PHARMACY

National health spending up 6.2%

BY Michael Johnsen

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — National health spending in April 2015 was 6.2% higher than in April 2014. At $3.2 trillion, health spending now represents 18.2% of gross domestic product, a new all-time high, according to data come from the monthly Health Sector Economic Indicators briefs released by Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending. 
 
“The 6.2% health spending growth rate for April is about the same as that for the fourth quarter of 2014 but is well below what we expect to show for the first quarter of 2015 in our next Trend Report due out later this month,” stated Charles Roehrig, director of the Center. “This report will reflect results from the just-released Quarterly Services Survey, which shows 7.3% growth in spending on health care services in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the first quarter of 2014. We expect the first quarter growth rate to represent a peak, and that spending growth will moderate as 2015 continues to unfold.”
 
Prescription drug spending grew the fastest, by 10.5%, but is showing signs of moderation. Hospital spending grew at a rapid 8.5%, presumably driven by increased utilization and less uncompensated care, as prices have been stagnant.
 
Health care prices in April 2015 were 1.2% higher than in April 2014, only two-tenths higher than the decade-plus low of 1% growth registered in August 2013. Hospital prices rose by a low 0.5%, while physician and clinical services prices plunged by 1.1%, reflecting the end of enhanced Medicaid primary care payments. Prescription drug prices rose 5.6%, down from March but still near the 13-year high of 6.4% reached in December 2014.
 
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ACAP names Diplomat Pharmacy preferred specialty pharmacy vendor

BY Michael Johnsen

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Pharmacy announced Friday that it has been designated a Preferred Specialty Pharmacy Vendor from the Association for Community Affiliated Plans.   
 
ACAP is a national trade association representing 59 not-for-profit Safety Net Health Plans in 24 states. Collectively, ACAP plans serve 13 million people through Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and other public programs.
 
In the ACAP Preferred Vendor Program, pre-qualified organizations are granted access to specific areas of interest for ACAP plans and their members. Each vendor must be approved by the ACAP board.
 
“Our focus on education, adherence efforts and helping manage costs of our patients make Diplomat an ideal fit for ACAP's plans and the individuals they serve,” stated Atheer Kaddis, SVP sales and business development at Diplomat. 
 
As a Preferred Vendor in the area of specialty pharmacy services, Diplomat offers its expertise to help meet the needs of ACAP plans as they strive to improve the health and well-being of lower-income and vulnerable populations.
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FDA approves Novartis’ Promacta for pediatric use

BY David Salazar

EAST HANOVER, N.J. — Novartis announced Friday that the Food and Drug Administration had granted approval to its drug Promacta (eltrombopag) to treat children 6 and older for chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). 
 
The drug is a daily oral treatment for ITP, an illness in which the patient has a low blood platelet count for more than six months, putting them at increased risk of significant bleeding. Promacta was approved for adult use by the FDA in 2008
 
“Today’s FDA approval of Promacta for children with chronic ITP, a rare and potentially serious blood disorder, gives new hope to patients and their families,” Novartis Oncology president Bruno Strigini said. “All patients are important, but when we can help children, we are especially gratified. This approval underscores our expertise in benign hematologic disease and our commitment to provide treatments for rare diseases.”
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