Stories about: risk management

The ‘de-riskers’: Orphan drug acceleration

De-risking drug development for orphan diseasePerhaps counter-intuitively, rare diseases can present attractive business opportunities for pharmaceutical companies. As discussed previously on Vector, they generally offer:

1) a population of patients with a high, unmet need, greatly lowering the bar to FDA approval

2) a closely networked disease community, greatly lowering the bar to creating disease registries and mounting clinical trials

3) well-studied disease pathways.

Recoiling from expensive failures of would-be blockbuster drugs, companies like Pfizer, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Shire and Roche are embracing rare diseases, despite their small market sizes, because of their much clearer path to clinic. But in the current risk-averse industry environment, some projects are stalling. Industry may need more incentive to jump in—and Cydan Development is basing its business model on providing it.

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Improving patient safety: Overcoming clinical biases and misperceptions

Context can create bias: Squares A and B are the same shade of gray (created by Edward Adelson, professor of vision science, MIT)

Before you read this post, look at squares A and B in the image to the left. Which is darker?

Next, answer the following questions:

  1. A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? 
  2. If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? 
  3. In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake? 

Did your mind leap to these quick answers — 10 cents, 100 minutes, 24 days?

Such errors on this Cognitive Reflection Test are quite common, and not so different from the lapses in thinking that underlie medical errors.

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