Rewriting health reform
Last issue I wrote about the 9-in.-by-12-in. box on my desk, in which I keep my own personal copy of Congress’ Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Lately, I have been pondering something heavier than that 25-lb. box of paper. What would health reform look like if I could light it on fire and start all over again?
I think I would take a page from what works about specialty pharmacy. I was reminded of this as I read the findings from two recent surveys that CVS Caremark released in April, about a week apart from each other, around the topic of adherence.
In one, a telephone survey of more than 700 of CVS Caremark’s specialty pharmacy patients, the company reported that 70% believed their specialty pharmacy team played an important role in getting them to take their medications as prescribed. Depending on the course of therapy they were on, patients who felt this connection to their specialty pharmacy teams were as much as 36% more likely to remain persistent with their medications.
The other study sought to examine some of the reasons, aside from just cost, that cause a person to stop taking their medications. Among the findings:
24% of respondents believed that taking their medications interfered with their personal lives;
21% believed taking their medications made them feel they were losing control of their lives;
17% said taking their medications made them feel “old;”
16% said they thought they knew better than their doctors;
16% were “wary” of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries and didn’t want to be dependent on their medications or suffer from any side effects; and
6% just didn’t want to change the pace of their lives by taking their medications.
It makes you wonder: What’s different about these two studies? What is the one discernible variable that you know you can put a finger on—the one factor—without knowing anything else about the hundreds of patients that took part in these research projects?
In this case, it was the impact of the specialty pharmacy team. It’s the human touch. That’s the secret sauce.
It is no secret that medication adherence represents the “leaky bucket” of healthcare spending, leading to as much as $300 billion a year in unnecessary costs related to surgeries, hospitalizations and emergency room visits. How much would health reform really cost if, just to throw a number at it, we could make patients 36% more likely to take their meds the way they are supposed to?
Teva receives tentative approval for generic Sensipar
JERUSALEM The Food and Drug Administration has granted tentative approval to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ generic version of an Amgen drug, Teva said Friday.
The FDA gave the tentative approval to cincacalcet hydrochloride tablets in the 30-mg, 60-mg and 90-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Amgen’s Sensipar, which has annual sales of $458 million, according to IMS Health. The drug is used to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis.
Tentative approval means that the drug meets most of the conditions for approval, but the FDA cannot grant final approval because the patents covering the drug don’t expire until December 2016, according to FDA records. Teva and Amgen are currently involved in patent litigation concerning the drug in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, though a trial has not been set, Teva said.
RediClinic introduces Teen Health Package
HOUSTON RediClinic is launching in time for summer camp and upcoming school sports a new health package designed specifically for teenagers.
The new Teen Health Package includes a physical exam, an acne consultation and an immunization review for $59.
"We all know that adolescence is a time of great change," stated Susan Cooley King, VP clinical services. "With this in mind, RediClinic created a special health package that addresses the specific health needs of a teen."
Physical exams are always in season. They are required by summer camps and for participation in school sports. During a RedlClinic physical, a clinician evaluates the teen’s medical history. The exam is then performed, checking their physical health including, but not limited to, chest and heart, lymph nodes, blood pressure and abdomen.
Patients of the Teen Health Package also will receive an evaluation of their acne issues and the clinician will make recommendations for the most appropriate treatment ranging from over-the-counter medications to prescriptions.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 85% of American teenagers are effected by acne.
Patients also will receive an immunization review whereby the clinician will review the teen’s immunization history, identify which vaccines the patient needs for school admission and administer the vaccines, for an additional charge if necessary.