GSK donates $500,000 to Philadelphia Children’s Hospital Cancer Center
PHILADELPHIA — Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline’s philanthropic arm has donated $500,000 to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as part of a fund that provides assistance to families for travel and living expenses they may incur while their children are enrolled in experimental or novel treatments offered at the hospital’s Cancer Center.
The GSK Foundation made the donation as part of its Hope for Families Fund, a permanent endowment it established with a $1 million gift in 2008 that helps children and young adults with relapsed cancers gain access to the new therapies offered at the hospital, helping financially eligible families cover airfare and ground transportation, lodging and meals. Many families using the fund are low-income or one-income families, who have come from 20 U.S. states and six foreign countries.
"Financial burdens such as missed time from work, airfare and other expenses can really take a big toll on a family dealing with cancer," GSK Oncology president Paolo Paoletti said. "Through the GSK Hope for Families Fund, our goal is to alleviate some of the financial burden so that families can focus on helping their child get well."
Galena buys rights to cancer-pain drug from Orexo
LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — Galena Biopharma has purchased rights to a treatment for breakthrough cancer pain from a Swedish drug maker, Galena said Monday.
Galena, which specializes in cancer-related drugs, said it acquired Abstral (fentanyl) sublingual tablets for sale and distribution in the United States from Orexo AB. Breakthrough cancer pain, or BTcP, affects between 40% to 80% of cancer patients, with reported episodes of four per day and a median duration of 30 minutes, according to Galena.
Abstral received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in January 2011. The drug belongs to a class known as transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl, or TIRFs, which have a market of $400 million in the United States, Galena said. The drug is designed for patients who are already receiving opioids, but have become tolerant to them.
Under the agreement, Galena will pay $10 million upfront to Orexo and $5 million within the first 12 months of closing, plus low double-digit royalties and one-time milestone payments based on pre-specified net sales.
Walgreens demonstrates success on improving adherence at World Congress Summit
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens recently presented the research on how community pharmacy programs, as well as new adherence models and metrics, can help drive better medication adherence. The research, presented at the World Congress Summit in Philadelphia last Friday, demonstrates the company’s success in improving patient medication adherence by developing an infrastructure that tracks patient-level adherence and uses predictive modeling along with risk stratification to identify patient patterns.
“Medication nonadherence is one of the greatest and most costly barriers in treating illness today,” noted Kristi Rudkin, Walgreens senior director product development. “By developing programs and services that can help reduce these barriers, and examining ways to drive cost savings and improved health outcomes through better adherence, we can help more people get, stay and live well.”
Walgreens also can help lower general healthcare costs for payers. New-to-therapy patients often face adherence challenges while trying to learn a new medication regimen. A retrospective cohort study assessing the impact of pharmacist-led, face-to-face counseling in new-to-therapy statin patients found that compared to usual pharmacy care, those patients receiving face-to-face counseling had 7.2% higher adherence.
Forgetfulness also can be a contributor to nonadherence. In a pilot program, automated refill reminders significantly improved patient adherence to medications used to treat chronic conditions. Patients who received automated Interactive Voice Responses telephonic reminders had a significantly higher medication possession ratio compared with patients who did not receive reminders. Additionally, the persistence for the intervention was nearly eight days longer than that of the control group.
“Helping patients improve their medication adherence is a challenge for providers, payers and many others within the healthcare system,” commented Michael Taitel, Walgreens senior director of clinical outcomes and analytic services. “We’ve demonstrated the effectiveness of several programs and initiatives — including our new to therapy program, automated refill reminder calls. Integrating predictive modeling and risk stratification will help us be even more effective at driving better adherence and ultimately, better health outcomes.”
Rudkin and Taitel discussed the research findings along with product-specific interventions focused on empowering patients to better self-manage their condition. Medication nonadherence is estimated to cost the U.S. healthcare system $300 billion dollars per year. The World Congress Summit to Improve Adherence and Enhance Patient Engagement gathered medical experts to address ways in which effective interventions and coordination can improve adherence rates and drive better patient outcomes. The summit took place March 14-15 in Philadelphia.