PHARMACY

Amgen cuts prices for Repatha devices

BY Sandra Levy

Amgen announced today that all Repatha (evolocumab) device options, including the prefilled syringe and Pushtronex — on-body infusor with prefilled cartridge — are now available at a 60% reduced list price of $5,850 per year.

The most commonly used delivery system, the Repatha SureClick autoinjector, was made available at the lower list price of $5,850 in October 2018. The lower priced Repatha options are identical to the Repatha options currently available, but have been introduced to reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients, especially Medicare patients, the company said.

“Every 40 seconds, someone in America has a heart attack or stroke, making cardiovascular disease one of the country’s most significant health challenges,” Murdo Gordon, Amgen’s executive vice president of global commercial operations, said. “Repatha can help to address this significant public health issue, which is why we are working hard to improve patient affordability by lowering Repatha’s list price to improve patient co-pays, especially for Medicare patients.”

Eighty percent of current Repatha Medicare patients have access to Repatha at the new lower list price through their plans. Additionally, more patients now can fill a Repatha prescription at a retail pharmacy because a number of large payers are reclassifying Repatha as a non-specialty therapy.

“The lower list price announced in October has been received very positively by patients, physicians and payers, and we are already seeing a noticeable impact for patients,” Gordon said. “However, more must be done to help more patients get to a low fixed co-pay. We need continued engagement from all stakeholders — from healthcare professionals to payers to plans and to government agencies — to help ensure patients benefit from the lower list price to reduce their out-of-pocket costs.”

The Pushtronex system is a hands-free device that provides 420 mg of Repatha once monthly in a single dose. The device adheres to the body during administration. Patients are able to perform moderate physical activities, such as walking, reaching or bending as the 420 mg of Repatha is delivered subcutaneously. The prefilled syringe and SureClick are administered once every two weeks.

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Cardinal Health Foundation provides grant for Ohio opioid initiative

BY Sandra Levy

In its continuing effort to reduce opioid misuse and abuse, the Cardinal Health Foundation is providing a $530,000 grant to the Ohio Hospital Association to identify and deploy best opioid prescribing practices for pain management among OHA member hospitals across the state.

This OHA initiative will engage hospitals in a first of its kind statewide collaborative to gather and share benchmark data around opioid prescribing practices, based on physician specialty, patient diagnosis and other variables, with the goal of producing more effective pain management and better patient outcomes with fewer opioids prescribed, the company said.

“Cardinal Health and OHA care deeply about the devastation prescription drug misuse has caused and are committed to working toward a solution to the opioid epidemic,” Cardinal Health vice president of community relations Jessie Cannon said. “Under the umbrella of Generation Rx and our Opioid Action Program, we are pleased to support OHA in its work to refine opioid prescribing in communities across the state.”

“Ensuring prescribers can compare their prescribing habits with their peers is considered an important step in improving best practices,” OHA senior vice president of quality and data Amy Andres said. When we have established benchmark data, we’ll work with hospitals to target opioid prescribing levels to better support patients with chronic pain.”

Patients prescribed opioids in Ohio has decreased from 2.3 million in 2016 to 1.9 million in 2017, according to the latest report from the Ohio Automated RX Reporting System, the company said.

“From the inception of this project, OHA and Cardinal Health agreed that our focus would be on programs and services designed to significantly impact the opioid epidemic in Ohio,” OHA president and CEO Mike Abrams said. “I am confident that this partnership will strengthen the ability of our member hospitals, as well as physicians across Ohio, to combat opioid misuse and abuse.”

To date, 62 Ohio hospitals have committed to participating in the OHA initiative to reduce opioids prescribed.

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MinuteClinic debuts in Dallas, Pennsylvania

BY Sandra Levy

MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, has opened inside the CVS Pharmacy store at 5 Church St. in Dallas, Pa.

The clinic, open Monday through Friday with no appointment necessary, will provide a wide array of high-quality, affordable wellness services for patients between the ages of 18 months old and older.

“Our new clinic will help increase access to high-quality, affordable health care for people who live and work in the Dallas community,” Minute Clinic senior vice president and executive director Sharon Vitti said. “We’re excited to bring our unique care model to people in the area, and we look forward to being a healthcare resource for residents when and where they need us.”

MinuteClinic is staffed by nurse practitioners who specialize in family health care and can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for such common illnesses as strep throat and ear, eye, sinus, bladder and bronchial infections. Minor wounds and abrasions, sprains, strains and joint pain are treated, and common vaccinations for such conditions as influenza, tetanus, pneumonia and hepatitis A and B are available.

Prevention and wellness services offered at MinuteClinic include screening and monitoring for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, tuberculosis testing, contraceptive care, motion sickness prevention, and smoking cessation. MinuteClinic nurse practitioners can evaluate and treat such common skin conditions as acne, dermatitis and rosacea.

Patients receive educational material, a prescription when clinically appropriate and a visit summary. A copy of the diagnostic record can be sent electronically, or by fax or mail, to a primary care provider with patient permission.

Most major health insurance is accepted at MinuteClinic. For patients paying cash or credit, treatment prices are posted at each clinic and online at minuteclinic.com. The cost for most services is between $89 and $129.

Patients who visit MinuteClinic and do not have a primary care provider are given a list of physicians in the community who are accepting new patients.

A new digital tool accessible via minuteclinic.com allows patients to view wait times at all MinuteClinic locations. Patients also can hold a place in line or schedule a future appointment from the convenience of their smartphone, computer or tablet.

The new clinic in Dallas will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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