The Catalyst

New Chart Pack: Big Strides in Fight Against Cancer

Posted by John Castellani on May 28, 2015 at 9:00 AM

In December 2009, Matt Ellefson received news from his doctor that no one ever wants to receive: a diagnosis of advanced non-small cell lung cancer. He faced a five-year survival rate of less than five percent. Nearly six years later, Matt is not only surviving, but thriving, thanks in part to innovations in cancer medicines.

Stories like Matt’s illustrate that every advance in cancer treatment, no matter how small it may seem, can make a lifesaving difference. And why medicines should not be evaluated based on the projected value they provide to an average patient, but on the value treatments provide to an individual patient. Value is not a simple term to define in cancer care. For some patients, value can mean more time spent with loved ones, an improved quality of life or increased productivity.

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Topics: Innovation, cancer, Chart Pack, I'm Not Average

New White Paper: Recognizing Emerging Value in Oncology Treatments

Posted by Guest Contributor on May 27, 2015 at 12:46 PM

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)’s Annual Conference is this week, and with a theme of “Illumination & Innovation: Transforming Data into Learning” we are excited to see the research being presented on ways to prevent, treat and cure cancer.  

In the last several decades, our scientific understanding of cancer has grown immensely, and the U.S. cancer death rate has fallen 22 percent since its peak in 1991. Innovative cancer therapies have played a significant role in this decline; however, the most impactful changes to the care paradigm often emerge from existing therapies through their further evaluation in post-approval clinical studies and real-world data collection. Because accelerated approval is a key pathway to get drugs to patients who need them quickly, the full value of an oncology medicine is typically not known until well after a drug is available to patients.

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Topics: Innovation, Oncology, ASCO, Healthy Outlook

How Manufacturing Advances Can Help Make Medicines More Effective

Posted by Tim McClung on May 26, 2015 at 4:21 PM

When we think about innovation in medicine development, we often don’t picture assembly lines or the industrial manufacturing methods that create the tablets, capsules, injectables or I.V. solutions which help patients live healthier, more productive lives. 

A new report from Deloitte analyzes recent trends in manufacturing technology innovation, providing new information on how new technologies over the past decade are positively impacting the ability of the biopharmaceutical industry to create new medicines and therapies.

The making of medicines requires significant investment in building high-tech production facilities and equipment that has become central to the ability of manufacturers to align with advances in research and development.

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Topics: Medicines in Development, Technology, Innovation, new medicines, Personalized Medicine

Medicare Monday: Happy Memorial Day!

Posted by Allyson Funk on May 25, 2015 at 9:00 AM

We wanted to take this #MedicareMonday to wish all of you a happy Memorial Day! But we didn’t want to leave you without some Medicare reading for your day by the pool or grilling on the patio, so here’s a look back on what we’ve covered over the last few months:

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Topics: diabetes, Part D, Medicare, #MedicareMonday

Week in Review: The Latest from PhRMA

Posted by Priscilla VanderVeer on May 22, 2015 at 1:53 PM

High Out-of-Pocket Costs Hurt Patients: Even with health coverage, approximately 31 million Americans were considered “underinsured” last year due to high deductibles and increasing out-of-pocket costs, according to a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund. The study found that those with low incomes and/or health problems were at the greatest risk of being underinsured. Read more in a Catalyst post about the survey and check out AccessBetterCoverage.org for information on choosing a plan to meet your needs.

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Topics: Personalized Medicine, Patents, IP, Medicare

Biopharmaceutical Companies Recognized as Meaningful Places to Work

Posted by John Tunnell on May 22, 2015 at 11:34 AM

Loretta was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer 12 years ago - but thanks to medical breakthroughs and innovative medicines, she is living a happy, active life today.

Matt was given a five percent chance of living five more years when diagnosed with advanced non-small cell lung cancer - but advances in cancer research changed his prognosis and now he trains for half-marathons.

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Topics: Rare Diseases, biopharmaceutical, healthcare professionals

ICYMI: New Commonwealth Fund Study Shows Health Insurance Does Not Always Translate to Affordable Care

Posted by Allyson Funk on May 21, 2015 at 5:50 PM

A new survey from the Commonwealth Fund found nearly a quarter of 19-to-64-year-old Americans with health insurance last year—approximately 31 million people—were considered “underinsured.” Meaning patients had health insurance, but their coverage did not always protect them from high medical bills and major financial issues. The culprit? Increasing deductibles and high out-of-pocket costs.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Adults with low incomes or health problems are at greatest risk of underinsurance and have high rates of medical bill issues: 42 percent of those with incomes below the federal poverty level were underinsured.
  • Medical bill and debt problems have long-term financial consequences: Nearly half of survey respondents said they exhausted their savings to pay medical bills, nearly one quarter were dealing with collection agencies and 7 percent had to declare bankruptcy.
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Topics: health insurance, coverage, ABCs of Coverage

340B Spotlight: New Charity Care Data Shows Most Hospitals with Contract Pharmacies Provide Little Charity Care

Posted by Karyn Schwartz on May 21, 2015 at 12:13 PM

New data raises even more questions about how hospitals are using for-profit pharmacies to expand a little known program called 340B. This program was designed to allow qualifying hospitals and clinics receiving certain federal grants to access deeply discounted pharmaceuticals so they can more easily provide medicines for their uninsured or vulnerable patients.

Unfortunately, there are not sufficient safeguards in place to ensure that hospitals qualifying for the program are true safety net hospitals providing a disproportionate share of charity care to low-income, uninsured patients.[1]

Now, new data shows the majority of hospitals that are aggressively expanding use of this program through for-profit pharmacies are actually providing below average levels of charity care.

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Topics: 340B, HRSA, hospitals, 340B Spotlight

New Study Illustrates Biopharmaceutical Industry’s Commitment to Personalized Medicine

Posted by Gretta Stone on May 20, 2015 at 3:13 PM

Potential personalized medicines represent 42 percent of drugs in the pipeline. This new finding, from a survey by the Tufts Center for the Study for Drug Development (CSDD), is remarkably high, particularly given that about 15 years ago the science of genomic medicine was just developing and that number was virtually zero.

Until recently many believed that biopharmaceutical companies were resistant to personalized (or precision) medicine and were not performing research to advance the field. Critics often speculated that the science was too hard and companies would not consider developing medicines for such small patient populations.

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Topics: Personalized Medicine, cancer, Tufts, Healthy Outlook

Patents: More Important to Biopharmaceutical Sector than Other Industries

Posted by Setareh Samii on May 18, 2015 at 3:23 PM

According to Abraham Lincoln, the patent system “secured to the inventor for a limited time exclusive use of his inventions, and thereby added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius in the discovery and productions of new and useful things.”

While this quote is from the mid-1800s, it is especially true today for the biopharmaceutical sector. It’s also timely as Congress is considering new legislation that would erode patent rights and potentially undermine industry’s ability to bring new treatments and cures to patients and grow the US economy.

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Topics: R&D, Patents, IP, Congress

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