PHARMACY

Study: Walgreens home infusion service may deliver services faster than an ER visit

BY Michael Johnsen

PHOENIX — Patients with a rare, life-threatening genetic immune system disorder can receive treatment for sudden episodes more quickly and cost-effectively at home than if they go to the emergency room, according to a Walgreens Infusion Services study being presented Wednesday at the National Home Infusion Association Annual Conference and Exposition here.

“These results demonstrate Walgreens Infusion Services’ commitment to providing personalized patient care promptly and cost-effectively, even with complex diseases,” stated Steve Kennedy, national director of infusion pharmacy services for Walgreens Infusion Services. “Our experienced infusion nurses provide [hereditary angiodema] patients necessary treatment in the comfort of their own home, saving them time and the additional stress that may accompany an emergency room visit."

More than 92% of treatments in the study occurred within two hours, whereas the average emergency room stay lasts longer than two hours. Patients in the study received Kalbitor (ecallantide) injections to treat episodes, which can include rapid swelling of the hands, feet, face and other parts of the body, as well as severe pain.

The program study included 50 patients who received 249 Kalbitor treatments provided in the home by Walgreens Infusion Services nurses nationwide during a five-month period (October 2011 to Feburary 2012) as part of a therapy management program dedicated to improving quality of life for HAE patients. Walgreens Infusion Services is the only home infusion provider of Kalbitor treatment in the United States, according to the company.

Among the findings:

  • 65% of treatments occurred in less than one hour, 92% within two hours and 100% within four hours. The median length of stay in an ER in 2008 was 2.6 hours, and 65% of patients spent two hours or more — not including time to travel to the ER — with waiting time causing much of the delay, according to Walgreens research;

  • Patients’ insurance plans saved $648,147 over ER treatment, based on the average $2,603 cost of an ER visit for an HAE episode versus the average $150 cost for a home infusion nurse visit; and

  • Patients reported an average overall satisfaction score of 4.85-out-of-5.

In addition to the HAE program, Walgreens Infusion Services provides care for people with acute or chronic conditions, including bleeding disorders, advanced heart failure, immunoglobulin deficiencies, nutrition deficiencies and infections, among other care protocols.

HAE, also known as Quincke’s disease, affects about 10,000 people in the United States. Patients have a genetic deficiency that results in periodic episodes of swelling, discomfort and pain triggered by anything from dental procedures to stress, sickness or surgery. HAE also can cause swelling of the throat, which is fatal 30% to 50% of the time when the disease is undiagnosed or improperly managed.

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PHARMACY

PhRMA report lists almost 300 vaccines under development

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Drug makers in the United States are developing nearly 300 vaccines for preventing and treating diseases, according to a new report by a drug industry trade group.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America released a report finding that the 295 vaccines — all of which are in clinical testing or  under review by the Food and Drug Administration — include 170 for infections diseases, 102 for cancers and eight for neurological disorders.

These include a therapeutic vaccine that increases the immune system’s response against HIV; a genetically modified treatment for cancer; and an immunotherapeutic vaccine for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

"Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of biomedical science and public health," PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani said. "Over the past few decades, vaccinations have helped prevent and in some cases nearly eliminate contagious and deadly diseases affecting children and adults alike."


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J.Tripp says:
Apr-26-2012 12:22 pm

DSN, thanks for highlighting the vaccines in development. I'm including a link to the report so your readers can see it in full. The report is available at http://bit.ly/Jd8hsy.

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Watson to buy Actavis for $5.6 billion

BY Alaric DeArment

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Watson has announced its intention to acquire Actavis, the company said.

Following news reports Tuesday that the U.S.-based generic drug maker would acquire Switzerland-based Actavis, Watson announced Wednesday that it would buy the latter for $5.6 billion. News media had reported that the deal would be worth $5.9 billion, while there had been estimates in March that Watson would pay up to $7.3 billion.

"The acquisition of Actavis will create the third largest global generics company, substantially completing Watson’s expansion as a leading global generics company," Watson president and CEO Paul Bisaro said. "Actavis dramatically enhances our commercial position on a global basis and brings complementary products and capabilities in the United States."

Watson noted that Actavis operates in more than 40 countries and markets more than 1,000 products around the world, with more than 300 projects in its pipeline and 2011 sales of about $2.5 billion.


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