May 2008

Business News

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Pharma RFID market expected to hit US$ 1 trillion by 2020

The market for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) applications in pharmaceuticals is conservatively estimated to reach US$ 600 million by 2012 with a compound annual growth rate of 60%, according to a new market research study.

A quarter of the major pharmaceutical companies are expected to implement large-scale RFID projects to reduce costs, improve inventory control, track clinical trials and manage samples, claim the authors of  “RFID in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing”, a study by the market research firm Kalorama Information.

Kalorama notes that the total pharmaceutical market is expected to hit US$ 1 trillion by 2020, doubling from 2005 levels. The Food and Drug Administration and state governments are requiring additional product tracking to curb counterfeit drugs and improve patient safety and product integrity. As a result, RFID is positioned to be a top solution to help companies efficiently cope with the changing structure of the industry.

The adoption of RFID is being driven by two important factors: a huge drop in hardware prices (about 80% since 2000) and the promise of major cost-savings. The report states that as much as 40% of inventory can be managed more efficiently. 

Siemens unveil new radiology solutions

Siemens Healthcare unveiled a new portal of IT software for radiologists and other hospital personnel who work with imaging staff, known as the syngo Portal.

Siemens has developed three different strands of the system for radiologists, referring physicians and for senior executives. The solutions have been developed to offer role-based access to applications and information critical to their daily functions.

Syngo Portal Radiologist is intended to help radiologists with  specific tasks, such as checking requests, reading images, signing report functions. It allows radiologists to organise their work according to the workflow step. It will include integrated intelligence,  providing the user with access to the next logical application according to the workflow step he or she is carrying out. For referrals, Syngo Portal Referring Physician is also a role-based solution and supports the referring physician in communication with the radiology department. The portal enables physicians to schedule appointments directly from the ward or referring physician's office.

 Syngo Portal Executive is designed especially for executives in hospitals and clinics. The user interface can be individually customised to fit the requirements of the hospital or the radiology department – enabling proactive decision management and better strategic planning.    

Panasonic introduces Toughbooks with Intel's Menlow platform

Panasonic introduced two new Toughbook models recently. These were a mobile clinical assistant (MCA) device purpose-built for the healthcare market and an extremely-rugged handheld ultra mobile PC (UMPC) for field-use.

Both devices will use Intel's Menlow platform based on its new low-power architecture – consisting of the Silverthorne processor and the Poulsbo chipset.

The new computing devices, which are currently under development, are aimed at healthcare, government, military and commercial applications.

Panasonic claims the MCA is the first of its type in the world to use the Menlow platform. Designed for hand-held use, it is is a lightweight, spill-resistant, drop-tolerant and easily disinfected mobile device, that meets the highest demands for mobility and networking within an existing IT landscape. The MCA will allow wireless connection to hospital IT systems, giving mobile access to patient records and enhancing clinical workflow.

The UMPC is aimed at customers within the PDA/handheld market who have a high demand for extremely-rugged PCs. It will offer a combination of concept, technology and ergonomics designed to give computer and network access to field-based professionals. It is designed for those working in areas such as public safety, healthcare and construction. 

ICW to integrate PHRs with iPhone

InterComponentWare (ICW) has announced plans to integrate the Apple iPhone and other smartphones with the Life Sensor personal health record to transmit vital emergency medical information to hospital staff.

Patients who have access to ICW's web-based LifeSensor system can print out a personal emergency card with a one-time use personal identification number to carry in a wallet or purse. ICW says it is now in discussions to make the information available from the website – – in a format readable by smartphones.

An ICW spokesperson said “The goal of the Life Sensor personal health record is to provide medical history in an online format anytime, anywhere.”

The integration would only work in situations which were not time-sensitive, but if the patient was able to present their records to emergency staff, it would mean they could receive the right treatment immediately, ICW say.

“Many ambulance workers often concentrate on stabilising the patient during transport but they will call in the emergency information to the hospital so that the information about blood type, allergies and pre-existing conditions are ready and waiting when the patient arrives. Having the information immediately will make care for the patient swifter and ensure patient safety” the company said.

Changes in pharma CFOs roles: Ernst & Young survey

A latest Ernst & Young survey of Chief financial officers (CFOs) in the Indian pharmaceutical sector underscores important changes in the role of the CFO and the finance function in driving the success of pharmaceutical companies. Respondents of the India CFO survey envisaged a change in their responsibilities, with an increased focus on serving as business partners and managing growth.

A key challenge in the next three years cited by 42% of all respondents was 'ability to maintain and drive growth'. To address this challenge, 70% of MNC and one-third of IPC CFOs would like to increase time spent on business partnering – to be a proactive partner in decisions relating to value creation by way of strategy, governance and cost management.

48% overall respondents are seeking an enterprise wide cost reduction. CFOs in both groups cited bottom-line pressure as a key concern here (76% overall). 57% respondents believed supply chain as a focus area for cost reduction; however CFOs of India-headquartered pharmaceutical

companies are more concerned about cutting costs in the supply chain (67%) compared to 44% of MNC CFOs.

Misys Healthcare to merge with Allscripts

Misys, the UK-based IT software group, is to merge its healthcare division with smaller US rival, Allscripts to create a larger specialist provider of clinical software and services for the US primary or ambulatory healthcare market.

In a deal worth almost

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