Health ed. firms benefit from pharma's compliance woes

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More drug firms are exploring compliance strategies, both through external partnerships and by growing internal competencies, to boost patient adherence.

Companies working with outside compliance firms include Eli Lilly, Merck and Novartis, The Financial Times reports.  

In addition, Pfizer's Health Solutions division is staffed with nurses who call or visit patients to encourage them to follow their doctors' orders, while Johnson and Johnson has bought two companies in an effort to improve compliance.

The Times sees the activity as part of a growing trend among pharmaceutical companies to aid sales and justify prices.

Clinical trials subjects take their medicines on schedule, but post-launch is a different story, due in part to cost, side effects or just plain patient forgetfulness. Payers, both governments and private, may be more willing to cover branded meds if the effects on patients were less variable.

Hence the efforts to make compliance more predictable. In one example cited by the Times, Novartis is working with Proteus Biomedical, a company which manufactures a micro chip placed in pills. The chip sends a text message to patients who do not take their medication.

Healthy Interactions is working on Lilly's behalf to engage patients in board games designed to reinforce medication regimens.

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