PHARMACY

Prime Therapeutics finds increase in long-acting opioid claims

BY David Salazar
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics recently analyzed pharmacy claims for short- and long-acting opioids, finding a decrease in short-acting opioid claims and an increase in long-acting opioid claims. The review of 15 million commercially insured members found an overall 3.9% decrease in opioid claims from 2014 to 2015. 
 
Prime said there were 20.5 million opioid claims in the time period between Jan. 1, 2014 and March 31, 2016. During this time, claims for long-acting opioids with FDA-validated abuse-deterrent properties increased 3.2%, while claims on non-validated abuse-deterrent long-acting opioids increased 26%. Short-acting opioids claims decreased 4.5%. Claims on long-acting opioids made up 8% of all claims volume and 48.6% of total cost, and short-acting opioids made up 92% of claims.
 
“With new laws requiring coverage of abuse-deterrent opioids, future utilization and cost trends in this category could increase,” Prime principal health outcomes researcher Cathy Starner said. “It is important for insurers to understand both legislation and current utilization patterns to help forecast trend in this drug category.”
 

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FDA approves Lupin’s generic Namenda XR

BY David Salazar
MUMBAI and BALTIMORE — The Food and Drug Administration has approved Lupin’s generic of Namenda XR (memantine hydrochloride) extended-release capsules, the company announced Thursday. The drug is indicated to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s-related dementia. 
 
Lupin’s generic will be available in 7-, 14-, 21- and 28-mg dosage strengths. The drug had U.S. sales of $1.22 billion for the 12 months ended June 2016, according to IMS Health data. 
 

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NACDS Foundation drives TB testing research initiative

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. – The NACDS Foundation on Thursday announced the launch of its newest research initiative, Improving Access Project: Tuberculosis Testing and Latent Tuberculosis Infection Treatment in Community Pharmacies.

“This study exemplifies key goals of the NACDS Foundation because it seeks to evaluate the impact of enhanced patient access of TB testing on patient outcomes, by engaging healthcare partners to extend the fantastic work of the state health department,” stated Kathleen Jaeger, NACDS Foundation president.

The University of New Mexico has confirmed the participation of seven community pharmacies and will begin rolling out services in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., as part of the study. Patients who seek care in participating sites will be counseled by trained pharmacists on risk factors and prevention and those with positive test results will enter directly observed therapy immediately after being referred to the New Mexico Department of Health Tuberculosis Program. A 12-week medication regimen and education plan will be provided for patients at no cost—patients will be able to choose whether to receive the treatment services at the health department or one of the participating community pharmacies.

The Foundation study, led by principle investigators at the University of New Mexico, is designed to evaluate the impact of expanding access to community testing for latent tuberculosis infections. The study coincides with a recent recommendation from the United States Preventative Task Force advising that asymptomatic adults at higher risk for LTBI should be screened in primary care settings.

The goal of this collaborative project is two-fold: (1) to survey patients and understand their healthcare experience and perception of receiving TB testing in the community setting, and (2) to evaluate improved patient health outcomes and access to care when TB testing and LTBI treatment are provided in the community pharmacy setting. The study will explore models to increase patient access to tuberculosis skin tests and immediate follow-up treatment as an effort to limit transmission.

Approximately 12 million individuals in the United States currently have LTBI, which has the potential to develop into a widespread public health issue. This study’s focus on early identification and treatment is a necessary, timely response to an immediate public health need and has potential for broader replication, especially in rural areas impacted by barriers to healthcare.

The study is expected to conclude in September 2017.
 

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