PHARMACY

RA treatments to reach $9.3 billion in U.S. by 2020

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The U.S. treatment market for rheumatoid arthritis is set to increase in value from $6.4 billion in 2013 to $9.3 billion by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of 5.5%, according to business intelligence provider GBI Research in a release issued Wednesday.
 
This growth will be driven partly by the aging baby boomer. Consequently, the country will remain the largest RA therapeutics player of the eight major pharmaceutical markets (the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan) over the forecast period.
 
The entry of premium-priced, disease-modifying therapies into the RA treatment arena in the United States, along with new biosimilar products, will also be a contributing factor to its expansion, the report added. 
 
“While the patent expiration of blockbuster drugs as early as this year is expected to cause strong biosimilar uptake in the EU, thereby reducing the annual cost of therapy in this region, these products may not measurably affect the pricing of currently marketed RA treatments in the U.S.," noted Yasser Mushtaq, senior analyst for GBI Research. “Despite the fact that biosimilars are likely to be priced at a discount to their reference drug, the lack of regulatory guidelines for their approvals in the U.S. may deter drug manufactures from seeking marketing approval for these products.”
 
Mushtaq added that drug developers may be further discouraged by state legislation preventing clinicians from taking up biosimilar versions of their reference drugs. This will result in a stable annual cost of therapy for RA treatments in the U.S. over the forecast period.
 
“The U.S. had the highest [annual cost of therapy] of the eight major markets in 2013, with $5,983, reflecting the country’s higher drug costs in comparison with Canada and the EU. This figure is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.2% to reach $7,435 by 2020,” Mushtaq said. 
 
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AstraZeneca launches Movantik

BY Ryan Chavis

WILMINGTON, Del. — AstraZeneca on Tuesday announced that Movantik (naloxegol) has launched in the United States. The drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 16 to treat opioid-induced constipation in adults who have chronic, non-cancer pain. 
 
"Movantik provides an oral treatment option that's specifically designed for patients struggling with opioid-induced constipation. When administered at recommended dose levels, Movantik decreases the constipating effect of opioids by blocking opioids from binding to mu-receptors in the bowel," said Cathy Datto, U.S. medical lead at AstraZeneca. "And because of its design, at recommended doses, the central nervous system penetration of Movantik is expected to be negligible, limiting the potential for interference with opioid pain relief."
 
According to the company, OIC is a common side effect of opioids and will typically persist for the duration of treatment. "We know many patients taking opioids for chronic non-cancer pain often experience OIC, and we believe Movantik is an important treatment option for those unable to effectively manage their symptoms,” added Dave Fredrickson, VP specialty care for AstraZeneca.
 
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APHA adopts anti-execution policy at annual meeting

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN DIEGO — The American Pharmacists Association House of Delegates voted on Monday to adopt a policy discouraging pharmacist participation in executions, here, at the group's annual meeting.

The official policy states: “The American Pharmacists Association discourages pharmacist participation in executions on the basis that such activities are fundamentally contrary to the role of pharmacists as providers of health care.

Commenting on the policy, APhA EVP and CEO Thomas Menighan stated, “Pharmacists are healthcare providers and pharmacist participation in executions conflicts with the profession’s role on the patient healthcare team. This new policy aligns APhA with the execution policies of other major healthcare associations including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Board of Anesthesiology.”

This new policy statement joins two policies previously adopted by the APhA House of Delegates:

• Pharmacist Involvement in Execution by Lethal Injection (2004, 1985)APhA opposes the use of the term "drug" for chemicals when used in lethal injections.

• APhA opposes laws and regulations, which mandate or prohibit the participation of pharmacists in the process of execution by lethal injection.

Nearly 6,000 pharmacists and student pharmacists from various pharmacy settings gathered, here, in San Diego to attend the American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting and Exposition, APhA2015, which wrapped up Monday. This year’s theme, Advancing As One, speaks to how, by rallying together, pharmacists can simultaneously change the nation’s view of their role in the healthcare system.

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