PHARMACY

Report forecasts surge in telehealth

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Telehealth is expected to reach 1.8 million patients around the world by 2017, according to a new report by healthcare market research firm IHS.

IHS’ InMedica division released the report, "The World Market for Telehealth – An Analysis of Demand Dynamics – 2012," projecting a sharp rise in the number of patients receiving telehealth. In 2012, there were about 308,000 patients remotely monitored by healthcare providers for congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension and mental health conditions worldwide.

Telehealth, which will feature prominently at the Retail Clinician Education Congress in May, is also used to monitory ambulatory patients who have been diagnosed with a disease at an ambulatory care facility but have not been hospitalized. At the same time, telehealth has a much larger penetration in post-acute care compared with ambulatory care patients because the majority of patients are only considered for home monitoring following hospital discharge to prevent re-admission. In 2012, 140,000 post-acute patients were estimated to have been monitored by telehealth, compared with 80,000 ambulatory patients.

The majority of telehealth patients have congestive heart failure, while the number with COPD is projected to grow strongly as telehealth’s focus continues to expand to respiratory disease, the report found, but diabetes is expected to overtake COPD and account for the second-largest share of telehealth patients by 2017.

"A major challenge for telehealth is for it to reach the wider population of ambulatory care patients," InMedica analyst Theo Ahadome said. "However, the clinical and economic outcomes for telehealth are more established for post-acute care patients. Indeed, even for post-acute care patients, telehealth is usually prescribed only in the most severe cases, and where patients have been hospitalized more than once in a year."

The main drivers of demand are expected to be the federal government, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services looks to reduce readmission penalties; providers looking to use telehealth to increase ties to patients and improve care quality; payers looking to increase competitiveness; and patients, particularly those living in areas with poor availability of clinics and physicians.


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PHARMACY

Putney aims to compete in generic pet drug market with new launch

BY Alaric DeArment

PORTLAND, Maine — Putney has launched a generic version of a veterinary skin infection drug, the company said.

Putney announced the launch of cefpodoxime proxetil, a generic version of Pfizer’s Simplicef, used to treat certain skin infections in dogs. Putney said its product was the only generic version of Simplicef approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

According to IMS Health, generics now account for more than 80% of prescription drugs dispensed to humans, but an analysis of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine approvals indicated that only 7% of medicines for dogs and cats have a generic version.

"Pet owners are looking for more affordable, equivalent medications to treat their pet family members, just like the FDA approved generic drugs that they are comfortable using when doctors prescribe medication for their human family," Putney president and CEO Jean Hoffman said.


 

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Galderma drug for common skin condition becomes available

BY Alaric DeArment

FORT WORTH, Texas — A topical medication made by Galderma Labs for treating melasma of the face is now available in pharmacies, Galderma said.

Tri-Luma (fluocinolone acetonide 0.01%, hydroquinone 4%), tretinoin 0.05%) is described as the only Food and Drug Administration-approved triple combination topical product for the short-term treatment of moderate to severe melasma. The chronic skin condition affects more than 7 million people in the United States.

Melasma causes brown to gray-brown patches of skin due to the body producing too much melanin, usually appearing on the face, but also sometimes the forearms and neck. The condition is sometimes referred to as "the mask of pregnancy" because it is so common during pregnancy, but there are many factors associated with it, including birth control pills, hormone therapy, cosmetics, anti-seizure drugs and sun exposure. It is more common among people of Latin, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and North African descent.


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