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Closer collaboration between payers, physicians could reduce cancer care costs, studies find

BY Alaric DeArment

DUBLIN, Ohio — Healthcare company Cardinal Health has released a series of studies showing ways that it says could reduce the cost of treating cancer.

Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield started the studies in 2008, in which physicians in the CareFirst network collaborated to develop evidence-based treatment regimens — also known as clinical pathways — for breast, lung and colon cancers that maintained care quality, reduced costs and ensured fair compensation for doctors. According to Cardinal, cancer care costs could reach $170 billion by 2020.

According to the study, presented this month at the 49th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, collaboration between payers and physicians was a significant factor behind the success of the program, which reduced CareFirst’s overall costs by 15%, primarily through a 7% decline in emergency room visits, shorter lengths of hospital stays, increased use of generic drugs and more appropriate use of chemotherapy. While spending on drugs was reduced overall, reimbursements to physicians for drugs increased, as did reimbursement overall.

"These positive results prove that when implemented collaboratively with physician input and buy-in, our clinical pathways can create a new paradigm for the delivery of cancer care — one in which all stakeholders can win," Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions VP and chief medical officer Bruce Feinberg said.

 

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Effort to create special domain for online pharmacies makes progress

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — An effort to allow trusted online pharmacies to add ".pharmacy" to their URLs cleared a hurdle last week as it passed an initial evaluation by the body that regulates the web address suffixes, known as generic top-level domains.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy said passing the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ initial evaluation was a "key success" and "critical milestone" in creating a way for legitimate online pharmacies to stand out from the large number of illegal ones that have proliferated over the years.

"Passing this hurdle in the .pharmacy application process is a significant success in NABP’s initiative to establish a safe online space that will benefit patients and the healthcare community around the world," NABP president Karen Ryle said. "With the online distribution of counterfeit and substandard medications posing a growing threat to consumers, NABP is extremely pleased to move forward with its plans for the .pharmacy [generic top-level domain.]"

Rogue internet pharmacies have become a growing problem as many patients in the United States, seeking a bargain on prescription drugs, order their medications from them. The pharmacies are known to go to great lengths to disguise themselves as Canadian or American, but are often operated from countries with lax regulations, creating the risk that their drugs may be counterfeit, adulterated, expired or contaminated. A January review by the NABP of 10,275 online pharmacies found that 97% of them were out of compliance with U.S. laws. Of the 9,938 identified as "non-recommended," nearly half offered drugs to U.S. residents that were foreign or not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as selling dangerous counterfeit drugs.
The NABP said the next step will include execution of the registry agreement with ICANN and performance of pre-delegation testing to ensure that the pharmacy group and its partners can operate the .pharmacy domain in a stable and secure manner. The NABP plans to launch the domain by the end of this year.

 

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NBTY donates nearly $500,000 in nutritional bars, vitamins to Oklahoma tornado victims

BY Jason Owen

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. — NBTY, a manufacturer and distributor of vitamins, supplements and sports nutrition, announced last week that it will donate nearly $500,000 of Good ‘n Natural bars, Balance Bars and bottles of children’s gummy vitamins to support tornado relief efforts in Oklahoma.

NBTY’s donation is being made through Oklahoma-based charity Feed The Children, an organization whose mission includes responding during times of disaster to provide emergency supplies for those in need. The NBTY-donated supplies will be used to provide convenient, healthy, on-the-go sustenance for relief workers, emergency responders and impacted families.

"We are so incredibly grateful for the generous donation from NBTY, which will positively help the children and families who’ve been affected by the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma," said Erin Engelke, Feed The Children vice president of communications/PR. "Feed The Children is on the ground supporting these families now, and NBTY’s partnership with us ensures they will receive immediate relief as they begin the rebuilding process."

"Our hearts go out to the families and communities impacted by these devastating tornadoes," said Jeff Schneider, senior vice president of product management at NBTY. "Our wish is that our donation of nutritional bars and children’s vitamins helps to make the next few weeks a little easier for the residents of Oklahoma who were impacted by this tragedy. We are glad to be in a position to help."


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