Tuesday, 21st September 2010
DocuTicker editors contribute brief articles
to FUMSI on conducting research with grey literature - reports from government
agencies, think tanks, research institutes and public interest organisations.
In my work as a contributing editor for DocuTicker, I research publicly available reports on a number of global topics. Here are some of my favourite resources for Pharmaceuticals:
pharmaceutical industry is at once one of the most profitable and one
of the most controversial in the world. Since its activities are so
entwined with issues of human health, and basic assumptions as to how
to preserve or restore it, this is not surprising. This article is
chiefly concerned with information sources on the economic position
and research work of pharmaceutical companies. But since both health
scares and alleged wonder cures are a regular feature in the news, it
should at least be noted that trying to determine reliable
information sources is particularly fraught in this field because of
the vested interests and high emotions involved.
useful global picture is given by this report
(PDF) from Lombard Street Research. One of the key issues
highlighted is the number of expiring patents for well-known (and
highly profitable) drugs - a schedule of some of the main ones due to
run out by 2012 is given on page 6.
looking to the future, a series of reports from Price Waterhouse
Coopers under the banner 'Pharma
2020' is freely summarised. The full reports are obtainable in
exchange for (free) registration.
impressive source on clinical trials throughout the world is the
International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and
Associations (IFPMA). Its portal
provides immediate suggestions for refinements to a search as you go
along, e.g a search for AIDS at once breaks down into trials for
Antibodies, Antigens, Long-Term Survivors, etc. Befitting its
international scope, alternative search terms are offered in a range
this site is a valuable resource for other major aspects of the
pharmaceutical field, with categories of Ethical Promotion; Pandemic
Influenza; Developing World; Counterfeit Medicines; Genetic
Resources; and Biologicals & Vaccines. There are also
directories of the Member
Associations and Member Companies.
Industry Organisation and European
Pharmaceutical Review are additional sources to help one keep
up to date on Research and Development (R & D), although only the
last-named appears to offer RSS and Twitter feeds. R & D is a
long-term aspect of pharmaceuticals' activity, but there is a
steady stream of news as studies take place, deals are struck and
figures released. In addition to the sources noted, Bionity
is also valuable. Its distinctive tabbed searching facility means
that stories related to such headings as Research, Finances, Market,
etc can be quickly displayed, though keyword and Advanced Searching
are of course also available. (The archive under the latter heading
purports to go back to January 1995.)
American pharmaceutical industry is amongst the world's largest.
As such, the March 2010 Industry
Overview provided by the US Government's Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) is a handy, and topical, introduction to the subject.
Although the report does not make as much use of links as would be
desirable, there is a concise list of some useful ones under Industry
the IRS provides a number of such overviews; relevant here is that on
which to an increasing degree is an industry sharing common ground
with the pharmaceutical.
very significant, Europe's pharmaceutical industry is in part
served in information terms by the Public Health area of the European
Commission's website. As well as news, an especially valuable
part of this is found under Reference
Documents, notably Eudralex,
the legislation covering human and animal medicines in the EU, and
Register of the same, which can be searched by brand name or
specifically European directory of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical
firms is provided by
world's emerging markets are also areas where disease is rife.
Pharmaceutical companies therefore see them as an important area to
expand into, as summarised in this 2009 conference presentation 'Fulfil
growth potential of Emerging Markets' (PDF) by Abbas
Hussain of GlaxoSmithKline. Despite the obvious slant towards his
own company, there is much here that is generally applicable and easy
to assimilate. A more detailed review of the same subject, 'Assessment of
the Opportunities for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Emerging
Markets' (PDF), comes from one of the professional associations
in the field, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.
the costs of drugs and medicines in developing countries are still
such that there is a tension between the needs of their populations
and the interests of the established pharmaceutical firms. Thus
another feature of the current period is the growth of indigenous
pharmaceutical companies, as shown for example by Deutsche
Bank's research on the Indian industry, and this summary of
China's from Bioportfolio.
specialises in research on the BioPharma industry worldwide.
Although its full reports are expensive, useful snapshots can be
gleaned for free amongst its Top
50 Pharma category, with summaries and contents listings for
reports. (NB The summaries subtitled 'Pipelines, Products,
Performance, Potential' are the most detailed; those from
PharmaVitae and IMS are too brief to be of much use).
in other industries, mergers and takeovers are a fact of life for
pharmaceuticals. This June
2008 factsheet (PDF), from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of
Great Britain (RPSGB), is a summary of such activity between 1958 and
2008. Since the RPSGB is obviously monitoring these events, the main
site would be worth bookmarking as a source for those yet to come, a
likely side-effect of the remedies being applied to the present
global economic sickness.
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