Phar­ma mar­keters, take note: Rur­al pa­tients have tech­nol­o­gy, but lag in trust and health con­fi­dence, study says

Rur­al pa­tients have more chron­ic health con­di­tions than ur­ban­ites, but al­so are more like­ly to skip doc­tors’ vis­its — and less like­ly to use dig­i­tal tools such as tele­health to make up for it, ac­cord­ing to new re­search.

How­ev­er, rur­al pa­tients aren’t skip­ping out be­cause they’re Lud­dites. Al­most all of them (93%) have ac­cess to smart­phones and da­ta plans, sim­i­lar to the 94% of ur­ban pa­tients who do, ac­cord­ing to the study from Phree­sia Life Sci­ences. And both rur­al and ur­ban pa­tients use the in­ter­net about the same for oth­er in­ter­net ac­tiv­i­ties such as check­ing email, scrolling so­cial me­dia, play­ing on­line games and do­ing school­work.

When it comes to health, broad­band re­li­a­bil­i­ty and slow­er in­ter­net speeds at home do play a role, but it’s a lack of on­line use for health in­for­ma­tion that may be a big­ger chal­lenge for phar­ma mar­keters to ad­dress.

Twelve per­cent of rur­al pa­tients say they nev­er go on­line for health in­for­ma­tion, com­pared to 9% of ur­ban and 8% of sub­ur­ban dwellers who say they nev­er do. And even when rur­al pa­tients do go on­line, on­ly 19% con­sid­er the in­for­ma­tion “very help­ful,” com­pared to 23% of ur­ban pa­tients who say the same. On­ly 14% of rur­al pa­tients said they com­plete­ly trust the health in­for­ma­tion they find on­line.

Joyce Wang

“Rur­al pa­tients are less in­ter­net savvy and what that means is there is a lack of trust in the in­for­ma­tion on­line be­cause they don’t use the in­ter­net as much as oth­er groups,” Joyce Wang, Phree­sia as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of re­search, said, adding, “They’re look­ing at a lot of in­for­ma­tion on­line, but still don’t know best how to use what they see and to find the most trust­wor­thy in­for­ma­tion to ap­ply to their health care.”

So what can phar­ma mar­keters do? Con­sid­er mo­bile-friend­ly strate­gies and of­fer­ing more ed­u­ca­tion, tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and per­son­al­ized con­tent to ease the way to us­ing more health in­for­ma­tion on­line, Phree­sia sug­gest­ed.

An­oth­er gap be­tween rur­al and ur­ban pa­tients showed up in the study around com­mu­ni­cat­ing health needs. One-fourth of rur­al pa­tients said they have trou­ble com­ing up with the right ques­tions or words to ask about health-re­lat­ed con­cerns and com­pared to ur­ban pa­tients who are less like­ly to share on­line in­for­ma­tion with their doc­tors.

“If you don’t even know where to start, you prob­a­bly don’t know how to best use dig­i­tal tools to help man­age your health,” Wang said.

The good news for phar­ma is that im­prov­ing per­son­al­iza­tion based on spe­cif­ic con­di­tions, amp­ing ed­u­ca­tion be­tween doc­tors’ vis­its and point­ing to sup­port re­sources will help both rur­al and ur­ban pa­tients.

“It’s fair to say health lit­er­a­cy is a prob­lem across the board,” Wang said, “What we’re try­ing to high­light from this re­search is the size of the group that needs help is dif­fer­ent. Rur­al pa­tients are fac­ing more chal­lenges than ur­ban pa­tients and they re­al­ly need help. I wouldn’t say most of them, but they do need some at­ten­tion.”

M&A: a crit­i­cal dri­ver for sus­tain­able top-line growth in health­care

2021 saw a record $600B in healthcare M&A activity. In 2022, there is an anticipated slowdown in activity, however, M&A prospects remain strong in the medium to long-term. What are future growth drivers for the healthcare sector? Where might we see innovations that drive M&A? RBC’s Andrew Callaway, Global Head, Healthcare Investment Banking discusses with Vito Sperduto, Global Co-Head, M&A.

15 LGBTQ lead­ers in bio­phar­ma; Paul Stof­fels’ Gala­pa­gos re­vamp; As­traZeneca catch­es up in AT­TR; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

A return to in-person conferences also marks a return to on-the-ground reporting. My colleagues Beth Synder Bulik and Nicole DeFeudis were on-site at Cannes Lions, bringing live coverage of pharma’s presence at the ad festival — accompanied by photos from Clara Bui, our virtual producer, that bring you right to the scene. You can find a recap (and links to all the stories) below.

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David Loew (Ipsen)

Ipsen snags an ap­proved can­cer drug in $247M M&A deal as an­oth­er bat­tered biotech sells cheap

You can add Paris-based Ipsen to the list of discount buyers patrolling the penny stock pack for a cheap M&A deal.

The French biotech, which has had plenty of its own problems to grapple with, has swooped in to buy Epizyme $EPZM for $247 million in cash and a CVR with milestones attached to it. Epizyme shareholders, who had to suffer through a painfully soft launch of their EZH2a inhibitor cancer drug Tazverik, will get $1.45 per share along with a $1 CVR tied to achieving $250 million in sales from the drug over four consecutive quarters as well as an OK for second-line follicular lymphoma by 1 Jan. 2028.

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AstraZeneca's new Evusheld direct to consumer campaign aims to reach more immunocompromised patients.

As­traZeneca de­buts first con­sumer cam­paign for its Covid-19 pro­phy­lac­tic Evusheld — and a first for EUA drugs

AstraZeneca’s first consumer ad for Evusheld is also a first for drugs that have been granted emergency use authorizations during the pandemic.

The first DTC ad for a medicine under emergency approval, the Evusheld campaign launching this week aims to raise awareness among immunocompromised patients — and spur more use.

Evusheld nabbed emergency authorization in December, however, despite millions of immunocompromised people looking for a solution and now more widespread availability of the drug.

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VMLY&R execs Claire Gillis and Walter Geer listen to Olympic gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta talk about the importance of diversity at Cannes Lions 2022 (Clara Bui/Endpoints News)

#Can­nes­Lions2022: Why does di­ver­si­ty mat­ter in cre­ativ­i­ty? Olympic gold medal­ist and VM­LY&R ex­plain

CANNES – When Olympic gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta went to the hospital to deliver her son last year, she packed signed advanced directives and her will in her bag. Why? Her past experience with the healthcare system while training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

She was training in sprint and long jump — after winning two golds in 2016 and one in 2012 — when she began to notice changes in her period. While Bartoletta initially rationalized it as stress or training too hard, it kept getting worse — to the point where she had dizzy spells and episodes of passing out. So she went to the doctor.

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From left to right: Shaheed Peera, Ivor Horn, Sommer Bazuro and Pat Setji speak about diversity, equity and inclusion at Cannes Lions 2022 (Clara Bui/Endpoints News)

#Can­nes­Lions2022: Ad­dress­ing clin­i­cal tri­al di­ver­si­ty prob­lems will take 're­al work now,' pan­elists say

CANNES —  As a young scientist, Sommer Bazuro was looking at oncology data when she realized that the patient population was not at all representative of the demographics most likely to suffer and die from cancer.

Thinking it must be an isolated incident, she turned to peer-reviewed publications and began talking to oncologists, only to discover that a lack of diversity in clinical trials was par for the course. Black and Hispanic patients typically don’t even reach levels of representation consistent with the general population.

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De­spite a slow start to the year for deals, PwC pre­dicts a flur­ry of ac­tiv­i­ty com­ing up

Despite whispers of a busy year for M&A, deal activity in the pharma space is actually down 30% on a semi-annualized basis, according to PwC’s latest report on deal activity. But don’t rule out larger deals in the second half of the year, the consultants said.

PwC pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting solutions leader Glenn Hunzinger expects to see Big Pharma companies picking up earlier stage companies to try and fill pipeline gaps ahead of a slew of big patent cliffs. Though a bear market continues to maul the biotech sector, Hunzinger said recent deals indicate that pharma companies are still paying above current trading prices.

Joe Wiley, Amryt Pharma CEO

Am­ryt Phar­ma sub­mits a for­mal dis­pute res­o­lu­tion to the FDA over re­ject­ed skin dis­ease drug

The story of Amryt Pharma’s candidate for the genetic skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, will soon enter another chapter.

After the Irish drugmaker’s candidate, dubbed Oleogel-S10 and marketed as Filsuvez, was handed a CRL earlier this year, the company announced in a press release that it plans to submit a formal dispute resolution request for the company’s NDA for Oleogel-S10.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images)

Phar­ma-friend­ly sen­a­tor calls on FDA for a third time to show patent pro­tec­tions should­n't be blamed for high drug prices

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis made a name for himself in the 2020 election cycle as the darling of the pharma industry, accepting hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions, even from the likes of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Those contributions have led Tillis to attempt to re-write patent laws in pharma’s favor, a move which failed to gain steam in 2019, and request for a third time since January that the FDA should help stop “the false narrative that patent protections are to blame for high drug prices.”