Posts Tagged “Diabetes”

Canadians don’t want Americans stealing their prescription drugs.

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Canadians don’t want Americans stealing their prescription drugs.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration released its official plan to eventually let Americans import inexpensive prescription drugs from Canada. This is a popular idea that conservatives long resisted, but it has recently caught on among politicians on both sides of the aisle thanks to the growing sense of crisis over U.S. pharmaceutical prices. States including Florida , Maine , Colorado , and Vermont have passed laws to let their residents buy medicine over the border . Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently joined a bus caravan of diabetes patients that traveled to Ontario in order to stock up on insulin. (Under current law, U.S. residents are allowed to bring back up to a three-month supply of medication from across the border for personal use.)

But while Americans might like the idea of treating their northern neighbor as one big discount pharmacy, Canadians seem to be less than thrilled by it. There has been concern that large-scale U.S. imports could exacerbate the drug shortages that are already a regular problem in the country. In July, 15 groups representing doctors, patients, and pharmacies sent an open letter to Canada’s health minister warning about the potential problems. “The Canadian medicine supply…

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Can Canadian imports lower U.S. drug prices?

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Can Canadian imports lower U.S. drug prices?

Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders joined a caravan of people with diabetes crossing the border to Canada to buy insulin to highlight the drastic price difference of the medicine — which can be one-tenth of what it costs in the United States. A new proposal from the Trump administration could make trips like these unnecessary in the near future. The plan would allow states, pharmacies and drug manufacturers in the United States to import prescription drugs from Canada.

Why there’s debate: Proponents of the idea say access to cheaper Canadian drugs would save the lives of patients who struggle to afford the medicine they need from American sellers. Drug companies in the United States would ultimately be forced to lower their prices to compete with less expensive imports, they argue. The U.S. plan sparked significant concerns from Canadians worried that demand from the massive American market would lead to drug shortages or price increases in their country, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to maintain a “steady and solid supply” of drugs in Canada. Others point out that the plan may not apply to some of the most expensive drugs, including insulin. Skeptics on both sides of the border argue…

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USA: On Both Ends of Capitol, Both Parties Warn Big Pharma on Drug Prices

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USA: On Both Ends of Capitol, Both Parties Warn Big Pharma on Drug Prices

Members of Congress from both parties served notice on pharmaceutical companies on Tuesday that the days of unchecked drug-price increases were over and that they would be held politically accountable for exorbitant prices.

The new reality became apparent at simultaneous but separate hearings of House and Senate committees where lawmakers said that the relentless increases were unsustainable and unacceptable.

“There is a strong bipartisan consensus that we must do something to rein in out-of-control price increases,” said Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. “Drug companies make money hand over fist by raising the prices of their drugs — often without justification and sometimes overnight — while patients are left holding the bill.”

On the other side of the Capitol, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the chairman of the Finance Committee, and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the panel, denounced drug company executives who they said had refused to testify voluntarily.

Mr. Grassley expressed “displeasure at the lack of cooperation from the pharmaceutical manufacturers” and vowed to insist on their testimony in coming months.

Mr. Wyden said: “Even the Big Tobacco C.E.O.s…

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USA: UPMC, AstraZeneca Enter Value-Based Pharmaceutical Contract

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USA: UPMC, AstraZeneca Enter Value-Based Pharmaceutical Contract

UPMC Health Plan and AstraZeneca are taking on the challenge of a value-based pharmaceutical contract for one of the manufacturer’s cardiovascular medications.

Reimbursement for prescriptions of BRILINTA, a drug intended to help heart attack patients forestall or lessen the impact of subsequent events, will be connected to cardiovascular outcomes for targeted populations, the two organizations stated.

“In alignment with our commitment to ensuring patient access, lowering patient costs and sustaining innovation, AstraZeneca is pleased to collaborate with UPMC Health Plan on this novel agreement to lower out-of-pocket costs for UPMC for Life Medicare patients through dual-sided risk and proud to stand behind the value of BRILINTA® in improving patient outcomes,” said Rick R. Suarez, senior vice president, US Market Access, AstraZeneca.

The agreement builds on a new genre of value-based reimbursements slowly taking hold in the industry: tying payments for costly medications to how well they achieve stated goals.

The contract was developed by Value-Based Pharmacy Initiatives, the UPMC Insurance Services Division’s nonprofit research group in collaboration with AstraZeneca and leaders from the UPMC health system.

“This type of contract reflects the innovative work that we are leading at the Center for Value-Based Pharmacy Initiatives,” said Chronis Manolis, RPh, chief pharmacy officer at UPMC Health…

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USA: Democrats Are About to Give Big Pharma the Big Tobacco Treatment

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USA: Democrats Are About to Give Big Pharma the Big Tobacco Treatment

Since flipping the House of Representatives in last year’s midterms, Democrats have been waiting to see real oversight return to the halls of Congress. That arrived on Tuesday, with the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s first hearing of 2019. But the subject at hand may have disappointed those who were hoping for a dramatic broadside against the Trump administration.

“Our first witness today is not President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen,” said chairman Elijah Cummings. “It’s not someone from the White House or even the Trump administration… The first witness is Antoinette Worsham.”

Worsham, a working mother from Cincinnati wearing a T-shirt reading “Patients Over Profits,” told the committee about her two daughters, both of whom were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. When the oldest, Antavia, turned 21, she was kicked off the Bureau for Children of Medical Handicaps, a state program that helped pay for her insulin. Unable to afford the medication, Antavia began to ration it. Eventually, she died. Worsham’s second child, Antanique, a freshman at the University of Toledo, fears the same fate.

“In two years my daughter will be 21,” Worsham told the committee, her voice cracking. “I am crying out and asking for you to…

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Overhaul of Saudi health service already showing results, official says

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Overhaul of Saudi health service already showing results, official says

Saudi Arabia is already seeing improvements just two years into a major 14-year plan to overhaul the kingdom’s entire healthcare system, a senior official told The National at the Arab Health Forum.

Dr Mohammed Al Abdulaali, assistant deputy minister for hospital services, said that in “every quarter [last year] the needle moved in the right direction, which gives us an insight that the interventions [already carried out] … are good”.

He said a recently passed rule that food must come with calorie information had captivated public debate in the kingdom and was an example of a change that would have a major impact on consumption habits. He also said that the kingdom was set to launch a new rule about oil and fat content in the kingdom’s cooking in a bid to get people eating healthier.

The kingdom has set itself major development goals as part of a plan called Vision 2030. In health care, the top line is to increase life expectancy from 74 to 80 years old. That, Dr Al Abdulaali said, was “going to be shifting the country from one of the good zones to the best zone countries, which is a very challenging objective but it…

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USA: Congress starts to go after big pharma

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USA: Congress starts to go after big pharma

Congress jumped into its first round of hearings on drug prices for the year, vowing to take action on a problem that the president and the public see as a top concern for the country.The Senate Finance Committee and the House Oversight Committee began hearings Tuesday morning aimed at investigating the causes of high drug prices.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who became chairman of the Finance Committee this year, said in opening remarks that tackling high prescription drug costs is a priority for him, and blasted drug companies for agreeing to speak to lawmakers privately but not publicly at the hearing. The committee, he said, would extend an offer to the companies appear again in the future but would be “more insistent next time.”

“I want to express my displeasure at the lack of cooperation from the pharmaceutical manufacturers recently ,” he said.

Testimonies came instead from Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and former head of the Congressional Budget Office; Mark Miller, vice president of healthcare at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation; Dr. Peter Bach, director of Memorial Sloan Kettering Center for Health Policy and Outcomes; and Kathy Sego, the mother of a child who needs…

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Unified patient database launches in Abu Dhabi

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Unified patient database launches in Abu Dhabi

The medical records of hundreds of thousands of patients in Abu Dhabi will be connected as public and private hospitals share a database.

The Health Information Exchange System, launched on Wednesday, is the first such database in the region.

Known as Malaffi – Arabic for “my file” – the system will connect more than 2,000 public and private healthcare providers in Abu Dhabi.

It enables doctors to make more informed decisions and increase quality of service while also maintaining confidentiality.

It is also expected to help reduce costs, prescription errors and repeat testing.

Before the launch, doctors relied on patients’ honesty about existing conditions and test results.

“The launch of Malaffi is another addition to the emirate’s healthcare sector, which is witnessing an unprecedented shift towards technology and AI,” said Sheikh Abdulla Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health.

“Using these resources the department is transforming health care, increasing positive outcomes and paving the way towards a healthier Abu Dhabi.”

The system will be operated by Abu Dhabi Health Data Services, a new partnership between the department and Injazat Data Systems, a subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company.

It will initially connect six of Abu Dhabi’s healthcare providers – Seha,…

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Both parties want lower drug prices but gridlock prevents reform

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Both parties want lower drug prices but gridlock prevents reform

I went to Walgreens recently to pick up my three-month supply of a prescription I have been using for years. Ho hum. Until I saw what it was going to cost.

All of a sudden the price had gone up by more than 20 percent. I paid it, of course, grumbling. But I decided to do some research into what’s going on with America’s prescription drug prices.

Bloomberg News looked into drug prices last year and found that “255 brand name drugs had increases between Feb.1 and July 13 … the most common increase was for 9 to 10 percent.”

It also tracked the prices for 40 commonly used drugs in six categories — diabetes, cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, asthma and chronic pulmonary disease, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis — over a three-year period from June 2015 to June 2018. During this period the consumer price index went up by 5.6 percent.

“For all six categories of drugs,” Bloomberg found, “list prices rose far faster than inflation.”

They report:

“Prices for 10 commonly used diabetes drugs rose 25.6 percent, on average, while average prices for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune treatments rose 40.1 percent. The latter category…

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USA: Drug-pricing policies find new momentum as ‘a 2020 thing’

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USA: Drug-pricing policies find new momentum as ‘a 2020 thing’

The next presidential primary contests are more than a year away. But presumed candidates are already trying to stake a claim to one of health care’s hot-button concerns: surging prescription drug prices.

“This is a 2020 thing,” said Dr. Peter Bach, who directs the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and tracks drug-pricing policy.

Spurred on by midterm election results that showed health care to be a deciding issue, lawmakers — some of whom have already launched presidential run exploratory committees — are pushing a bevy of new proposals and approaches.

Few if any of those ideas will likely make it to the president’s desk. Nevertheless, Senate Democrats eyeing higher office and seeking street cred in the debate are devising more innovative and aggressive strategies to take on Big Pharma.

“Democrats feel as if they’re really able to experiment,” said Rachel Sachs, an associate law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who tracks drug-pricing laws.

Some Republicans are also proposing drug-pricing reform, although experts say their approaches are generally less dramatic.

Here are some of the ideas either introduced in legislation or that senators’ offices confirmed they are considering.

Make…

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