PHARMACY

Report: Specialty pharmaceutical distributors helped industry save billions

BY Alaric DeArment

ARLINGTON, Va. — Distributors of specialty drugs save the healthcare industry an estimated $3.5 billion per year by using extensive measures to ensure safe delivery, according to a new report by the Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research, the research foundation of the Healthcare Distribution Management Association.

The report, titled “Specialty Pharmaceuticals and the Role of the Specialty Distributor,” indicated that the savings — which total about $8 billion when traditional distributors that handle specialty drugs are included — derive from distributors’ skills in preserving and delivering delicate medicines in high-tech, cold-chain and just-in-time delivery systems.

Unlike traditional pharmaceuticals, specialty drugs — which include biologics that are used to treat such complex and chronic conditions as cancers, orphan diseases and inflammatory disorders — often require special care and must be kept away from excessive heat, humidity and light, and in many cases can’t be shaken.

“This research spotlights the vast and indispensable services that specialty pharmaceutical distributors deliver in the fastest-growing sector of the pharmaceutical industry,” Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research EVP and COO Karen Ribler said. “They provide lifesaving medicines to many of society’s most vulnerable patients, and they do it with exceptional skill and quality that lowers the cost of health care.”

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Most U.S. voters believe an expanded role for nurse practitioners will boost quality of health care

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Many U.S. voters are in favor of expanding the use of nurse practitioners for routine medical care, and most believe that the quality of health care would improve if routine care was handled by nurse practitioners and doctors were able to focus more on challenging healthcare issues, according to the findings of a recent survey.

According to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 adults, 67% of likely U.S. voters favored training and licensing nurse practitioners to expand the level of routine care they provide.

In addition, 77% of respondents said they would be at least somewhat comfortable visiting a trained and licensed nurse practitioner for routine medical care, with 45% saying they would be very comfortable.

The survey also found that more than half (52%) of respondents believed that the quality of health care would improve if routine medical care was handled by nurse practitioners and doctors were able to focus more on challenging healthcare issues. Nearly half (43%) of voters thought the cost of health care would decrease if nurse practitioners were trained and licensed to provide routine medical care.

The survey also revealed that those who earn more than $75,000 were slightly less confident than those who earn less that the quality of health care could improve with the use of more nurse practitioners, thus freeing up doctors for more challenging cases.

Democrats and voters not affiliated with either party were more confident than Republicans that quality would improve. Democrats also believed more strongly than Republicans and unaffiliateds that the greater use of nurse practitioners would decrease the cost of health care.

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FDA OKs storage option for Kogenate FS

BY Alaric DeArment

WAYNE, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new storage option for a hemophilia A treatment made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, the drug maker said.

Bayer announced that Kogenate FS (antihemophilic factor [recombinant]) now can be stored at room temperature, up to 77 degrees, for up to one year. Previously, it could be stored at room temperature for three months, and most Factor VIII products must be stored in a refrigerator.

Bayer said the new storage option would give patients more flexibility for storing their medication while freeing up space in the refrigerator and eliminating the need for a separate “factor fridge.”

“As convenience with medication is important to people with hemophilia A, we’re pleased to offer a new storage temperature option, which complements other convenience factors, including Grab and Go packaging with Bio-Set, a compact and complete reconstitution system for Kogenate FS,” Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals VP and general manager for hematology Paul Bedard said. “This new option demonstrates Bayer’s ongoing commitment to the hemophilia A community.”

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