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July 27, 2023

Life science trend tracker #11

What’s new in life science, and how should companies respond?
pharma trending topics

Our regular trend tracker articles explore the latest pharma trending topics in life science and how they might affect companies like yours. In this fast-paced, volatile industry, changing market conditions, emerging technologies, and socio-political factors can impact your business. See what current trends might mean for you.

Striving for more trial diversity

Three years on from the start of a pandemic that’s often taken a disproportionate toll on people of color, experts say work remains, even as lessons learned during the crisis offer a hopeful path forward. Diversity data for drug trials can be layered and nuanced. Investigations suggest that, in some fields, at least one-quarter of clinical trials might be problematic or even entirely made up, warn some researchers. They urge stronger scrutiny.

Among a pool of nearly 300,000 global participants in trials for drugs vetted for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 2015 to 2019, Black or African American individuals accounted for just 7%, according to a summary report. An FDA spokesperson says that “trial participants should reflect the population that is likely to use the product if FDA-approved.”

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Higher prices in 2023

New data shows more big price hikes are expected across the pharma industry. According to analysis by AnalySource, the first week of July saw 59 manufacturers raise prices on 105 brands, with nine brands having raised prices by 10%. This includes a 30% price increase for Emflaza, the only FDA-approved product to treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy; a 62% increase for Isturisa, which is used to treat Cushing’s Disease, and a 478% increase for Entadfi, used for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

These price hikes are in addition to increased prices on at least 587 brand-name drugs over the first 2 weeks of the year. As part of the January 2023 price increases, 16 brand-name drug companies imposed price hikes higher than 10%.

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Health tech boom continues

Asset management firm TPG will acquire clinical and administrative healthcare technology company Nextech for $1.4 billion. Through the acquisition, TPG will access Nextech’s network of more than 11,000 physicians and more than 60,000 clinics. Nextech offers cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) and practice management software for clinical specialties such as dermatology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, med spa, and plastic surgery. Customizing an EHR platform for a specialty like plastic surgery allows physicians to add features like photos and graphics.

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