The Catalyst

ICYMI: Community Oncologists Speak Out Against Hospital Cancer Doctors’ Drug Price Control Proposals

Posted by Holly Campbell on July 29, 2015 at 3:24 PM

In case you missed it, the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) called the drug-price control recommendations made by 118 oncologists published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings “misguided because most of the doctors behind the suggestions work for large, teaching hospitals where cancer care is more expensive than at cancer clinics.”

Check out a few highlights below and read the story here. A subscription to Inside Health Policy is required.

  • According to Community Oncology Alliance Executive Director Okon, “Most of the doctors who endorsed the recommendations in the journal are employed by large teaching institutions, many of which receive 340B drug discounts, and nearly 30 percent of the signatories are employed by a small group of hospitals where cancer care is high even compared to teaching hospitals.”
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Topics: cancer, drug cost, Oncology, cost

3 Points You Need to Know about the Federal Government’s Health Spending Projections

Posted by Robert Zirkelbach on July 28, 2015 at 5:18 PM

New National Health Expenditure (NHE) projections released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) call into question claims that have been made in recent months about the sustainability of prescription drug spending. Even with new treatments and cures for hepatitis c, high cholesterol and cancer, spending on retail prescription medicines is projected to remain approximately 10 percent of U.S. health care spending through 2024 – the same percentage as in 1960.

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Topics: Value, drug cost, cost

New Study Examines Clinical Pathways: An Overview of Current Practices and Potential Implications for Patients, Payers, and Providers

Posted by Kelsey Lang on July 28, 2015 at 4:27 PM

As health care payers seek to transition to new, value-based payment models, clinical pathways are one strategy payers and providers are using in their efforts to contain costs and promote evidence-based care. New research released this week by Avalere Health examines current practices related to these programs and stakeholder reactions to their growing use.

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Topics: Value, Personalized Medicine, cancer, Alternative Payment Models, Payment and Delivery Reform

No Two Patients with High Cholesterol are the Same: Meet George and Betty

Posted by Holly Campbell on July 28, 2015 at 2:02 PM

Last week, we introduced two hypothetical patients, Sheryl and Bill, who are working to get their cholesterol levels under control. Today we highlight George and Betty. George is able to control his cholesterol with better adherence to his statin therapy.  In contrast, Betty struggles to control her cholesterol level since she was forced to discontinue her statin therapy due to side effects (i.e., muscle pain and aches). These stories illustrate the different tools patients and physicians can use to bring down cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of dangerous cardiovascular events. They also show the unmet medical need that remains and how important new treatment options could be for some patients.

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Topics: Value, drug cost, Cholesterol, high cholesterol, cost

Patient Groups, Members of Congress and Other State-Based Stakeholders Agree: Stop the Abuse of Biopharmaceutical Patents

Posted by Tina Stow on July 28, 2015 at 9:47 AM

As Congress considers patent legislation known as H.R. 9, the Innovation Act, and S. 1137, the PATENT Act, health care leaders – from patient groups to Members of Congress to trade associations – continue reminding lawmakers about the critical importance of ensuring a fair and reliable patent system.
In their recent op-ed published in The Hill, John Castellani, president and chief executive officer, PhRMA, and James Greenwood, president and chief executive officer, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), outline a clear path forward for reform: recognize the unique role of patents in the biopharmaceutical industry by exempting certain biopharmaceutical patents from the inter partes review (IPR) process at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). As Castellani and Greenwood write, “patents are the lifeblood of any new medicine. And our industry’s reliance on them is unique; while your cellphone might be protected by hundreds of patents, the new medicine you or your loved ones take is usually only protected by just a handful.”

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Topics: Patents

#MedicareMonday: More Medicines in Development for Older Americans

Posted by Allyson Funk on July 27, 2015 at 9:00 AM

This Thursday, Medicare celebrates its 50th anniversary! One critical part of Medicare for older Americans and people living with disabilities is the Part D prescription drug benefit that began in 2006. In celebration of Medicare’s birthday, we’re taking a look at medicines in development for older Americans.

More than 9 in 10 older Americans have at least one chronic condition and more than 7 in 10 have at least two. The biopharmaceutical industry is committed to developing medicines that help patients live longer, healthier lives and that includes treatments to manage chronic conditions and some of the most debilitating diseases facing Americans as they age.

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Topics: Medicines in Development, Part D, Medicare, #MedicareMonday, seniors

Biopharmaceutical Industry Strongly Committed to Responsible Clinical Trial Data Sharing to Improve Public Health

Posted by Jeff Francer on July 23, 2015 at 4:31 PM

The biopharmaceutical industry remains committed to enhancing public health through responsible data sharing that recognizes the importance of protecting patient privacy, respects the integrity of national regulatory systems, and maintains incentives for continued investment in biopharmaceutical research.

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Topics: FDA, Pfizer, Clinical Trials, GSK, EFPIA, Johnson & Johnson, data sharing

Focusing on Only 1% of Spending Will Not Solve Nation’s Health Care Challenges

Posted by Robert Zirkelbach on July 23, 2015 at 11:20 AM

Commentary published today in Mayo Clinic Proceedings highlights a critical challenge facing cancer patients: the ability to access the medicines they need. But rather than address this issue directly, the authors outlined a series of proposals that focus solely on the 1 percent of health care spending that goes toward life-saving cancer medicines. And the article ignores the fact that cancer medicines represent only one-fifth of total spending on cancer treatment.  The policy proposals they recommend would, if adopted, send a chilling signal to the marketplace that risk-taking will no longer be rewarded, stopping innovation in its tracks and halting decades of progress in cancer care.

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Topics: cancer, drug cost, Medicare, out of pocket costs, cost

I’m Not Average: Doreen’s Struggle with Cholesterol (Video)

Posted by Holly Campbell on July 22, 2015 at 11:23 AM

After a heart attack at only 39 and subsequent diagnosis of high cholesterol, Doreen was in shock. “That was the beginning of a great challenge for me,” says Doreen.

She knew she had to stay alive for her children and grandchildren, so she immediately adopted a healthy lifestyle. She tweaked her diet, began an exercise routine and started a statin therapy, the most commonly prescribed class of cholesterol-lowering medicines. But her cholesterol levels didn’t change.

Frustrated, Doreen continued this treatment regimen until she developed heart muscle spasms and her doctor advised that she stop taking the cholesterol-lowering medication. Doreen learned that she is part of a small patient population intolerant to statins because of side effects or adverse events.

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Topics: Value, heart health, I'm Not Average, Cholesterol, high cholesterol

No Two Patients with High Cholesterol are the Same: Meet Sheryl and Bill

Posted by Holly Campbell on July 21, 2015 at 3:47 PM

Even though Sheryl and Bill both have high cholesterol they have two very different stories. Sheryl is able to control her cholesterol level through statin therapy combined with lifestyle changes like a better diet and increased exercise. On the other hand, Bill struggles to control his cholesterol with statins and other cholesterol-lowering medicines. Sheryl’s story reflects the opportunity presented by existing treatment options to achieve better control of high cholesterol; while Bill’s story reflects the significant unmet medical need that remains.

The difference between these stories highlights why every patient is different and only some will benefit from a new class of cholesterol-lowering medicines, PCSK9 inhibitors. These new medicines will not replace existing treatment options that work for millions of Americans and will address a significant unmet medical need in a small subset of people.

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Topics: Value, drug cost, Cholesterol, high cholesterol

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