NIH discusses ways to tackle digestive diseases
WASHINGTON The National Institutes of Health announced last week the release of the first long-range plan for tackling digestive diseases, which affect as many as 70 million Americans each year.
Opportunities and Challenges in Digestive Diseases Research: Recommendations of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases described the impact of diseases ranging from food-borne infections to cancer and liver failure, and mapped out priorities for research over the next 10 years.
“NIH-funded research has led to tremendous discoveries in peptic ulcer disease, viral hepatitis and colorectal cancer,” stated Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases division of the NIH. “To build on these advances and break new ground, we’ll be looking for investigator-initiated projects and developing new initiatives that respond to the commission’s recommendations.”
An estimated 20 NIH institutes, centers and offices invested more than $1.4 billion in digestive diseases research in fiscal year 2008. Current studies focus on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of digestive system development and function, as well as basic, translational and clinical research on the digestive system in normal and disease conditions.
According to NIH, each year approximately 105 million visits to doctors’ offices are for digestive diseases, often driven by symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting or nausea. The diseases cost the United States $100 billion in direct medical costs every year. Prescription drugs for diseases such as gastroesophageal reflux are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States.
The report emphasizes the importance of cross-cutting research, encouraging multidisciplinary efforts to advance understanding of causes and improve diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases. The high-impact goals recommended by the commission include:
- Better understanding of basic biology of the digestive system;
- Improving the understanding of functional gastrointestinal disorders and motility disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome;
- Identifying additional infection-causing microbes;
- Improving treatments for the diverse diseases of the stomach and small intestine; and
- Developing more efficient ways to categorize diseases of the colon and rectum, among other goals.
CVS Caremark, HBCBSNJ reaches 5.5 million e-prescriptions
The news that CVS Caremark and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey have reached 5.5 million e-prescriptions since 2004 is no doubt a major example of how providers are increasingly communicating electronically to advance patient care. What’s even more impressive, is the number of e-prescriptions jumped 20% in just one year from 2007 to 2008.
Once again, CVS Caremark has proven to be a leader and on the forefront of technology, this time with its proprietary iScribe e-prescribing system.
As the article states, this technology not only translates into a cost-savings for patients but also a safety benefit as the system eliminates handwritten prescriptions and provides the prescriber with easy access to potentially harmful drug interaction information. Furthermore, it is no secret that adherence ? or rather lack thereof ? is a major issue within the industry but with iScribe physicians are alerted when a prescription has been unfilled.
Industry members would be wise to keep their eye on BCBSNJ as, according to CVS Caremark chief medical officer and EVP, Dr. Troyen Brennan, it is an “industry bellwether in using technology to improve safety and compliance for their patients.”
New research investigates the aging of populations and its influence on markets
LONDON New research released by Datamonitor on Friday identified the aging of populations around the globe and how this trend will have crucial implications for the U.K. markets.
“The aging of populations globally is an issue that will increasingly shape both society and its consumer markets,’ stated Matthew Adams, consumer analyst at Datamonitor and co-author of the reports.
A large proportion of the population in each European country accounted for by consumers aged 50 and above. The U.K. was one of the youngest nations, relatively, in Europe in 2007, but the senior population still exceeded one third of the overall population. The greatest proportional growth in senior is expected to occur in the United States, with a 1.5% compound annual growth rate among seniors.
However, the relative proportion lags behind the norm in Europe by a short margin. In absolute numbers, the senior group of consumers comprises more than 90 million Europeans and should rise to over 100 million by 2012.
Overall, seniors are an ideal target demographic, the report concluded.
“With substantial assets and significant liquid capital, seniors are likely to ‘upgrade’ and choose premium products, particularly those ‘empty nesters’ who have less obligation to support the family and children,” stated Matthew Taylor, consumer market analyst at Datamonitor and also co-author. “The recent ‘less is more’ philosophy might reinforce the pursuit of high quality products. The aging of the baby boomers is also a factor in turning toward a less materialistic approach to the luxury lifestyle. With increased consumer awareness of ‘sustainability’, many products made with natural ingredients cultivated organically, or sourced from specific origins, are becoming popular among these sophisticated consumers.”