Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.

The FDA has released long-awaited draft guidelines on the interchangeability of biosimilar products with original brands, and the agency’s message is clear: it won’t be easy winning a biosimilar designation, according to an article posted on the FiercePharma website.

FiercePharma has compiled a list of the top 15 cancer medications that are expected to dominate the oncology market in 2022. According to the report, oncology drugs remain the fastest-growing category in pharma, with anticipated sales of approximately $90 billion over the next five years.

Thirty-two million people could find themselves uninsured by 2026 if President-elect Trump and Republican lawmakers don’t have something to replace the ACA with right away.

Results from a pivotal phase 2/3 study of the investigational drug candidate dasotraline (Sunovion Pharmaceuticals) in children 6 to 12 years of age with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have shown a statistically significant improvement in the 4-mg per day arm compared with placebo.

A family of highly drug-resistant and potentially deadly bacteria may be spreading more widely—and more stealthily—than previously thought, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. 

Health care leaders prefer changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) rather than wholesale “repeal and replace,” according to a survey from HealthLeaders Media. Two-thirds of respondents (66%) said the best option for the health care industry regarding the PPACA is to make some changes but otherwise retain it.

A Kaiser Health News (KHN) investigation has found that the Orphan Drug Act (ODA), signed into law by President Reagan in 1983, is being manipulated by drug makers to maximize profits and to protect niche markets for medications already being used by millions of people.

President-elect Donald Trump has told the Washington Post that he is nearing completion of a plan to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) with the goal of “insurance for everybody,” while also vowing to force drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices in Medicare and Medicaid.

Close attention will be paid today as UnitedHealth Group reports its fourth quarter earnings, according to the Wall Street Journal.

CREs (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae), the deadly bacteria that’s resistant to most antibiotics in the United States, is able to share its survival techniques to other families of bacteria that make up this grouping, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine offers a rigorous review of scientific research published since 1999 on what is known about the health impacts of cannabis and cannabis-derived products—such as marijuana and active chemical compounds known as cannabinoids—ranging from their therapeutic effects to their risks

At the invitation of the China Ministry of Public Security (MPS), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg visited China this week to discuss issues of mutual concern and to build on the DEA’s existing relationship with Chinese counternarcotics law enforcement authorities.

Private health insurance claim lines with a type-2 diabetes diagnosis more than doubled in the pediatric population (ages 0 to 22 years) from 2011 to 2015. The increase amounted to 109%, according to data from FAIR Health, a nonprofit organization that aims to bring transparency to health care costs and health insurance information.

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study demonstrates that Americans living in rural areas are more likely to die from five leading causes than their urban counterparts.


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.