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Genentech approved for Xolair

BY Ryan Chavis

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Genentech announced that the Food and Drug Administration approved Xolair (omalizumab) for the treatment of chronic idiopathic urticaria, or CIU, which is a form of chronic hives.

CIU is diagnosed when hives occur without cause, spontaneously present and reoccur for more than six weeks, the company said. The symptoms include swelling, severe itch, pain and discomfort that may last for months and, in some cases, years. 

“Chronic idiopathic urticaria can be difficult to manage because its causes are unknown, and other approved medicines aren’t effective enough for many patients,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. “We are pleased to have Xolair as a new option for people with this serious skin condition.”

The company noted that approximately 1.5 million people in the United States develop CIU at some point in their life. Women are twice as likely as men to experience CIU, with most developing symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.

 

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NACDS leverages NACDS-TV to build on Total Store Expo experience

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has announced that it is using short video tutorials on NACDS-TV to help registrants prepare for the upcoming 2014 NACDS Total Store Expo.

The 2014 NACDS Total Store Expo will take place Aug. 23 to 26 in Boston.

“These NACDS-TV video clips are designed to help ensure that the NACDS Total Store Expo maximizes business opportunities for retailers and suppliers and leads to a successful experience overall for attendees,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “We encourage all attendees to plan for success using resources like NACDS-TV, which shows that NACDS is committed to the success of all attendees.”

The first installments of these planning video clips include how to prepare for two of NACDS’ signature Total Store Expo programs – Meet the Market and Meet the Retailer.

The Meet the Market video clip breaks down how best to prepare for 10-minute appointments, which are arranged by NACDS, between retailers and suppliers during Meet the Market, which will be held on Aug. 23.

The Meet the Retailer program video, also taking place on Aug. 23, offers a glimpse of these exclusive sessions. The Meet the Retailer program provides suppliers of all sizes the opportunity to learn about the best way to conduct business and succeed with retail attendees.

Another NACDS-TV feature is a five-part video series, titled "Tips for Successful Exhibiting at Total Store Expo," which provides registrants with "how to" instructions to help make the show experience successful for retailers and suppliers. Segments in this series include utilizing such online resources as the Exhibitor Manual and My Show Planner Guide to help personalize attendees' show experience.

In addition, the videos also feature headlines from the 2013 Total Store Expo and what attendees can expect in 2014 and highlights of the Product Showcase, which promotes new products featured during the show. Attendees also are encouraged to contact NACDS onsite at the conference to conduct an interview about their show experience.

In addition, new registrants will receive a short NACDS-TV video message via email following submission of their online registration for the trade show and strategic exchange. The short “welcome” video will provide registrants with the latest information about hotel lodging and the schedule for the NACDS Total Store Expo.

During the 2013 event NACDS introduced NACDS-TV, which captured the inaugural event through interviews, highlights and features that offered new attendees a snapshot of the four-day trade show and strategic exchange. NACDS-TV has continued to build on the momentum from last year, with regular updates about what attendees can expect this year.

The NACDS Total Store Expo enables business partners to work together creatively across departments and functions with an eye toward the entire store. More than 5,500 attendees converged for the inaugural trade show last August. Survey results from 2013 NACDS Total Store Expo attendees reveal that 92% planned to return for the 2014 trade show.

A summary video of the 2013 NACDS Total Store Expo can be found on NACDS-TV here.

 

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Analysis: Patients face more hurdles accessing drugs in exchange plans vs. employer coverage

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — A new analysis from Avalere Health released Monday found that consumers purchasing insurance through exchanges are twice as likely to face utilization management controls on prescription medications compared with people enrolled in employer-sponsored insurance plans. Utilization management controls, including prior authorization and step therapy, are administrative steps that patients and their physicians must complete to demonstrate appropriate use of the drugs. These tools are used by health plans to limit access to specific medications and, in some cases, reduce costs. 

Branded mental health and oncology medications were extremely likely to be subject to step therapy or prior authorization, with more than 70% of covered drugs requiring utilization management in exchange plans. HIV/AIDS drugs had the lowest incidence of utilization management, with more than half of exchange plans providing open access to these medications. 

“This is one more reminder that consumers shopping on the exchange need to look beyond premium costs when picking a plan,” stated Caroline Pearson, VP Avalere Health. “Patients may be better off selecting a plan that includes open access for drugs they use regularly, and they will need to work closely with their physicians to fulfill utilization management requirements where they exist.”

Health plans rely on utilization management tools to encourage use of lower-cost or generic drugs, as well as to ensure that the drugs prescribed are appropriate to a patient’s medical condition. However, those tools also may be a barrier to accessing needed medications, particularly for vulnerable populations like severely mentally ill patients. Utilization management for mental health drugs is more than four times more common for exchanges compared to employer coverage. 

“Insurers offering exchange products are trying balance access and cost to ensure that consumers are getting value,” said Matt Eyles, EVP Avalere Health. “The utilization management tools we profiled are not as widely used in commercial insurance settings, so they need to be closely monitored for their effects on consumers and on the clinicians responsible for their administration.”

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