The Catalyst

Week in Review: The latest from PhRMA

Posted by Priscilla VanderVeer on May 27, 2016 at 12:15 PM

Threats to multiple myeloma progress – Progress in the fight against multiple myeloma has led to remarkable results, allowing 80 percent of newly diagnosed patients to live more than four years. Yet the flawed value framework developed by Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) threatens to halt future progress by encouraging budget caps and one-size-fits-all value thresholds. Stakeholders across the health care system have expressed concerns about the negative impact on multiple myeloma progress. Read what they’re saying

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Topics: Week in Review

ICER framework threatens to halt continued progress against multiple myeloma

Posted by Holly Campbell on May 26, 2016 at 11:47 AM

Progress in the fight against multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, has been nothing short of remarkable.

Just a decade ago, patients diagnosed faced a poor prognosis and treatment options were largely limited to chemotherapy, often associated with severe side effects.

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Topics: Value, myeloma

Canada’s promise doctrine strikes again

Posted by Mark Grayson on May 26, 2016 at 10:00 AM

In just the last few weeks Canada has once again taken steps to invalidate yet another medicine (Zymar®) by applying the “promise doctrine.” See Allergan Inc. v. Apotex Inc., 2016 FC 344 (April 1, 2016). This is just the most recent in a litany of important medicines and cures that have been subjected to invalidation because of a novel legal theory used nowhere else in the world. Coming on top of a similar case earlier this year, these court decisions are aimed almost entirely at biopharmaceutical innovators and confounds the time-tested way that basic research is turned into new treatments and cures.

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Topics: Innovation, Patents, Canada

Many consumers still face confusion around health insurance coverage

Posted by Rebecca Davison on May 25, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Consumers need to be engaged and empowered when making decisions about their health coverage. Two recent studies suggest more can be done to help consumers sort through their health insurance options and select the best plan for their needs and budget. One study on 2016 marketplace open enrollment by the Georgetown Center for Health Insurance Reform analyzed data from a call center of assisters helping consumers select plans in the federally facilitated marketplaces. A second study focused on marketplace websites and found despite site improvements, consumers were still confused about several key aspects of selecting a health plan.

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Topics: Access, health insurance, Access Better Coverage, ABCs of Coverage

Cost of mental illness underscores need for new treatments

Posted by Holly Campbell on May 25, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Today, one in five American adults and children experience a mental illness in any given year. As the prevalence of complex mental health conditions has grown, the cost of caring for patients has also increased.

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Topics: Medicines in Development, Drug Development, Mental Health, Health Affairs

Medicare Monday: The downside of one-size-fits-all treatment for patients managing mental health conditions

Posted by Nicole Longo on May 23, 2016 at 10:58 AM

In the last couple weeks, we’ve compared the potential impact of using one-size-fits-all standards of care instead of personalized treatment plans for patients with breast cancer and colon cancer. In both case studies, the patients’ quality of life and long-term prognosis were compromised when decisions were made on an average rather than on the individual.

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Topics: Medicare, Medicare Monday, Part B, case studies

Higher deductibles and more dissatisfaction with health plans according to new poll

Posted by Karyn Schwartz on May 20, 2016 at 3:33 PM

The share of consumers in a high deductible plan increased from 36 percent to 49 percent among those who purchase their own insurance, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll released today. This poll found the rise in deductibles was accompanied by an increase in the share of enrollees[1] who rate their coverage as “not so good” or “poor” from 20 percent in 2014 and 21 percent in 2015 to 31 percent in 2016.

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Topics: Access, Kaiser Family Foundation, Access Better Coverage

New non-discrimination rule neglects to define discriminatory benefits

Posted by Karyn Schwartz on May 19, 2016 at 9:00 AM

In a final rule released late last week, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights declined to provide details on health insurance benefit designs it considers to be discriminatory. This is understandably disappointing to patients who have found many of the plans offered in the new health insurance marketplaces appear to be designed to discourage enrollment by individuals with certain health conditions. 

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Topics: Access, ACA, HHS, Discrimination, Access Better Coverage, ABCs of Coverage

The Science of Hope: Understanding biomarkers

Posted by Andrew Powaleny on May 18, 2016 at 9:00 AM

In the age of personalized medicine, biomarkers (short for “biological markers”) are emerging as important tools in drug development. A biomarker is a measure or physical sign that can be used to determine how the body is functioning. This can help researchers develop more individualized treatments, provide an early warning sign for certain health risks and accelerate patient access to certain therapies.

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Topics: FDA, Clinical Trials, biomarkers

340B Spotlight: A look at 340B eligibility and charity care

Posted by Allyson Funk on May 17, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Last week the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (AIR340B)—of which PhRMA is a member—released a new report looking at charity care provided by 340B hospitals. This expands on previous research on the topic conducted in 2014. Even since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, 64 percent of 340B hospitals are providing less charity care than the national average for all hospitals, including for-profit hospitals. This is even as 340B hospitals receive steep discounts on medicines.

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Topics: 340B, 340B Spotlight

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