PHARMACY

Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis, CDC partner to promote flu shots

BY Alaric DeArment

CULVER CITY, Calif. — An advocacy group focused on a rare lung disorder is working with government authorities to educate patients about the need to get flu shots.

The Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis said it would partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to inform patients about the need for immunizations. PF is a disorder with no known cause or cure that causes scarring and deterioration of the lungs, affecting about 128,000 Americans.

"We value the CDC’s recommendations for flu shots for our patients," coalition CEO Mishka Michon said. "PF patients have lungs that are already fragile and many of them can’t afford to be exposed to additional risk."

According to the CDC, patients with chronic lung diseases such as PF are 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized due to the flu.


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Giffen releases STD-prevention app

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A new app allows people to share their STD statuses with potential partners.

Giffen Solutions announced the launch of MedXSafe, a new feature to its MedXCom Patient platform. The app allows people to bump phones with a potential partner and exchange contact information as well as their STD status. Giffen emphasized that users choose to share their information and that the app doesn’t violate medical confidentiality laws, and only licensed healthcare providers can register to use the MedXCom system.

"In our view, anything that helps the war against STDs is a good idea," MedXCom creator and Giffen chief technical officer Michael Nusbaum said. "There has been a relaxed attitude towards STDs lately as many people think medicine can cure all — it can’t."


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Specialty to overtake traditional drugs in five years, report finds

BY Alaric DeArment

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Specialty drug spend will surpass traditional drug spend by 2018 for commercial plan sponsors, according to a new study.

Healthcare research firm Artemetrx announced Wednesday the release of its 2013 Specialty Drug Trend Study, finding that specialty drugs already represent 30% of total drug spend after the specialty claims covered under the medical benefit are fully captured, compared with the 15% to 20% frequently reported for specialty drugs as a percentage of total drug spend.

"Given these findings, plan sponsors need visibility into their entire specialty drug spend, not just that residing under the pharmacy benefit," Artemetrx president Brenda Motheral said. "When specialty medication use goes unmeasured, plans cannot effectively manage their specialty benefit."

The study’s researchers forecasted that total specialty drug spend will grow from $290 per member per year to $845 by 2018 due to a strong drug pipeline, price inflation and an expanded number of approved uses for drugs.

"Specialty spend is going to overtake traditional drug spend quicker than most plan sponsors realize due to the siloed reporting of specialty drugs that currently exists in the marketplace," Motheral said. "Opportunities to better manage specialty drugs abound, but they are often unique from those used for non-specialty drugs."


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