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Erin Fox, Director Drug Information Service

High Drug Prices Put Pressure on Health Care Budgets

1 September 2017

On August 30, the FDA approved the world’s first gene therapy, Novartis’s Kymriah™. This CAR-T cell therapy has proven effective to treat pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that does not respond to conventional chemotherapies. The novel therapy has saved lives by putting young cancer patients into remission, but comes with a hefty price tag. Novartis said it will charge $475,000 USD for the one-time treatment and, while the company has agreed to link payment to successful outcomes, it reminds us of the pressure that expensive new meds are putting on health care budgets.

Brexit Update: A Substantial Prize in the EMA Relocation Bid

iSpeak blog 2 August 2017.

Brexit means that the European Medicines Agency (EMA), currently in London, needs to find a new home. The EU will decide in November which member state will be the new host. Meanwhile, 20 countries are submitting bids, including a strong one from Ireland.

A Matter of Well-Being: A Profile of Anthony Maddaluna

Cover story in the May/June 2017 issue of ISPE’s Pharmaceutical Engineering

“Maddaluna helped changed the way Pfizer approached its basic supply chain organizational structure.”

Diabetes and the Internet of Things

iSpeak blog and in the May/June 2017 issue of ISPE’s Pharmaceutical Engineering

The Internet of Things is revolutionizing how data from medical devices is transmitted, aggregated, and stored. It is also affecting the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Drug Shortages Catastrophe in Pediatric Oncology

iSpeak blog and in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of ISPE’s Pharmaceutical Engineering

Drug shortages force pediatricians to make difficult choices about which children should receive treatment. Are there solutions?

Moores Law back pager

Moore’s Law and the Development of Breakthrough Biologics

Pharmaceutical Engineering, December 2015

A look at the progress we’ve made in cancer meds that has resulted from advances in molecular genetics, cell biology, and immunology.





Tobacco in the Service of Pharmacology

Pharmaceutical Engineering, October 2015

This back page article was fun to write because it’s theme was counterintuitive: How is a plant that is considered unremittingly harmful being used for the good of human health?




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Good Business Is Good Quality

Pharmaceutical Engineering, October 2015

I researched, interviewed three executives, and wrote this profile of the quality culture at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Andrew Espejo, executive director of strategy at BMS, modified a line from the Rascal Flatt’s song ‘Every Day’ to help his team remember what was most important about their work manufacturing drugs. “We coined the phrase, ‘Every day you help save a life’,” Espejo said.


pharmengineering2015.10_cover of report

Quality By Design

Pharmaceutical Engineering, October 2015

I did the interviews and helped write this article about quality in the pharmaceutical industry.





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Future Factories for Manufacturing Flexibility

Pharmaceutical Engineering, October 2015

I researched and wrote this cover article after interviewing John Cox, executive VP of Pharmaceutical Operations and Technology at Biogen.

Biogen, a biotech company with 18 biopharmaceutical experimental therapeutic drugs in development, most of which are monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), is aiming to transform its manufacturing capabilities so it can produce the metric tonnes of product needed.



The Orphan Paradox

Pharmaceutical Engineering, August 2015

This is another back pager I researched and co-wrote with James Hale for Pharmaceutical Engineering.

I’ve been interested in orphan diseases since I was a grad student in New York and heard researchers like Dr. Barry Bloom lecture on forgotten diseases such as schistosomiasis. While they affect millions worldwide, research and development of treatments for these diseases is often non-existent because the population of the afflicted is poor. According to the WHO schistosomiasis affects 240 million people worldwide and is due, mostly, to a lack of potable water.


PE cover

The Miracle of Synthetic Insulin

Pharmaceutical Engineering, May/June 2015

This is a back page article I co-wrote with my colleague James Hale for Pharmaceutical Engineering, the magazine of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering.






As an account manager at Philpott Communications, I have the luxury of heading to Las Vegas every April for one of the largest trade shows in the world. NAB showcases hundreds of vendors in the film and broadcast industry, with everything from cameras and lenses, to editing software, to drones. I write an article each time for a trade publication, Below the Line, which offers me the chance to explore something new.


The Use of VFX to Stitch Together Birdman

How was Birdman shot and edited so that it looked like one continuous scene? Read here how Montreal post house, Rodeo FX, stitched scenes and takes together to make it seem, well, seamless.

As Rodeo FX is a client, this article is great PR for them!



Giant Screen Theater Owners Ponder the Case for Digital

I attended the annual conference of the Giant Screen Cinema Association in Ottawa. This panel of theatre owners talked about their transition to digital projection.

One of the panelists spoke highly of our client’s equipment, which added value to this article.



Johnny Depp (left) and director Wally Pfister on the set of Alcon Entertainment’s sci-fi thriller Transcendence, a Warner Bros. Pictures release

Organic vs. Synthetic: Wally Pfister and Jess Hall Discuss the Making of Transcendence

The number of Hollywood directors who insist on continuing to shoot on film is dwindling. Wally Pfister is one of them and, at an onstage interview with him and his DP, we heard why they prefer film to digital filmmaking.


Chris Parker of Bling Digital

Chris Parker of Bling Digital

Postproduction Out of a Suitcase

Speaking of digital filmmaking, Bling Digital offers movie productions the means to transfer and share files from far-flung locations. The portability of their services allows production to take place at remote locations since dailies do not have to be developed and shipped to a post house.

I enjoyed writing this because it gave me the chance to learn something new and meet two interesting guys.




Choosing All Paths Simultaneously

When you’re the fifth child of an immigrant family, having moved from a relatively poor agrarian country to Canada’s largest city, you learn that survival depends on succeeding on the terms of your adopted culture.

This appeared in the University of Western Ontario’s Alumni Gazette.




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