PHARMACY

CoverMyMeds: Many scripts unfilled due to high cost of medications

BY Sandra Levy

Seventy-five percent of patients have been prescribed a medication that cost more than they expected, and 50% did not fill the prescription because of the high cost, according to research from the 2018 Real-Time Benefit Check National Adoption Scorecard,  published by CoverMyMeds, which is part of McKesson Prescription Technology Solutions.

The report utilizes new survey data, market research and industry statistics to present a comprehensive overview of real-time benefit check, a technology innovation that surfaces patient-specific prescription benefit details at the point of prescribing. The 2018 Real-Time Benefit Check National Adoption Scorecard introduces original research conducted by CoverMyMeds in partnership with SHC Universal and Research Now.

“With high-deductible plans on the rise, many patients are required to pay more for their medications before they meet their deductible. Patients also have limited visibility into the cost of their prescription prior to leaving the provider’s office, and as a result, are more likely to abandon their prescription at the pharmacy,” University of Virginia Health System pharmacy patient medical access principal coordinator Melissa Paige said, in a press statement. “Real-time benefit check solutions can drive better adherence by providing visibility into medication costs at the point of prescribing. And, as the 2018 Real-Time Benefit Check National Adoption Scorecard reveals, these solutions must be accurate, reliable and have the ability to provide a full picture of the patient’s benefit information.”

The report also found the following:

  • Thirty- seven percent of patients stopped taking a medication because it was too expensive.
  • Seventy- four percent of providers agree that it would be valuable to know about available patient assistance programs at the point of prescribing.
  • Eighty-three percent of electronic health records are committed to providing a real-time benefit check solution to providers at the point of care.

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PHARMACY

FDA approves Kyowa Kirin’s Poteligeo for 2 types of rare cancer

BY Sandra Levy

Kyowa Kirin received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for Poteligeo (mogamulizumab-kpkc) injection for intravenous use for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory mycosis fungoides (MF) or Sézary syndrome (SS) after at least one prior systemic therapy. This approval provides a new treatment option for patients with MF and is the first FDA approval of a drug specifically for SS, the agency said upon announcing the drug’s approval.

“Mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are rare, hard-to-treat types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and this approval fills an unmet medical need for these patients,” said Richard Pazdur. director of FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We are committed to continuing to expedite the development and review of this type of targeted therapy that offers meaningful treatments for patients.”

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system. MF and SS are types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which lymphocytes become cancerous and affect the skin. MF accounts for about half of all lymphomas arising from the skin. It causes itchy red rashes and skin lesions and can spread to other parts of the body. SS is a rare form of skin lymphoma that affects the blood and lymph nodes.

Poteligeo is a monoclonal antibody that binds to a protein (called CC chemokine receptor type 4 or CCR4) found on some cancer cells.

The FDA said approval was based on a clinical trial of 372 patients with relapsed MF or SS who received either Poteligeo or a type of chemotherapy called vorinostat. Progression-free survival, or the amount of time a patient stays alive without the cancer growing was longer for patients taking Poteligeo (median 7.6 months) compared to patients taking vorinostat (median 3.1 months), according to the FDA.

The FDA said it granted this application Priority Review and Breakthrough Therapy designation. Poteligeo also received Orphan Drug designation, which provides incentives to assist and encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases.

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UnitedHealth reportedly in tentative agreement to buy Genoa Healthcare

BY Sandra Levy

Health insurer UnitedHealth reportedly has at least a tentative agreement to buy specialty pharmacy operator Genoa Healthcare from private equity firm Advent International, according to an Axios report.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that Walgreens Boots Alliance was among those suitors interested in Genoa.

Genoa, which is estimated to be worth about $2.5 billion has more than 400 full-service pharmacies within community mental health centers. It serves about 650,000 customers and has more than 250 psychiatrists and nurse practitioners who provide telepsychiatry services to mental-health patients, according to the Bloomberg report.

Genoa CEO John Figueroa is expected to move on and Genoa chief commercial officer Mark Peterson will head the business for UnitedHealth, Axios’ report said.

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