FDA approves new hemophilia treatment
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A recently approved drug might make infusions for hemophiliacs fewer and further between.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Biogen Idec’s Eloctate, which clinical trials have shown works to treat bleeding episodes and to increase the time between prophylactic blood infusions for those with hemophilia A, a genetic illness that affects approximately 16,000 Americans.
With Eloctate, prophylactic infusions for hemophiliacs are only necessary every three to five days, a change from most, which are required every other day for those with severe hemophilia A.
Biogen Idec is hoping to make the drug available as soon as July, and the United States is the first country to approve Eloctate, though it’s currently under consideration for approval in Australia, Japan and Canada.
Eloctate is the second treatment for hemophilia approved by the FDA this year, following the March approval of Alprolix, which treats hemophilia B and reduces infusion frequency for those patients to once a week.
Report: Access to specialty medicines should be determined by clinical value, not cost
WASHINGTON — As healthcare decision-makers grapple with how to ensure access to specialty medications, the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design and the National Pharmaceutical Council on Monday released a new report, "Supporting Consumer Access to Specialty Medications Through Value-Based Insurance Design," which explores how value-based insurance design could be utilized to address specialty medication access concerns.
V-BID is built on the principle of lowering or removing financial barriers to essential, evidence-based, high-value clinical services to align patients’ out-of-pocket costs, such as co-payments, with the value of services. Driven by the concept of clinical nuance, V-BID recognizes that medical services differ in the benefit they provide, and the clinical benefit derived from a specific service depends on the characteristics of the patient receiving it. According to report author and V-BID Center director, Mark Fendrick, V-BID seeks to shift the focus from "how much" to "how well" we spend our healthcare dollars.
Acquisition cost, not clinical value, typically is the driving force behind consumer cost-sharing provisions for specialty medications in nearly all public and private health plans. "It is imperative for decision-makers that cost-containment efforts do not produce preventable reductions in quality of care," Fendrick said.
Payers and purchasers can use a variety of techniques to apply V-BID to specialty medications, including:
- Imposing no more than modest cost-sharing on high-value medications;
- Reducing cost-sharing based on patient- or disease-specific qualifications;
- Selectively reducing cost-sharing for patients who fail to respond as desired to another medication based on current access restrictions used by insurance companies; or
- Using cost-sharing to encourage patient selection of high-performing providers.
The authors point out that it will be critical to anticipate and address some of the foreseeable challenges associated with clinically nuanced benefit designs to make V-BID work effectively for specialty medications.
As Americans are responsible for an increasing portion of the cost of medical care, cost-related non-adherence of potentially life-saving interventions is a real and growing problem, Fendrick noted. While a comprehensive V-BID program for specialty pharmaceuticals may not be immediately feasible, significant headway can be made by beginning with certain high-priority medications or clinical conditions, Fendrick added.
Survey: Customer experience/engagement among top priorities for retailers
BOSTON — Many retailers are focused on providing a seamless experience in the store, on the web or anywhere customers want to shop as they strive to enhance customer engagement, collect and analyze customer behavior and personalize the experience, according to the newly released Boston Retail Partners 1st Annual CRM/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey. But there’s still much work to be done.
Unified Commerce is the evolution of both multi-channel and omnichannel retailing. The key Unified Commerce initiatives — such as enhancing customer engagement, collecting and analyzing customer behavior, and personalizing the experience — emerged as top priorities for retailers.
The 2014 CRM/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current state and planned initiatives, priorities and future trends that relate to customer relationship management practices associated with the retail industry’s shift to Unified Commerce.
“It was impressive to learn how many retailers are now focused on implementing the technologies to deliver Unified Commerce, but there is still a lot of work to be done to deliver these capabilities,” said Walter Deacon, principal, Boston Retail Partners. “Delivering Unified Commerce requires seamless execution of the right strategy, technology and business processes.”
The looming challenge is that while marketing has become the center of the Unified Commerce organization, it often is still on its own with regard to developing marketing technology strategies and evaluating and selecting technology, according to Boston Retail Partners. With the importance of multiple key marketing initiatives to achieve a seamless shopping experience, retailers need to examine ways to improve the unification of marketing and IT to successfully implement these projects, research suggests. Many larger retailers have developed a role in the organization that helps bridge this gap — a senior-level role responsible for working with IT to develop a marketing technology strategy and evaluate and implement the technology.
“To deliver the seamless experience, retailers need to gather, analyze and disseminate customer, product, pricing and inventory data in real-time,” said Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners. “Leveraging technology, Unified Commerce provides the platform and real-time retail is key to delivering the experience. Retailers that successfully deliver Unified Commerce will understand and adopt a ‘unified’ approach for strategic customer initiatives, technology, business processes and execution.”
Key survey results —
- 95% of the respondents indicated customer experience/customer engagement is one of their top three current initiatives;
- 3% have the ability to identify the customer when she walks in the store, and another 72% plan to implement this within five years;
- 16% currently have real-time retail from POS (which offers the “Amazon” experience in the store) and another 63% plan to implement within five years;
- 28% currently use mobile marketing, and another 62% plan to implement this within five years (56% plan to implement mobile marketing within two years);
- 81% have implemented some type of customer database, typically as part of a CRM or loyalty platform; and
- 22% of retailers have implemented real-time analytics and 61% plan to implement it within two years.