Second Opinion: Winter reading for the holidays!

2022-12-14 |  Shrinivas Anikhindi and Carol Cao

Happy holidays everyone, and welcome back to Second Opinion where we’re taking a deep breath as we’ve made it to the end of the year.

It has been a long one, with the world coming back to life post-pandemic and every business feeling ready to put their pedal to the floor with a renewed focus on transformation and building for the future. We at Second Opinion have certainly been busy talking about everything from outcomes to operating models – and we reached 1000 readers this year!

As with any long campaign, however, it’s best celebrated with taking some time to step back, put up your feet, and relax. So instead of this month’s issue focussing on what’s to come, we’re using this issue to give everyone a break.

Enjoy an extensive list of interesting reads put together by one of our writers, Carol Cao. Why not use the time off to catch up on the more avant-garde parts of our industry, from fascinating applications of technology in health to thought-provoking looks at the intersection of Health and Foreign Policy.

In the meantime, have an excellent winter break, and look out for our return in 2023 with a podcast exploring the major upcoming trends that’ll be making waves in the industry next year.


Staying up to date with the hottest takes and deepest insights in any industry can be hard when you’re travelling for the holidays or trying to make small talk with the in-laws, so we’ve put together our list of top pharma reads all in one place for you!

From thought-provoking news pieces to bestsellers you won’t want to put down, whether you have 10 minutes or 10 hours, we’re rounding off the year with a selection of the most interesting stories in the Life Sciences world.


Doctors Using AI, Supercomputer To Predict and Prevent 50% of Mental Illness from Forbes | Read time 5 mins

From the launch of Cambridge-1 in the UK to Japan using Fugaku to accelerate personalised medicine, researchers across the world are harnessing the power of big data with even bigger computers. Find out how one US team is training their supercomputer to research suicide prevention for veterans.

Read more if you are a tech enthusiast and want to see how that innovation is spilling into pharma.

Lecanemab: Why a New Alzheimer's Drug has Drawn Praise and Some Concern from Medical News Today | Read time 7 mins

Lecanemab has recently been hailed by many as the breakthrough needed in Alzheimer’s treatment. But how much hope should we place in the new kid on the block? In this article, Alzheimer’s disease experts explain exactly how the drug works and what the most realistic perspective is.

Read more if you are interested in the latest drug developments and want a balanced take on the story.


What China’s Zero-COVID Policy Means for the Pandemic—in China and the Rest of the World from Time | Read time 10 mins

For some countries, the COVID fight is far from over. In China, Xi JinPing’s COVID policies of extensive testing and isolation rules remain controversial, with extraordinary street protests rising up in several cities as a result. With no exit strategy in place for the zero-COVID policy, how will this situation end, and what does it mean for the rest of us?

Read more if you want to know how one country’s response to COVID is affecting world politics.

War-Proofing Ukraine's Health System from Think Global Health | Read time 20 mins

Since the Russian invasion began in February, healthcare services in Ukraine have become more difficult to access and unaffordable. With attacks on hospitals and logistical challenges abound, this article interviews Ukraine's former Deputy Minister of Health, Pavlo Kovtoniuk, for more insights.

Read more if you want to know how war has reshaped healthcare in Ukraine.


Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos Case: History of a Fraud Scandal from Integrity Line | Read time 20 mins

Everyone has heard of the Theranos case. At one time, Elizabeth Holmes was the youngest self-made billionaire in the US worth $9 billion and seen as a revolutionary in pharma and tech; now, she will serve more than 11 years in prison for fraud and conspiracy. But how did it come to this?

Read more if you want the details behind a story everyone has been talking about.

Vaxxers: The Inside Story of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine and the Race Against the Virus by Prof. Sarah Gilbert and Dr. Catherine Green | Read time 9 hours

In this book, Professor Gilbert from Oxford University and her colleague Dr Catherine Green, share the inside story of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and how it was developed in record time with the world watching. Vaxxers is a story of cutting-edge science and sheer hard work, of ordinary people fighting an extraordinary pandemic.

Read more if you are interested in a blend of easy-to-understand science and great storytelling.

And for a retroactive look…

impatient Health’s 2022 Predictions by Paul Simms | Read Time 30 mins

For an interesting look backwards, we turn to an article released at the start of the year from our friends at impatient Health, where their Chief Executive Paul Simms takes a daring guess at 10 trends we can expect to see in the coming year. Well-known as the ‘pharma provocateur’, Paul’s predictions are always worth a read as, right or wrong, they always indicate key trends and needs the industry should be aware of. Have a look at last year’s, see what went wide of the mark and what landed right on the nail, and look out for 2023’s predictions to see what comes next!

Read more if you like to look back with 20/20 hindsight, and enjoy looking more broadly at industry trends.

If you have any feedback or want to hear more about anything mentioned in this newsletter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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