Anand A. Dalal, PhD
U.S. Health Outcomes, GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Sean D. Candrilli, PhD
RTI Health Solutions, Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Keith L. Davis, MA
RTI Health Solutions, Research Triangle Park, N.C.
PDF version: 

ABSTRACT

Purpose: To compare, in commercially-insured individuals ≥40 years old, the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations and COPD-related health care utilization and costs in patients initiating maintenance treatment with fluticasone propionate/salmeterol xinafoate 250 μg/50 μg (FSC) with those in patients initiating treatment with tiotropium bromide (TIO)

Design: Retrospective observational cohort study

Methodology: The risk of COPD exacerbation (moderate, severe, and any), COPD-related health care utilization, and COPD-related costs (overall and by service setting) were assessed over 12 months after the initiation of treatment with FSC or TIO in commercially-insured patients ≥40 years old diagnosed with COPD.

Principal findings: After adjusting for covariates, treatment with FSC compared with treatment with TIO was associated with a 14% reduction in risk of severe exacerbation (p=0.0406), defined as the occurrence of a COPD-related hospitalization; with less health care utilization across several categories of care; with 25% lower COPD-related medical costs ($1,814 versus $2,258 per patient, p<0.0001); and with 10% lower COPD-related total costs ($2,991 versus $3,304 per patient, p<0.0001) over a 12-month follow-up period. Pharmacy costs were equivalent between FSC and TIO.

Conclusion: Initiation of maintenance therapy with FSC compared with TIO was associated with significant reductions in the risk of severe exacerbations, health care utilization, and COPD-related medical and total costs. Considered in the context of other findings, these data suggest that earlier maintenance treatment with FSC offers clinical and economic benefits over maintenance treatment with TIO.

Key words: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), fluticasone/salmeterol xinafoate, tiotropium, bronchodilator, corticosteroid, cost, pharmacoeconomics

Managed Care’s Top Ten Articles of 2016

There’s a lot more going on in health care than mergers (Aetna-Humana, Anthem-Cigna) creating huge players. Hundreds of insurers operate in 50 different states. Self-insured employers, ACA public exchanges, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid managed care plans crowd an increasingly complex market.

Major health care players are determined to make health information exchanges (HIEs) work. The push toward value-based payment alone almost guarantees that HIEs will be tweaked, poked, prodded, and overhauled until they deliver on their promise. The goal: straight talk from and among tech systems.

They bring a different mindset. They’re willing to work in teams and focus on the sort of evidence-based medicine that can guide health care’s transformation into a system based on value. One question: How well will this new generation of data-driven MDs deal with patients?

The surge of new MS treatments have been for the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. There’s hope for sufferers of a different form of MS. By homing in on CD20-positive B cells, ocrelizumab is able to knock them out and other aberrant B cells circulating in the bloodstream.

A flood of tests have insurers ramping up prior authorization and utilization review. Information overload is a problem. As doctors struggle to keep up, health plans need to get ahead of the development of the technology in order to successfully manage genetic testing appropriately.

Having the data is one thing. Knowing how to use it is another. Applying its computational power to the data, a company called RowdMap puts providers into high-, medium-, and low-value buckets compared with peers in their markets, using specific benchmarks to show why outliers differ from the norm.
Competition among manufacturers, industry consolidation, and capitalization on me-too drugs are cranking up generic and branded drug prices. This increase has compelled PBMs, health plan sponsors, and retail pharmacies to find novel ways to turn a profit, often at the expense of the consumer.
The development of recombinant DNA and other technologies has added a new dimension to care. These medications have revolutionized the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and many of the other 80 or so autoimmune diseases. But they can be budget busters and have a tricky side effect profile.

Shelley Slade
Vogel, Slade & Goldstein

Hub programs have emerged as a profitable new line of business in the sales and distribution side of the pharmaceutical industry that has got more than its fair share of wheeling and dealing. But they spell trouble if they spark collusion, threaten patients, or waste federal dollars.

More companies are self-insuring—and it’s not just large employers that are striking out on their own. The percentage of employers who fully self-insure increased by 44% in 1999 to 63% in 2015. Self-insurance may give employers more control over benefit packages, and stop-loss protects them against uncapped liability.