The Catalyst

Week in Review: The Latest from PhRMA

Posted by Priscilla VanderVeer on July 31, 2015 at 1:58 PM

Medicare: Medicare celebrated its 50th anniversary this week! To note the occasion, we looked at the continued success of Part D, which helps many older Americans and people living with disabilities:

  • Learn from patients themselves about how Part D helps them in a new video.
  • Find out about the more than 435 medicines in development for older Americans.
  • Get more information about how average monthly premiums for 2016 Part D plans will remain relatively stable, just as they have since 2011.

Fact Check Fridays: Today we launched “Fact Check Fridays,” a series we’ll be using to separate truth from fiction and set the record straight. This week’s fact-check: the truth about inter partes review (IPR) and patent litigation reform.

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Topics: The Hill

Celebrating Anniversaries: Americans with Disabilities Act

Posted by Guest Contributor on July 31, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Conversations and healthy debate about issues facing our industry and the health care system are critical to addressing some of today’s challenges and opportunities. The Catalyst welcomes guest contributors including patients, stakeholders, innovators and others to share their perspectives and point of view. Like in our Conversations series, views represented here may not be those of PhRMA, though they are no less key to a healthy dialogue on issues in health care today. 

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, we’re pleased to host a guest blog from Katy Beh Neas, executive vice president, public affairs for Easter Seals.

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Topics: Discrimination, Congress, patient advocacy

Fact Check Friday: The Truth about IPR and Biopharmaceutical Patents

Posted by Tina Stow on July 31, 2015 at 11:12 AM

Today, we’re pleased to be kicking off our newest Catalyst blog series: Fact Check Friday. We’ll be using this space to separate truth from fiction and set the record straight when the rhetoric strays too far from reality.

First up in our series, patent litigation reform and the inter partes review (IPR) process.

The IPR process is necessary to challenge biopharmaceutical patents.

Congress already created systems to challenge biopharmaceutical patents – and it’s working.

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Topics: Patents, IP, Congress

Happy 50th Anniversary Medicare!

Posted by Allyson Funk on July 30, 2015 at 10:42 AM

Today we bring you a special edition of #MedicareMonday on Medicare’s 50th anniversary. As Medicare celebrates 50 years, we wanted to remind you about some of our Medicare resources and continue highlighting the success of the prescription drug benefit, also known as Part D.

Just yesterday, average monthly premiums for 2016 Part D plans were announced and they will remain relatively stable as they have since 2011, keeping access to prescription drug coverage affordable for seniors and people living with disabilities.

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Topics: Part D, Medicare, #MedicareMonday

4 Things to Know about the Medicare Part D Premium Announcement

Posted by Allyson Funk on July 29, 2015 at 7:01 PM

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that average monthly premiums for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage in 2016 will remain stable at an estimated $32.50 per month. This reflects the fact that Part D is a robust marketplace and continues to work to keep costs low for both beneficiaries and taxpayers because of substantial competition and negotiation in the program.

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Topics: Access, Part D, Medicare

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

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