr. Surya Singh.

The HealthBiz podcast is now on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts and  many more services, making it easy to subscribe.

Below is a rough (AI-generated) transcript of the episode.



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By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group

 

Pharma jumps into digital health: Podcast interview with Medullan CEO Ahmed Albaiti

published date
October 20th, 2020 by

The HealthBiz podcast is now on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts and  many more services, making it easy to subscribe.

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the last to be transformed by the digital revolution. But companies like Roche and Novartis have been experimenting for a long while, and the fruits are finally ripening.

Medullan CEO Ahmed Albaiti is a digital health pioneer. In this episode of the HealthBiz podcast, he takes us on a trip down the memory lane of digital health, sharing pharma’s successes and failures. We discuss the shock brought on by COVID-19 and why software is often classified as a medical device. He also shares his vision for an integrated and harmonized future for pharma, payers, providers –and patients.

I’m proud to serve as chairman of Medullan’s advisory board.

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By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group

Why does Trump want foreign countries to set Medicare drug prices?

published date
September 14th, 2020 by
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Trump put us in charge!

Does anyone else find it ironic that the “America First” president has issued an Executive Order that says foreign countries will set drug prices for the US? President Trump has ordered Medicare to literally cede drug price decisions to France, Germany, Japan or New Zealand –where prices are dramatically lower than here. Yes, the idea is to take the lowest price that any of the other rich countries negotiate and use that as Medicare’s price.

What’s next? Will the EPA adopt France’s emission standards? Will the SEC let Italy set the rules for Wall Street? Will Medicare chip in to fund the cost of comparative effectiveness research and negotiations currently borne by foreign governments? Of course not.

So how do we understand this apparent transfer of power overseas? Two ways:

  • First, the president is trying to find any path he can to get an achievement on drug prices before the election. This one is simplistic, understandable and dramatic.
  • Second, it’s not really about following the lead of other countries. Rather it’s about forcing drug companies to raise prices in other countries in order to avoid losing out on the big US market. It is distinctly Trumpian in that it punishes our allies and blames them for “freeloading.”

It does make sense for US payers, including Medicare, to employ value based pricing mechanisms like those developed by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) and to negotiate prices. But we should reward true innovation and be willing to pay up for breakthroughs -yes, even paying hundreds of thousands or millions per patient for great products. I don’t want the US to leave those decisions to anyone else.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group