Avalere Health: Medicare proposed rule change could require 39% of all PDPs to be eliminated in 2016
WASHINGTON — A Medicare proposed rule change limiting the number of prescription drug plans that insurers may offer in the Part D market could require 39% of all enhanced plans to be eliminated in 2016, according to an analysis from Avalere Health that was released Wednesday. The change, which limits standalone PDP sponsors to one basic and one enhanced plan per region, was proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in a January proposed regulation.
Avalere estimates that the change would require 214 of the current 552 enhanced PDPs to be terminated or consolidated with an existing plan. Those 214 plans represent products sold by nine carriers that currently offer two enhanced PDPs in the same region.
“Many health plans have designed low-premium, enhanced PDPs to attract cost-conscious enrollees and more comprehensive options for higher-need beneficiaries,” said Matt Eyles, EVP at Avalere Heath. “Plans are likely to respond to this change by rolling the more comprehensive PDP into the lower-cost plan, which could increase premiums for beneficiaries.”
The anticipated change in policy would impact 7.4 million of the 7.9 million (94%) Medicare beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in an enhanced plan — including both beneficiaries whose plan will be terminated or consolidated and those whose plan will remain but may see changes in benefits or premiums as plan options and enrollees are consolidated.
PhRMA: 180 diabetes medicines in development
WASHINGTON — America’s biopharmaceutical research companies currently are developing 180 new medicines to help the nearly 400 million people who have diabetes worldwide, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America announced Tuesday. These medicines in development — all either in clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration — include 30 for type 1 diabetes, 100 for type 2 and 52 for diabetes-related conditions.
“Dedicated researchers in the biopharmaceutical sector, working hand-in-hand with others in the medical innovation ecosystem, are striving to meet the global challenge of diabetes by developing new innovative treatment options,” stated PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani. “The nearly 200 medicines in development today offer great hope that together we can ease the tremendous burden of diabetes on patients, public health and economies around the world.”
PhRMA released a report that conveys the range of innovative approaches being pursued to tackle this challenging chronic disease. Examples include:
- A medicine that improves glucose-dependent insulin secretion for type 2 diabetes;
- A medicine designed to inhibit an enzyme linked to diabetic neuropathy; and
- A treatment designed to stimulate and enhance the regeneration of insulin-producing cells for type 1 diabetes.
One of the biggest hurdles in discovering and developing new medicines for diabetes is the identification and validation of promising biological targets of the disease. A new public-private partnership involving the National Institutes of Health, 10 biopharmaceutical companies, PhRMA and several non-profit disease foundations aims to transform the current model for developing new diagnostics and treatments for certain diseases. The Accelerating Medicines Partnership will begin with three- to five-year pilot projects focused on three disease areas, including diabetes.
Select Hometown Pharmacy locations offering free flu, strep tests
NEWAYGO, Mich. — Joining the ranks of Hy-Vee and Meijer, HomeTown Pharmacy, which is based here in Newaygo, has announced that it is now offering free flu and strep throat testing as part of a collaborative patient care study.
Thirteen statewide HomeTown Pharmacy locations are now offering on-site testing and medications for treatment of influenza and strep throat as part of a study with the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy and Ferris State University in a pilot project to determine the cost-effectiveness and patient acceptance of rapid diagnostic testing in community retail pharmacies.
Select HomeTown pharmacists have been certificate-trained in a program developed by professors from each university conducting the study and sponsored by the Michigan Pharmacists Association. Eligible patients will be tested for either influenza or strep throat by a trained pharmacist, at the pharmacy, using noninvasive and FDA-cleared rapid diagnostic tests.
In the event of a positive test, the pharmacist is able to dispense the appropriate prescription medication to treat the condition, based on protocol developed by the study’s physicians. This protocol eliminates the need for the patient to schedule and attend an office visit, and allows them to begin treatment immediately.
“We are not trying to compete with physician-based practices, as we are still referring the sickest of patients to their local physicians, but we do feel that our pharmacists can provide quality care that is accessible and more convenient to patients with possible flu or strep throat. We envision that, in the future, we will expand service provision, which will be attractive to patients of all ages, particularly working parents. Instead of taking time off from work for an office visit, or making an expensive emergency room visit, parents could bring their children to our pharmacies and receive a quick test to determine if their child’s illness is the flu or strep throat,” stated Jeff Stull, pharmacy development manager and project coordinator for HomeTown Pharmacy.
The testing and diagnostic services are free through the pilot project year, and will continue to be available beyond the study (ends in August). At that time the services will be available as a fee-for-service, but exact costs have yet to be determined. After August, HomeTown Pharmacy is planning to expand services to include testing for children in addition to adults, as well as including additional pharmacy locations throughout the state.
As reported by Drug Store News, Hy-Vee stores in Omaha and Papillion are among 60 sites throughout three states that will have pharmacists trained to administer these tests. Also collaborating with Ferris State University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy is Meijer, which recently announced that its pharmacy locations in Michigan would be participating in the study.