Companies should certainly prepare for the possibility of a product recall–but  “no matter how prepared you are,  you will never be prepared enough.”  So said Lisa Adler, VP Corporate Communications at Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company,  in moderating a panel  on “Communications During Product Recall.”    The panel, held on September 19,  was sponsored by the company and MassBio.

In her experience, Adler said, “things never go smoothly.  You need to anticipate that. ”

Panelists recommended that companies have a “war room” in which stakeholders–including  decisionmakers from legal, regulatory,  and other key departments– gather to approve everything that goes out.

Manisha Pai, Millennium’s PR director pointed out the importance of being prepared to use–and respond to– social media. “While you can’t get your entire message out in a 140-word Twitter message,”  she said, you can link it to more complete information on your home page.

[Boston Globe Reporter Rob Weisman and ‘s Adam Feurstein both said that while they might follow a few companies on Twitter they consider such communiques “tips” or alerts” to follow up on, rather than news items in themselves.]

When Weisman asked fellow panelists whether companies’ communications efforts in recalls  are  meant to protect the company or the public,  Pai, of  Millennium responded, “It’s both. ”

As a consumer-focused company, she explained, “our reputation rests on our responsibility to consumers and on our role as a public citizen. We need to protect the public–and also the company. ”
Adler added that,  for Millennium, protecting the public comes first.

Feuerstein and  Arlene Weintraub,  Xconomy’s New York City bureau chief, both emphasized the importance of transparency–and telling the whole story as soon as possible.

Feuerstein said:  “Coverup is the biggest crime.”  It’s better to risk getting some negative press in the beginning if need be–because if you wait a few months to come forward,  the analysts “will nail you….You often can’t recover from that.”

Anita M. Harris, President
Harris Communications Group

HarrisCom Blog is a publication of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning  public relations and marketing firm located inCambridge, MA.  We also publish New Cambridge Observer. 


A new global review from my client, Scientia Advisors , predicts rapid growth in molecular diagnostics and that,  with traditional pharma companies slow to innovate, a myriad of new entrants vying for market share will change the healthcare landscape.

(Molecular diagnostics are genetic tests used to judge the effectiveness of  particular treatments for individual patients–key to the burgeoning new field of personalized medicine).

Released earlier this month  (and available for download at no charge at www  the review projects that MDx will grow at  an annually compounded rate 15% to approximately $7.5B in 2013.

Currently, molecular tests used for oncology and critical care infectious diseases are experiencing the fastest growth among MDx segments.

“Ultimately, MDx will enhance care, cut health care costs and make personalized medicine a worldwide reality,” said Scientia Advisors Managing Partner Harry Glorikian.

Among other major findings:

  • The industry is transitioning away from low-cost, low-margin tests. New, “high-value” MDx tests are changing the health care paradigm by providing critical information to physicians more quickly and accurately than was previously possible.
  • While most MDx revenue is currently generated in the US and Europe, future growth will be most pronounced in the developing world.
  •  New, easy-to-use, random access and fast-turnaround-time MDx platforms are enabling widespread adoption of MDx in small and mid-sized hospitals, worldwide.
  • Companies seeking to enter the MDx field must be cognizant that, with the growing impact of MDx, government oversight and regulation will likely increase and reimbursement policies will evolve to reflect added value.

Scientia Advisors is a global management consulting firm specializing in growth strategies for companies in health care, life sciences, biotechnology and nutrition, world wide. The firm is based in Boston and San Francisco.

—Anita M. Harris

HarrisCom Blog is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.

A new review from Scientia Advisors finds  that the fastest growing segment of the burgeoning home health care market–remote health management (RHM) –can improve health and cut health care costs–but will reach its full potential only if health insurers adopt reimbursement practices encouraging greater physician adoption. 

In the review,  Scientia reports that the global home health management market is expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% through 2012–driven in part by strains in the health care system, high health care costs, insufficient personnel and an aging population with chronic conditions that, in many cases, can be most cost effectively monitored or treated at home.

Home health agencies (HHA)- organizations that provide skilled nursing and other therapeutic services in patients’ homes – account for  80%, of the home health market.  Remote health management (RHM) with a 1.4% market share is the smallest segment, but with a 15 percent CAGR, is gorwing the fastest.  Scientia projects that RHM will double from $1.8 B in 2007 to $3.6B in 2012.

RHM includes telehealth services and remote patient monitoring (RPM) products. Telehealth involves the use of telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health management, education, coaching, and assessment. RPM products refer to the tools that patients themselves use to collect medical data (such as blood pressure or glucose level) that is electronically transmitted to nurses and doctors, who determine if further action is required.

According to Harry Glorikian, Scientia’s managing partner, “Daily patient self-monitoring and centralized data analysis increase the effectiveness of preventive care, lessen strain created by personnel shortages, allow healthcare professionals to attend to more patients than they otherwise might, and control rising healthcare costs by helping reduce hospital readmissions.”
Not surprisingly, major electronics and computer companies such as Intel, IBM, Motorola and Philips are partnering with or acquiring companies to produce innovative products for remote health management.

However, many physicians are reluctant to embrace RHM because government and private health insurers reimburse only for its use in specific disease states or rural populations.

“While remote monitoring presents great opportunities for improving health care and cutting costs, RHM will not realize its full potential unless it is adopted by practitioners,” Glorikian said. “We believe that large-scale clinical trials, sponsored by government or manufacturers, could demonstrate the value of wider spread remote health monitoring to payers, who in turn would change their reimbursement practices. “

Easy-to-use devices and software are also needed, according to the review.

Since 2007, other home health segments, including point-of-care diagnostics, infusion and respiratory therapy services, drug delivery, durable medical equipment, and supplies, have exhibited CAGRs ranging from 7 to 10%, Scientia found.

The review is available at

Scientia Advisors, based in Boston and San Francisco,  is a global management consulting firm specializing in growth strategies for major and emerging companies in health care, life science, biotechnology and nutrition. Full disclosure: Scientia is my client.

—Anita M. Harris
HarriscomBlog is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish New Cambridge Observer and Ithaca Diaries Blog.


October 2, 2009

I read with interest Motoko Rich’s September 30 2009 New York Times article on Vooks–a hybrid “literary” form  “mashing together text, Web and  video features. ” 

She describes publisher Simon and Schuster’s  release of fitness and diet and beauty books that include videos on how to perform exercises or make skin lotion. Also,  Anthony Zuicker’s novel “Level 26, Dark Origins, published on paper, as an e-book and in audio, with a Web component that allows readers to watch brief videos adding to the plot.   

The online comments–101  of them–range mainly from skeptical to negative.

 John in New York writes, “Should we still call them books?” 

Val in Baltimore suggests we’ll soon see “A nobel prize…in viterature!” 

Mary the Trainer from Texas writes that the best part of  “reading a novel is creating the scenes in one’s mind based upon what the author has written.” 

 According to  R Weber   in Park Slope,  “Publishers –– all corporate hacks these days, with quotas to meet, bearing little resemble to publishers of old who thrived some years, got by in lean years –– have so little imagination & entrepreneurial drive, that idiocies like this are the best they can come up with. The truism proves true once more, “Pay peanuts, get monkeys.”

And  from CJ Messinger in California:  “The New York Times may be comfortable introducing this kind of technology to readers since print media is in decline. I for one am not yet ready to kiss books goodbye.”

I scrolled through pages of comments  in hopes of weighing in–but found that the comment box had closed. 

What I would have said is that as an author, former radio and television producer, photographer, and musician,  I’m thrilled and energized by the prospect of being able to merge media in order to give readers/viewers a fuller experience than is available through any single medium on its own.

 In research Ithaca Diaries,  a book (or something) based on journals I kept in college in the late 1960s, I was delighted to be able to check my fading memories using video, photos and news accounts  I  readily found on line.  I’ve been struggling to pull my  journal entries, letters, photographs and drawings into a linear form–but now it will be possible to include video of the Doors from 1969, Bob Dylan’s 1969 concert on the Isle of Wight; old news footage of the Chicago and Democratic News Conventions, maybe even the shootings at Kent State.   Maybe I can even read from the diary entries, aloud–and share tapes of  my old professors and friends.

Now all I need to do is figure out how to do this and  how to find the time, what it will cost–and whether–and how–it will sell.

I’d welcome YOUR comments.

—Anita Harris

HarrisComblog is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish New Cambridge Observer

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