Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Pharmaceuticals' Category

Pharmaceuticals in China

As China is now the second largest economy in the world, spending on medical services and medications is also growing. Pharmafile reports: China is positioned to become the second-largest pharmaceutical market, after the US, by next year, according to healthcare analysts IMS Health; meanwhile, by growing an estimated 15% to 18% annually, the organisation says […]

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A biologic by any other name would smell as sweet?

How important is a name?  In the case of biologics and biosimilars, billions of dollars depends on whether biosimilars can share the same name as branded biologics.  WonkBlog explains the biologic vs. biosimilar debate: Biologics, which treat serious diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis, are usually more expensive than conventional drugs, and they’re also harder to […]

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How did Medicare pay for chemotherapy pre-2006?

A working paper by Jacobson et al. (2014) not only provides the answer, but describes how reimbursement policy change over the past decade. Although Medicare did not offer a drug benefit for oral drugs (pills) until 2006, Medicare Part B, which covers physician services, has from inception covered physician-administered drugs such as IV chemotherapy, anti-nausea, […]

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What is Reference Pricing?

To reduce utilization of pharmaceutical products, many countries have opted to use reference pricing. Reference pricing is a system where patient coinsurance payments depend not only on the price of the drug but also the price of alternatives therapies.  As the name indicates, reference pricing sets patient coinsurance rates as the difference between the drug’s […]

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First biosimilar hits the market

Making a generic version of a single molecule drug is fairly straightforward.  Making a replica of a biologic treatment, however, is not.  Nevertheless, Congress signed into law the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCI Act) to create a fast-track approval process for biological products that are demonstrated to be highly similar an FDA-approved biological product.  These products […]

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How the FDA evaluates Cancer Drugs

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and approves all drugs. But what criteria does the FDA use to evaluate new drugs? Namely that they are effective (i.e., improve health outcomes) and safe (i.e., have limited adverse health events). In a 2007 guidance document from the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and […]

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The Efficiency Frontier in Health Economics

Which treatments are better than others? Ideally, medicines that provide large health benefits and cost little will be preferred to those that offer little health benefits and/or cost a lot. In health economics, one way to systematically evaluate different treatments is the efficiency frontier. The efficiency frontier methodology is an extension of the standard approach […]

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Too much competition?

Rarely due consumers think that too much competition is a problem.  According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), however, this is a major issue for consumers when they choose Part D prescription drug health plans.  Avalere reports that: Proposed revisions to the meaningful differences policy will restrict the market’s top sponsors from […]

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Quotation of the Day: Pricing of Biosimilars

Bilsimilars are biologic medical products whose active drug substance is made by a living organism or derived from a living organism by means of recombinant DNA or controlled gene expression methods. Biologic drugs can be patented, but once the patents expire, biosimilars can enter the market. Are biosimilars> priced similarly to generics? According to Ana […]

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Increasing Generalizability of RCTs

Is your randomized controlled trial (RCT) generalizable to the general population?  This question is known as external validity and is a major issue for a number of treatments.  Sometimes, a treatment is very effective in an RCT, but less so in the real world. One reason why this may be the case is that the […]

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