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Digital Pharma: Big pharma's iPhone apps (part one)

Published on 02/07/10 at 09:21am

Most sectors of business have been eagerly eyeing, and responding to, the potential of Apple’s iPhone, and this year’s iPad release further upped the ante.

There are already thousands of iPhone medical applications, almost all of which will run on the iPad, and a handful of these have been produced by pharma companies.

The first appeared last year, with Sanofi-Aventis’ GoMeals and Novartis’ VaxTrak apps among the earliest examples, but it’s 2010 that has really seen the industry start to catch the ‘there’s an app for that’ bug.

This article will focus on iPhone apps produced by big pharma companies, for convenience this means the top ten featured in our Insight section, and I'm only looking at apps that relate to prescription rather than over-the-counter products.

So I've put together, as near as I can, a complete list of apps produced by these companies, and part one kicks off with apps from Pfizer, Merck & Co, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis and Novartis.

The numbers are still relatively small, but the 26 apps featured below showcase the variety of what’s already been produced in this area.

There are apps for healthcare professionals and ones for patients; branded and unbranded examples; disease calculator, disease awareness, patient diary and even gene reference apps; and they’ve been produced for the US, Canada, the UK, France and Turkey.

All the apps shown below are free from Apple’s iTunes store, with the exception of Merck’s Vree for Diabetes app – and if anyone can tell me why it has a $4.99 price tag do get in touch.

Part two of Big Pharma’s iPhone Apps will be published on Monday.

Big pharma’s iPhone apps

Pfizer iPhone apps

Pfizer Oncology RCC: A patient prognosis calculator for UK healthcare professionals diagnosing and treating metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). An easy to use app that requires a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to five key mRCC risk factors and produces a favourable, intermediate or poor prognosis based on the answers.

Pfizer Oncology iPhone app

Biothérapie: A French disease awareness educational app for patients with chronic inflammatory rheumatism or psoriasis and their families. It includes podcasts, patient testimonials and information on the diseases and their treatment. It also ties in with Pfizer’s information portal.

Pfizer Biotherapie iPhone app

Mon Krono Santé: Styled as an aide-memoire for the general public, Mon Krono Santé is a French health record for chronic disease sufferers. It allows users to store their personal medical information, including medical advice given to them, and synchronise the data with a computer - their own or their doctor’s - as long as it has the PC or Mac version of the app installed. It’s also one of only two big pharma apps to date to be made available in a specially designed iPad version.

Pfizer Mon Krono Sante iPhone app

Dr Mobile: An app for Pfizer’s French healthcare professionals website that includes its rss feeds and podcasts. There is also clinical content themed around oncology, rheumatology and haematology.

Pfizer Dr Mobile iPhone app

Les Meningo – Smash Pursuit: A French educational game for the public about meningitis, based around the ‘terrible Menigo family’.

Pfizer's Les Meningo iPhone app

Dos Au Mur: This app for patients and their families supports Pfizer’s French disease awareness campaign on ankylosing spondylitis. It includes information on the disease, and its causes, symptoms, management and treatment. There are testimonials from patients and doctors, lifestyle tips and all the materials created, in association with La Société Française de Rhumatologie, for a public information campaign.

Pfizer Dos Au Mur iPhone app

HemoTouch: A French haemophilia information app for patients that includes emergency contacts, recommendations for playing sports and a medical appointment diary.

Pfizer's HemoTouch iPhone app

Merck & Co iPhone apps

iManage Migraine: US app for migraine sufferers that includes a patient diary, educational elements and analytical tools for the patient and their doctor to better understand the information entered into the diary.

Merck iManage Migraine iPhone app

iChemoDiary: A patient diary for US patients undergoing chemotherapy, it allows users to record their chemotherapy schedule, treatments and medication, as well as symptoms experienced, such as nausea and vomiting.  

Merck iChemo Diary iPhone app

Temodar Dosing Calculator: A self-explanatory app for US healthcare professionals treating patients with Merck’s brain tumour drug.

Merck Temodar iPhone app

Vree for Diabetes: A US patient app that offers diabetes education, blood glucose tracking, nutrition tracking, activity tracking, medical tracking and progress charts. Unusually, it comes with a $4.99 price tag – a marked contrast from all the other big pharma apps featured here, which are free to download and use.

Merck Vree for Diabetes iPhone app

DAS28 Calculator for Healthcare Professionals: The first of four apps (along with two further Remicade apps and one for Bridion, shown below) developed by Schering-Plough UK (which become part of Merck last year). This UK branded app calculates a patient’s DAS28 score and also includes prescribing information for Remicade and a facility for adverse event reporting. The later facility is rather lightweight though, consisting of a link to the MHRA's Yellow Card AE reporting site and a UK telephone number of Schering-Plough.

Schering-Plough Remicade DAS28 calculator iPhone app

Remicade Dosage Calculator for Healthcare Professionals: A branded UK dosing calculator, this app also includes UK prescribing information for Remicade and the same facility for adverse event reporting as the app above.

Schering-Plough Remicade dose calculator iPhone app

Remicade RRP Matrix for Healthcare Professionals: A third branded UK Remicade app, this one calculates a patient’s risk of rapid radiographic progression (RRP), based on information entered about their rheumatoid factor, C-reactive protein and 28 swollen joint score. It also offers an estimation of how Remicade therapy may reduce the patient’s risk of rapid radiographic progression, prescribing information for the drug and a facility for adverse event reporting.

Schering-Plough Remicade RRP iPhone app

Bridion Dose Calculator: A UK branded app for healthcare professionals to help them calculate the correct dose of the anesthetic Bridion.

Schering-Plough UK Bridion app

GlaxoSmithKline iPhone apps

Cancer Trials: US app developed by GSK Oncology in collaboration with MedTrust Online for patients and doctors to find cancer trials within 150 miles of their current location. The app linnks to MedTrust Online's trial database, which originates from the US national database, and is updated bi-weekly.

GSK Cancer Trials iPhone app

Doktor Bul: Turkish app to help the public find local paediatricians and obs/gyn specialists that’s been developed as a tie-in with GSK’s Turkish public-facing website

GSK Doktor Bul iPhone app

Sanofi-Aventis iPhone apps

GoMeals: The US app can be used by anyone interested in healthy eating, but is aimed at people like diabetics, whose condition can make obtaining nutritional information critically important. It combines three tools - a nutritional database, a food-tracking tool to record meals and a restaurant locator, and is also the second big pharma app to be made available in a specially designed version for the iPad.

Sanofi GoMeals iPhone app

AFib Educator: Another US app, AFib Educator helps healthcare providers explain atrial fibrillation (AFib) to patients, their families and caregivers. A graphic heavy app that combines EKG readings for patients with a normal heart rate and those suffering from AFib with facts about the condition’s signs, symptoms, prevalence and risks.

Sanofi AFib Educator iPhone app

Finger Hoop: International disease awareness app that’s all about ‘taking control’ and was launched to mark last November’s World Diabetes day.

Sanofi Finger Hoop iPhone app

Novartis iPhone apps

VaxTrak: An early pharma app, VaxTrak allows US parents to store their family’s vaccination records, locate local pharmacies for flu jabs and record insurance information. Information for European and other countries may be added in the future.

Novartis VaxTrak iPhone app

GIST Calculator: An app for Canadian doctors to calculate their patients’ risk of recurrence for GastroIntestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST).

Novartis GIST Calculator iPhone app

IPSS Calculator: A US app from Novartis Oncology for doctors to calculate their patients' International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) prognosis for myelodysplastic syndrome based on: bone marrow blasts, number of cytopenias and karyotype.

Novarits IPSS Calculator iPhone app

Novartis Oncology Medical Information: US app for healthcare professionals to view and download standard response documents to many medical inquiries. The application can also be used to submit a medical inquiry directly to Novartis.

Novartis Oncology Medical Information iPhone app

Exjade Dosing Calculator: A branded app for US healthcare professionals to use when determining the right dose of Novartis’ chronic iron overload product Exjade for new and current patients.

Novartis Exjade dosing calculator iPhone app

BioGPS: Created for the BioGPS team at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, this app offers a search facilty for the BioGPS online gene portal, and the ability to browse data on gene and protein function from a wide array of other online databases. Or, as the promotional blurb puts it: "So you're sitting in a lecture scrutinising the speaker's PowerPoint, or in a meeting going over your group's latest data. And up comes a gene you don't recognise. What to do?”

Novartis BioGPS iPhone app

• Part two of Big Pharma's iPhone Apps could be found here and part three here,

Dominic Tyer is web editor for Pharmafocus and and the author of the Digital Pharma blog He can be contacted via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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