Colour Blindness isn’t a black and white affair

7-10% of the male population suffer from red/green colour blindness, a condition which means the person cannot distinguish between red and green. It is the most common form of colour blindness and is primarily hereditary. It is associated with the X chromosome which is the reason it is predominantly male condition. Blue colour blindness is also hereditary but is much more uncommon and affects men and women equally.

The following pictures are taken from a blog (The Brick Castle) and are a great depiction of how people living with colour blindness see the world.

The simpsons family lego figurines, as seen by people with normal colour vision

Normal colour vision

Continue Reading →

Pharma companies are still nervous about social media, but what’s holding them back?

Pharma companies are still nervous about social media, but what’s holding them back?

Many Pharma companies have expressed a reluctance or nervousness towards engaging in social media activities. There have been several reasons for this reluctance and we are slowly seeing a resolution to some of these issues. Firstly, there were concerns over the broadcasting of marketing messages to the public. The answer to this has been simple: the guidelines for communication through traditional forms of marketing still stand. In Europe this means no communication of prescription drugs can be aimed at the public. However general company messages and certain over-the-counter (OTC) or non-prescription drug communication is permissible. As a result, companies brave enough to have a social media presence have done so by having a company-based page and posting about their philanthropic efforts, what it’s like to work there and unbiased articles about their company.

Continue Reading →

Are Pharma Companies at Risk of Having All Their Eggs in One Supply-Chain-Basket?

ChainIt might seem counter intuitive to suggest that the economic knock-on effects of the ‘patent cliff’ can actually negatively impact the availability of generic drugs – but this is what appears to have happened in the case of one of the most frequently prescribed broad-spectrum antibiotics in Ireland, amoxicillin (more commonly known by producer GSK’s brandname Augmentin).

Continue Reading →

He Who Pays the Piper: the Payers’ Perspective and Market Access

The State pays for about 80% of all medicines in Ireland and as budgets have contracted, scrutiny of the cost effectiveness of individual drugs has given impetus to generic substitution and alternative treatments.  As Ireland’s GDP has faltered (down from €262 to €210 billion from 2006 to 2013) health care costs have risen due to inflation (medical inflation 2010-12 ranged between 7% and 9.5%), fraud, treatments abroad and technology.

Continue Reading →

Is the time right for Reilly’s “Tobacco Free Ireland”?

Last week, Minister for Health James Reilly launched his plan for a “Tobacco Free Ireland”. Among its 60 recommendations, the report focuses on elements of further smoking restriction such as the banning of smoking on the grounds of schools and child-care facilities, along with calls for the promotion of smoke-free college campuses.

As with so many Government reports, the outline proposal comes without a comprehensive action plan, timelines or detailed outcome measures. That aside, what is perhaps as interesting as the content of the report is its timing – being launched the week before the European Parliament ruled on the categorisation of electronic cigarettes and the introduction of plain packaging.

Continue Reading →

Good news for pharma brands as ESRI finds generics are no cheaper

A new report from the ESRI, released today, reports that the increased use of generic medicines has not led to substantial savings as promised by Minister for Health, James Reilly, either to the State or cash-paying patients.

In their report, the ESRI state that: “….generic pharmaceutical prices in Ireland are high relative to comparable EU Member States. In contrast, patent-holder or originator pharmaceutical prices are lower in Ireland where a generic is available.” (pp. vii)

Continue Reading →

Use your head… the role of critical thinking in health decisions

This week two pieces which featured in the media, albeit from different ends of the spectrum, successfully illustrated the same point…. critical analysis, a basic understanding of science and a firm grasp of the evidence is the responsibility of each of us in making informed health decisions.

Continue Reading →

Louise Robinson, Danone Baby Nutrition

Thanks again for all your help… I really appreciate the urgency Publicis D Healthcare worked at, and nothing was too big a deal.” 

Louise Robinson, Assistant Brand Manager, Danone Baby Nutrition

 

 

Government launches ‘Healthy Ireland’, a new framework for improved health and wellbeing.

The government has launched its latest health initiative entitled Healthy Ireland, a new policy set to improve the health of Ireland’s citizens and increase life expectancy.

Continue Reading →

Realpolitik and hard lessons for Irish NGOs

On Wednesday evening, John Crown raised an issue in the Seanad that was picked up by mainstream media yesterday – the cut in Irish Patients’ Association core funding by the HSE.

Having worked in public affairs for the last decade, this development wasn’t all that surprising. Ireland’s NGO sector has burgeoned to the point that there are over 20,000 charities in operation.

Continue Reading →

New resources to support youth mental health

Led by Kathleen Lynch, Minster of State at the Department of Health (with special responsibility for older people, mental health and disability) new guidelines for mental health and suicide prevention for post-primary schools were launched last week.**

Continue Reading →

Breaking the Cycle of Suicide

Celebrities nationwide are joining forces to encourage the Irish public to “Break the Cycle” and heighten awareness of suicide within the Emerald Isle. Through an emotive video, familiar faces (including model Roz Purcell and rugby analyst Brent Pope) hearten viewers to take part in the upcoming Cycle Against Suicide. Continue Reading →