Novartis rolls out iPhone apps for cancer patients

Novartis ($NVS) has added two more mobile apps to its constellation of digital offerings. This time, cancer patients are the target audience. The Swiss drugmaker rolled out an app to help oncology patients find appropriate clinical trials and an app specifically for patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NET).

The clinical-trials search tool already has some Big Pharma competition. Eli Lilly ($LLY), for one, offers its own version, FierceBiotechIT notes. The app for NET patients is a different beast. It's the sort of disease-management app that's increasingly common in the diabetes field but less so in cancer.

Sanofi ($SNY) recently launched a text-based program for men with prostate cancer, to push lifestyle tips and coping techniques to patients on chemo. My NET Manager is a full-fledged app that allows patients to log their symptoms, set reminders for treatment appointments and drug refills, and track their test results. Not coincidentally, Novartis markets Afinitor as a NET treatment, though the new app doesn't directly promote the drug.

Novartis has been among the few drugmakers rolling out apps for both professionals and patients. The oncology group has a technical app for doctors with prescribing information and a direct line for questions to the company's medical-info team. Its apps for patients have been disease-focused; back in 2011, it launched a WheresFlu app to track the virus during flu season.

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