The Catalyst

Week in Review: The Latest from PhRMA

Posted by Tina Stow on October 2, 2015 at 10:14 AM

340B Spotlight:  The latest 340B Spotlight explores contract pharmacy arrangements. Learn more about the history of contract pharmacy arrangements and why a policy change in 2010 led to a dramatic increase in the volume of contract pharmacies.

ICYMI: Dr. Murray Stewart, Chief Medical Officer of GSK, explains why clinical data transparency is the right thing to do and how it can benefit patients. Check it out here

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Topics: heart health, Clinical Trials, 340B, Rx Response, Medicare, Conversations

340B Spotlight: What are contract pharmacy arrangements?

Posted by Allyson Funk on October 1, 2015 at 11:31 AM

We’ve been covering 340B a lot in recent weeks, including areas of needed reform: how discounts work, levels of charity care among 340B hospitals and the relatively high rate of 340B hospitals acquiring physician practices.

Another aspect of 340B that deserves a closer look is contract pharmacy arrangements. But what are contract pharmacies and how do they work?

Contract pharmacy arrangements enable covered entities to contract with multiple independent retail pharmacies to dispense drugs receiving 340B discounts. The original purpose of these arrangements was to help small clinics who did not have their own in-house pharmacy. But a policy change in 2010 allowed all 340B entities – including large non-profit hospitals – to have an unlimited number of contract pharmacies. This change dramatically increased the number of contract pharmacies, but did nothing to ensure that patients either receive or benefit from the 340B discount.

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Topics: 340B, 340B Spotlight, community pharmacies

Clinical trial data transparency is the right thing to do

Posted by Guest Contributor on September 30, 2015 at 12:00 PM

By Dr. Murray Stewart, Chief Medical Officer, GSK

At times, there can be a huge gulf between principle and practice. For example, eating healthy foods and getting lots of exercise are clearly beneficial, but they require commitment and hard work and are not sustained by many people.

Expanding access to clinical trial information is another principle that attracts widespread support, but in practice, it takes a lot of commitment and hard work by many across the health care network. Despite the challenges, there have been significant strides made by the biopharmaceutical industry in putting this principle into practice.

Researchers can now access detailed trial data from many companies to support their own research and, hopefully, benefit medical science and patients. GSK and 11 other companies provide access to data through a common online website ( Other companies have created their own systems consistent with the PhRMA-EFPIA Principles for Responsible Clinical Trial Data Sharing.

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Topics: Clinical Trials, transparency, data sharing

Helping patients in times of need

Posted by John Castellani on September 29, 2015 at 12:00 PM

When Hurricane Katrina hit, the lack of communication between public health officials and the private sector, which controls most of the biopharmaceutical supply chain system slowed.  This gap hindered efforts to deliver medications to patients in need.  From the disaster, which marked its ten year anniversary in August, PhRMA, BIO, partners in the biopharmaceutical industry and the non-profit sector spearheaded the creation of Rx Response to streamline communication and tackle medicine delivery problems without delay or unnecessary phone chains. 

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Topics: Rx Response, Conversations

Celebrating cardiovascular health on World Heart Day 2015

Posted by Hannah Mooney on September 29, 2015 at 10:08 AM

Today, we celebrate more heartbeats with World Heart Day.

With a focus on cardiovascular disease and the promoting of healthier heart hygiene, World Heart Day is an opportunity to acknowledge advances in cardiovascular science and disease prevention. Even with heart disease topping the list of deadly diseases that affect patients in America today, death rates from heart disease and stroke are falling each year. This is thanks in large part to America’s biopharmaceutical research companies and their commitment to developing new treatments and cures.

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Topics: heart health, Cholesterol, high cholesterol, Stroke Awareness

Medicare Monday: What is ASP?

Posted by Kelsey Lang on September 28, 2015 at 10:29 AM

We’ve written previously about Medicare Part B and what it covers, but today we are taking a closer look at how Medicare Part B pays for medicines. With some exceptions for certain classes, the current reimbursement methodology for Part B drugs administered in physician offices and hospital outpatient departments is Average Sales Price (ASP)+6 percent.

ASP is a market-based price that reflects the weighted average of all manufacturer sales prices and includes all rebates and discounts that are privately negotiated between manufacturers and purchasers (with the exception of Medicaid and certain federal discounts and rebates). This methodology mirrors reimbursement for physician-administered drugs in the commercial market.

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Topics: Part D, Medicare, Medicare Monday

Week in Review: The Latest from PhRMA

Posted by Priscilla VanderVeer on September 25, 2015 at 12:04 PM

Protecting Innovation: The current marketplace for prescription medicines helps keep spending in check and continued innovation for patients possible. A recent proposal by Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to regulate drug prices would have a myriad of consequences, including restricted access to medicines for patients, fewer innovative treatments, loss of the nation’s standing as a biomedical world leader and loss of countless jobs. Read more about the implications of the proposal here.

Americans Believe Medicines are Critical to Patient Health: A new poll from PhRMA and Morning Consult revealed that the majority of voters oppose allowing the federal government to set the price of prescription medicines and the vast majority of Americans believe prescription medicines help patients live longer, healthier lives. Find out more here.

Eliminating Hep C Could Reduce Future Spending: Take a look at Milliman’s new report that shows how eliminating hepatitis C today could reduce future U.S. health care spending by $115 billion over the next decade.

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Topics: Innovation, Week in Review, 340B, Morning Consult, Hepatitis C

New report: Eliminating hepatitis C today could reduce future U.S. health care spending by $115 billion over the next decade

Posted by Holly Campbell on September 24, 2015 at 2:19 PM

Costs and Consequences is a blog series examining the health care burden of not treating diseases. Too often, the rhetoric focuses solely on the cost of medicines and disregards the adverse societal and economic impacts of not treating diseases. Stay tuned for the next post in the series and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

A new report by Milliman on the clinical burden of hepatitis C projects that the incremental cost of hepatitis C to the U.S. health care system is projected to be $115 billion over the next decade.  The report estimates that, in the absence of a cure for hepatitis C, more than 350,000 patients would be living with advanced stages of the disease – including 100,000 more with cirrhosis of the liver and 250,000 more patients with end stage liver disease – by 2025.

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Topics: drug cost, Milliman, health care spending, Hepatitis C, cost

National Drug Take Back Day

Posted by Priscilla VanderVeer on September 24, 2015 at 1:22 PM

The biopharmaceutical industry believes that any community-driven drug disposal program should involve local law enforcement and be structured to prevent drug abuse and diversion.

This Saturday, Sept. 26, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will host its 10th annual National Take Back Day, which coordinates community-driven, law-enforcement led events for the public to dispose of their expired, unused or unwanted medications in a safe and convenient way.                 

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Topics: Prescription Drug Safety, safe drug disposal

340B Spotlight: Health Care Costs Rising from Increase in 340B Hospital Acquisitions of Physician Practices

Posted by Rebecca Davison on September 24, 2015 at 9:00 AM

An increasingly popular and alarming trend among 340B hospitals is hurting the integrity of the program and driving up health care costs in the system. Many 340B hospitals are rapidly acquiring independent physician practices then bringing them under the 340B umbrella where they can profit off the “spread” between the 340B price and the reimbursed amount. This trend is helping drive unprecedented program growth and raising health care costs for patients and payers given the more expensive treatment setting.  Meanwhile, it’s also reducing patient access to community treatment options.

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Topics: 340B, Avalere Health, hospitals, 340B Spotlight

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