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Healthcare providers driving surge in downloads of healthcare-related apps

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The market for healthcare-related software apps for use in mobile devices has grown and will continue to grow quickly, according to Kalorama Information report released Tuesday. The market for mobile medical apps was worth about $150 million in 2011.

The conversion of major healthcare organizations to electronic medical record systems and the breadth of medical apps available are driving purchases, the medical research firm noted. Not only is the medical community using smartphones and their applications for basic work, but it’s reporting the use of smartphones to perform some of the work that would have previously been done on a desktop or laptop computer.

The growing use of mobile devices and medical applications for these devices has prompted the Food and Drug Administration to provide more oversight in this segment, Kalorama noted.

"The medical app market is growing at a faster rate than the standard app market," stated Melissa Elder, author of the report. "They are being heavily utilized by professionals and welcomed by healthcare organizations seeking to make workers more productive."

While the overall mobile app market is expected to continue to display strong double-digit growth through 2016, the medical app market will also continue to grow but at a faster rate. Although they make up just 1% to 2% of the entire market for mobile apps, Kalorama finds that healthcare apps will grow 25% annually over the next five years, compared to 23% growth estimated for the standard apps market. The growing number of healthcare professionals utilizing these apps in everyday business activities is contributing to the market segment growing at a faster rate than some other categories of apps.

Part of the revenue growth is being driven by prices rather than volume, according to the report. Despite the higher price tag for most medical apps (averaging $15 per app), the number of downloads is lower than other categories, keeping medical apps high growth-wise but on the lower end of total dollars earned in comparison to other app areas.

 

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Fans for the Cure partners with Walgreens on prostate cancer awareness baseball tour

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Ed Randall’s Fans for the Cure on Wednesday announced that it once again has teamed with Walgreens to increase awareness about prostate cancer in baseball ballparks across the United States. For the second year, Fans for the Cure and Walgreens are sponsoring a Baseball Road Trip, designed to strike out prostate cancer by encouraging men to "visit your doctor to check for prostate cancer, get your PSA score and stay in the game."

The road trips kicks off on Father’s Day, June 17.

"We’re humbled by the ongoing support that our charity is receiving from Minor League Baseball, as well as Walgreens," stated Ed Randall, CEO Ed Randall’s Fans for the Cure. "The work being done in dozens of ballparks this summer to educate men about prostate cancer awareness will promote better health, as well as save lives. Many men are unaware that a simple blood test can help a doctor detect prostate cancer in its early stages, when it can usually be cured."

To view a complete listing of ballparks hosting prostate cancer awareness events, go to http://fans4thecure.org/calendar.

 

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Merck releases positive phase-3 data regarding promising insomnia remedy suvorexant

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON — Merck on Wednesday released new data from two pivotal Phase III efficacy trials for suvorexant, the investigational medicine Merck is developing for the treatment of insomnia.

Merck expects to file a new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration in 2012. If approved, suvorexant would be the first medicine approved in a new class of medicines, called orexin receptor antagonists, for use in patients with difficulty falling or staying asleep. Merck anticipates that suvorexant will be evaluated by the Controlled Substance Staff of the FDA.

In the studies, suvorexant significantly reduced the time it took patients to fall asleep and increased the time that patients stayed asleep as early as the first night and at the three-month time point compared to placebo. "This investigational drug targets insomnia in a way that is different from other medicines," stated Andrew Krystal, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Duke University Medical Center. "The potential for a new and different option would be welcome by patients with insomnia who cannot sleep through the night."

“We specifically focused our research efforts on insomnia because it is an area of significant unmet medical need,” commented Darryle Schoepp, SVP and head of neuroscience and ophthalmology franchise, Merck Research Laboratories. “Suvorexant approaches insomnia differently than other medicines because it helps patients to sleep by targeting and blocking orexins, which play a role in keeping people awake. We’re excited about the Phase III results and the potential of suvorexant to become the first in a new class of medicines to help patients with insomnia.”

"We’ve pointed out that we have good sleep offset efficacy, good sleep maintenance efficacy, lack of meaningful next-day residual effects and a safety profile allowing for chronic use, and about 30% of the patients who are in this market need chronic sleep therapy," noted Kenneth Frazier, Merck chairman, CEO, president and president of global human health, during a recent conference call with analysts. "Suvorexant comes to market in a way that’s differentiated for people who have to travel, people who have to use sleep medication, not having that drowsiness. Those next-day residual effects are important to them. We have data with respect to drivers, where we see that it really does make a difference."
 

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