Category Archives: pharmaceuticals

Blame Gamers Now Targeting GPOs for Injectible Drug Shortages

Physicians Against Drug Shortages (PADS) is a relatively new group that has organized to blame GPOs for drug shortages. I’m putting it that way because being against drug shortages –by no means a controversial stance– seems secondary to this group’s raison d’etre. Apparently, these docs just don’t like GPOs. In fact, they are calling for the federal government to repeal the industry’s anti-kickback safe harbor provision. There is nothing new about the rhetoric. “We are convinced that the anticompetitive contracting and pricing practices, kickbacks and self-dealing of hospital GPOs are the root cause of this public health emergency,” said anesthesiologist [...]

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IMS Study Says $200 Billion in Healthcare Costs “Avoidable”

According to a new study released today the IMS Institute, nearly 8% of the nation’s (U.S.) total annual healthcare expenditures are avoidable. Specifically, more than $200 billion could be saved each year if just medicines were prescribed and used more responsibly by patients and healthcare professionals. The report – Avoidable Costs in U.S. Healthcare: The $200 Billion Opportunity from Using Medicines More Responsibly – examines six areas that contribute to unnecessary costs: medication nonadherence, delayed evidence-based treatment practice, misuse of antibiotics, medication errors, suboptimal use of generics and mismanaged polypharmacy in older adults. Together, these areas lead to unnecessary utilization [...]

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US Pharma Spending Declines for First Time in 60 years

Despite the fact that overall healthcare spending (direct and indirect costs, revenues), are at all time highs, U.S. spending on pharmaceuticals is reaching an all time low –if you are willing to count the last 60 years an adequate measuring stick. It’s simple: the market’s acceptance of widely used, inexpensive, generic substitutes has succeeded in driving the decline. And the generic manufacturing industries’ adept maneuvering –when a big drug hits its patent cliff— is darn near optimized.  Not only do employers and insurers “get it,” but according to lots of related survey data, consumers understand the drill too. “The largest [...]

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Novation Dishing Out The Awards at its Annual Supplier Summit

Novation recognized 22 suppliers yesterday at its annual Supplier Summit. These awards were given in recognition of the winners’ superior service provided to the health care organization members of VHA, UHC and Children’s Hospital Association. In addition, Novation also honored an overall supplier of the year with its second annual Mark McKenna award. Mark McKenna served as the president and CEO of Novation from 1999 through 2006. He passed away in October of 2011 after a lengthy battle with cancer. By honoring the overall supplier of 2012 who demonstrated outstanding service, this award continues McKenna’s legacy of putting hospitals and [...]

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Big Pharma Preparing for a Pipeline Shopping Spree, Says GlobalData

Despite a recent fall in deal volume and overall value,  some of the pharmaceutical industry’s major players are about to splash out in an effort to restock depleted drug pipelines, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData. In a new report, Adam Dion, analyst with GlobalData, states that industry leaders such as Pfizer, Merck, GSK and AstraZeneca are paying the price for failing to adequately prepare for the effects of the patent cliff. This report was built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research, and in-house analysis conducted by GlobalData’s team of industry [...]

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ViiV Healthcare, Medicines Patent Pool — Big Pharma Can’t Buy Better Public Relations

GlaxoSmithKline’s HIV/AIDS drugs business is demonstrating some nice character. Their words and actions support a design to share intellectual property rights on children’s medicine in a patent pool designed to make treatments more widely available in poor countries. ViiV Healthcare, majority-owned by GSK, is the second research-based pharmaceutical business to sign up to the new Medicines Patent Pool, following a lead set in 2011 by Gilead Sciences. The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), launched in 2010 by the UNITAID health financing system that is funded by a levy on airline tickets, aims to address the remaining gap by getting patent holders [...]

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FDA Approves Revolutionary Breast Cancer Drug

The drug is called Kadcyla, but it will be better known as TDM-1. The FDA last Friday announced that it has approved TDM-1, as clinical trials have shown it is effective and has lower toxicity (less complications) for women with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive forms of the disease. It’s revolutionary in that it contains the original drug Herceptin, a drug more commonly used to treat aggressive estrogen positive breast cancer, but there’s another drug in the same compound and a unique approach to killing the bad cells (from the inside out) is supported. Richard Pazdur, M.D., [...]

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A.T. Kearney in the News: Heavy Hitter Joins Healthcare Practice

A.T. Kearney is on a very short list of companies that can credibly assert that it not only helped establish strategic sourcing as a discrete corporate function, but that it made strategic sourcing a CEO-agenda issue. Former execs of A.T. Kearney –much like GE—conspicuously dot the landscape in high-ranking positions across many highly regarded supply chain management consultancies and similarly focused software companies. And there’s a reason for it. They produce. Like most experienced players at the top of their game, they can spot low hanging fruit faster than a hungry predator spots wounded prey. And what do they all [...]

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Latest Gold Rush –Airline/Pharmaceutical Cold Chain Market

Despite a stubborn and sluggish global economy, the pharmaceutical industry is booming. Surging demand for increasingly complex drugs and pharmaceutical products –in all corners of the earth– has industry analysts sizing the market at U.S. $900 billion by 2012 and $1.2 trillion by 2014. The cold chain-equipped carriers are smiling. All in all, the market for cold chain services is projected to reach $7.6 billion by 2013. What’s driving it? The Pharmaceuticals. The majority of biotech products require refrigerated (2–8°C) storage and transportation, as do most vaccines, blood products and other injectables. Meanwhile, regulatory requirements for what has traditionally been [...]

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NECC’s Demise: A Tragedy of “Failed Organizational Ethics”

It’s been three months since the deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis began. And yesterday, the New England Compounding Center (NECC), the  compounding pharmacy that produced the contaminated medicines, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It’s highly doubtful that NECC has enough assets to adequately compensate its victims, including the thousands of people who were exposed, the 620 who fell ill, and the 39 who died, but one thing is for sure, the lawyers will be turning over a lot of rocks in their quest for settlement money. For example and according to Alyson Oliver, a Michigan attorney representing victims, the fatal [...]

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Vendormate’s Medzo Out of the Gates and Enjoying Early Adoption Success

A few months back, we reported that Vendormate, long known as a leader in the healthcare vendor credentialing space, released an online utility that connects providers to a wider array of qualified vendors with far greater precision than traditional supply networks. As we said, although the new service, called Medzo, sounds a lot like another searchable supplier database, that characterization just doesn’t do it justice. It can’t, because it ignores all the uniquely valuable data Vendormate was able to leverage when developing the new service. The early adopters are embracing Medzo for everything from basic medical supplies to innovative physician [...]

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Prescription Drug Overdose Epidemic: Simple Solutions Being Ignored

If you’re a primary care physician who writes thousands of opiate prescriptions preferred by addicts, chances are, you’re not on the up and up. And remarkably, solutions for monitoring such rogue behavior already exist, but only a hand full of states actually use them. Prescription overdoses have fueled a doubling of U.S. drug fatalities in the last decade. So a recent LA Times story revealing that California’s system for detecting signs of excessive prescribing of narcotics, called CURES, was cut from Governor Brown’s budget, has proven itself to be a tough pill for taxpayers to swallow. There’s nothing new about [...]

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Amgen Undercover Whistleblower Speaks Out

As you read through this post, please keep in mind that the off-label dosing regimen that Amgen was promoting (that we reported on this week) was unapproved and illegal because it was considered risky and likely to cost lives. An old Tower of Power lyric comes to mind: “It’s not the crime; it’s not the thought; it’s not the deed; it’s if you get caught.” ———- I have a special place in my heart for the “whistleblowers” of the world —those who stand up and defy corrupt power structures. Consider this: when the DOJ only pursues about 20% of the [...]

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Amgen Agrees to Pay $762 Million to Settle Aranesp False Claims Case

Amgen pled guilty yesterday to marketing its blockbuster anemia drug darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) for off-label dosing regimens, agreeing to pay more than $760 million in fines. The drug, administered once weekly, was initially approved in September 2001 to treat anemia caused by chronic renal failure. Simply put, here’s what Amgen did: Because Amgen knew it would have a difficult time competing with JNJ’s Procrit –which had a FDA approved dosing schedule of every other week– Amgen intentionally misused a statement in the Aranesp label that said it had a longer serum half-life –a statement it used to justify a less-frequent [...]

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GPOs –like Premier– Driving Solutions to Eliminate Drug Shortages

Several months ago, President Obama signed an executive order that required the FDA to take more action to help alleviate drug shortages by more comprehensive reporting, expediting regulatory reviews, and monitoring the behavior of manufacturers and distributors to prevent stockpiling or price gouging of scarce medications. In a separate letter to drug manufacturers, President Obama reminded them of their legal responsibilities and prodded them to work more effectively to share information in advance of a shortage. Not too long afterwards, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) proposed a new, unprecedented multi-stakeholder initiative designed to accelerate the recovery of critical drugs in [...]

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Gartner’s Healthcare 2012 Supply Chain Top 25 –The Winners!

Gartner Inc. has released its fourth annual Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25. The Top 25 for 2012 ranking identifies healthcare organizations that Gartner sees as leading the way in transforming their supply chains to meet the new value requirements (i.e. “accountability metrics”)  in healthcare. “Now that the US 2012 election cycle is over, organizations have greater clarity… all segments of the healthcare value chain understand that reform is now moving to implementation and the good news is that most organizations on our ranking anticipated and prepared [in advance of the election results],” said Barry Blake, senior research analyst, Gartner. “The [...]

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