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Report forecasts rapid rise in specialty drug spending through 2015

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS — Spending on specialty drugs is likely to increase by 67% over the next couple of years, according to a new study by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.

ESI said that spending on the drugs, used to treat such serious conditions as autoimmune disorders and cancers, would increase due to a large number of drugs under development and doctors delaying treatment of patients until they’re on the market. Research by the PBM has indicated that the country will spend nearly $115 billion on specialty drugs, most of them biologics, next year, meaning that drugs used by 2% of the population will account for $4 of every $10 spent on prescription drugs overall. At the same time, biosimilars are expected to save $250 billion between 2014 and 2024, according to another ESI report, released last month.

By the end of 2015, the report found, cancer, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, will each command higher drug-spending than any other therapy class except diabetes. Meanwhile, spending on hepatitis C drugs will quadruple over the next three years thanks to new drugs, expected to receive Food and Drug Administration approval next year, that don’t use interferons; interferons are proteins that are a key component to many biotech drugs used to treat hepatitis C, and, while effective, they can carry many harmful side effects.

"As we see what’s on the horizon, it’s time for employers and health plans to act so they can continue to offer an affordable pharmacy benefit for their members," ESI SVP clinical, research and new solutions Glen Stettin said. "New specialty treatments are making a real difference in the lives of patients, but the very high cost of these drugs creates difficult decisions for plan sponsors on which medicines to cover."

Diabetes will continue to be the most expensive drug therapy through 2015, and spending on diabetes drugs will rise by an additional 24% because of high prevalence and a large number of drugs under development. Spending on drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will increase by 25% despite the availability of new generics, mainly because of more middle-aged adults using them, as well as a wide geographic variation in diagnosis.

 

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Nordic Naturals introduces OTC Pro EPA Elite

BY Jason Owen

WATSONVILLE, Calif. — Nordic Naturals now is offering Pro EPA Elite, a powerful EPA-only concentrate available without a prescription, the company stated.

With 1600 mg of the omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in each serving, Pro EPA Elite provides high intensity, therapeutic support for healthy triglyceride levels and heart health, while promoting key anti-inflammatory pathways.

Pro EPA Elite is an EPA-only formula that contains a similar dose of fish oil to a much-studied ethyl-ester EPA formulation. This dose of EPA has been demonstrated in clinical studies to be beneficial in reducing triglycerides and other cardiovascular risk factors. Pro EPA Elite differs from the study product in that it is formulated in the more bioavailable triglyceride form, the company noted.

EPA is an omega-3 essential fatty acid that is required for optimal health but cannot be produced by the body. Fish oil is considered one of the best sources of the essential fatty acids EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While most fish oil products contain both EPA and DHA, research shows therapeutic benefits from an EPA-only formula, particularly for supporting normal triglyceride levels and heart health.

“Research has confirmed that concentrated EPA, in the absence of DHA, is very beneficial for heart health, specifically for lowering triglyceride levels,” said Keri Marshall, MS, ND, and Nordic Naturals chief medical officer. “Research consistently shows that omega-3s manufactured in the triglyceride form are better absorbed than products in the ethyl ester form.”


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Sure antiperspirant and deodorant reveals new packaging, new conditioning solids

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Sure antiperspirant and deodorant has unveiled a new packaging design and expanded its product portfolio with two new conditioning solids.



Sure’s updated packaging features an infinity band to convey the brand’s message of continuous protection that lasts all day. The colored infinity bands — which are softer shades of purple, pink, blue, green and orange — differentiate the scents. The overall design, including the new purple, curved cap offers a proprietary look, which is sleek, feminine and modern.

In addition, Sure has created a Vitamin-Infusion Conditioning Solid and a Pure Essence Conditioning Solid. These pH-balanced invisible formulas promised to provide lasting odor and wetness protection and work to reduce irritation and smooth skin. The unscented Vitamin Infusion variety conditions and repairs skin with vitamins A and E, while the Pure Essence Conditioning Solid features a light fragrance and aloe extracts.



“We are proud to introduce our redesigned packaging and innovative new varieties,” stated Rick Cutler, marketing director at Idelle Management Co.“While most of the deodorant category is currently chasing a scent story, Sure stands out for offering lasting protection and light fragrances that don’t compete with a woman’s perfume or lotion.”

 

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