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Diplomat report highlights 2015 specialty approvals, 2016 expectations

BY David Salazar

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Pharmacy this week released a report on the state of specialty pharmacy at the beginning of a new year. The report from Diplomat’s clinical services highlights the fact that 2015 saw 45 novel new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration — more than the 28 that the years between 2006 and 2014 averaged. 
 
Among the 45 approvals, specialty drugs made up about half of them, with rare diseases and oncology medication approvals totaling 28. Diplomat’s report points out that FDA is favoring specialty medications over traditional ones when it comes to approval, adding that specialty is also driving spend (something IMS Health also noted in 2015).
 
“It's been a remarkable year,” Diplomat president Gary Kadlec. “The rise in FDA approvals for treatments of rare diseases is incredible for the people facing these conditions. Each approval offers new options and renewed hope for patient populations whose needs have gone unmet for so long.”
 
The report also pointed out that 60% of the approvals in 2015 received such designations as breakthrough, fast track, priority review and accelerated approval. It also predicted that the pipeline for 2016 is set to have the highest number of approval in oncology, with some dozen cancer drugs currently expecting approval.
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3 states earn failing grade when it comes to telemedicine

BY Michael Johnsen

Dallas – In the past two years, 25 states have revised their professional standards and licensure requirements in response to providers offering health services via telemedicine, according to a health briefing filed by Jennifer Vermeulen for the National Center for Policy Analysis on Thursday. And in 2014 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services changed its fee schedule to encourage more telehealth practices. 
 
The American Telemedicine Association awarded 22 states an “A” for regulations governing telemedicine providers-patient encounters, Vermeulen reported. However, three states — Texas, Alabama and Arkansas — got an F. 
 
According to the report, Arkansas and Texas are the only states that require patients to have an established relationship with a physician prior to a telemedicine encounter. And Texas, Alabama and Georgia are alone among states in requiring an in-office follow-up visit after a telemedicine encounter.
 
Facing a rapidly-growing population, the Texas Medical Board, instead of embracing an innovative technology that increases patient access to medical care, has taken a “strong stand against telemedicine,” stated NCPA senior fellow Devon Herrick, who managed the report research. “The Texas Medical Board took deliberate steps to protect local providers from competition.”
 
Texas, in particular, may benefit from increasing access to care by way of telemedicine. The state’s growing population of 25 million is served by 18,000 primary care physicians, and 95 of the state’s 254 counties have fewer than 10 doctors; 54 of those counties have fewer than 5 licensed physicians. 
 
Strong population growth has left nearly 13% of the state’s population medically underserved, meaning that an individual’s circumstances make it difficult to either access or afford health care services. 
 
“Worldwide, the use of telemedicine to treat patients is expected to grow to 7 million by 2018 – up 20 fold from 2013 levels,” Herrick said. “With the population of Texas projected to double by 2050, limiting telemedicine patients and providers is a blow to the future of health care in Texas.”
 
 
 
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L’Oreal appoints new president of professional products division

BY David Salazar

CLICHY, France — L’Oreal announced Thursday that it had appointed a new president of its professional products division. Nathalie Roos, who joined the company in 2012 as the L’Oreal Germany country manager, will succeed An Verhulst-Santos, and join the company’s executive committee in the second quarter of 2016. Verhulst-Santos will take on new responsibilities in the company, effective in April. 
 
During her time at L’Oreal, Roos has helped grow the company’s consumer products division in Germany. She began her career at Kraft Foods Group in 1987 and moved to Mars Group in 1989. 
 
Verhulst-Santos has been president of the professional products division for the past five years, during which time she has overseen the integration of the acquired brands Decléor and Carita. She joined L’Oreal’s executive committee in 2011. 
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