ASCO19: Round-up for day one, two and three…": The American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting is this week. It is a huge gathering where many pharma companies promote their products. This article provides a summary of the first few days’ product presentations.
The top 10 pharma R&D budgets in 2018: This article provides a great summary of the top R&D spenders and the productivity of that spending. A few take-aways:
—”Last year, and for the first time, the top 15 largest companies (by sales) funneled more than $100 billion into research, and we also saw the FDA approve more drugs than ever before.”
—The most spent on R&D was Roche’s almost $11billion. The largest R&D as percent of revenue (by a large company) was 27% by AstraZeneca. A decade ago such companies were spending about 30% of revenue on R&D.
—Despite these large amounts, "emerging biopharma companies (those spending less than $200 million annually on R&D and having less than $500 million in sales) account for 72% of all late-stage pipeline activity, up from 61% a decade ago.”
Eli Lilly to pay Atomwise $1M for each AI-discovered drug: The headline speaks for itself and highlights the growing partnerships between pharma companies and Artificial Intelligence firms that help identify promising molecules.
OptumRx Drug Pipeline Insights Report-Q2 2019: OptumRx publishes this quarterly report of top drugs expected to have the greatest impact on “payers, patients, and the general population, in terms of adoption, effectiveness, and anticipated cost.”
Trends in Prices of Popular Brand-Name Prescription Drugs in the United States: The authors of this research conclude: “In this economic evaluation of 49 common top-selling brand-name drugs, 78% of the drugs that have been available since 2012 have seen an increase in insurer and out-of-pocket costs by more than 50%, and 44% have more than doubled in price.” They do not see any end in site for these increases and call for greater price transparency.
Disclosure of oncologists' ties with industry did little to stymie them: study: The federal government hoped that creating an public website, the Open Payments Database, would curtail physician acceptance of non-research funds from pharma and medical product companies. Research reported at the ASCO meeting revealed that the public database is not meaningfully changing behavior. The number of oncologists receiving industry payments fell from about 67% in 2014 to about 60% in 2017; however, “the value and number of payments has not significantly changed.” There were 1.4 million industry payments totaling $330.6 million during that time period.
About health insurance
Utah proposes new cap on Medicaid spending: Utah is seeking a federal waiver to put a cap on the amount the state would spend on individuals who rely on Medicaid benefits to pay for their healthcare. This measure is the first time I have seen this kind of cost control measure. Usually states put numerical or dollar limits on visits for certain services (like physician care or hospital days).
ACA linked to reduced racial disparities, earlier diagnosis and treatment in cancer care: This article highlights more benefits to the increased coverage under the ACA.
Many Adults Targeted by Medicaid Work Requirements Face Barriers to Sustained Employment: The headline is self-explanatory. As this Urban Institute study shows, states that have work requirements for Medicaid eligibility put many at risk for losing benefits because they are unable to put in enough hours.
Mired In Medical Debt? Federal Plan Would Update Overdue-Bill Collection Methods: Five years ago, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) estimated 44 million Americans had overdue medical debt on their credit reports. This article looks into that issue and highlights some federal and state initiatives to put restrictions on bill collection methods.
About the public’s health
13 Years After the HPV Vaccine Was Introduced, US Uptake Remains Low: This article came from a talk at the ASCO meeting this week. Among its messages is that the top reported reasons parents decide not to have their children vaccinated agains HPV are: “ safety concerns and side effects, lack of knowledge about the vaccine, not believing it was necessary, no provider recommendation, and… their child was not sexually active, so they did not need it.” Social factors are the biggest obstacles and will require enhanced public education programs to overcome them.
“Liquid biopsies” are blood tests that can detect cancers much earlier than waiting for signs or symptoms to develop. They can also help oncologists monitor a patient for recurrences of their cancers. Here are two articles that offer insight into this emerging methodology.
How Much Coffee Is Too Much?: The answer is “drinking six or more cups of coffee a day can increase your risk of heart disease by up to 22%…”
Blueberries improve biomarkers of cardiometabolic function in participants with metabolic syndrome—results from a 6-month, double-blind, randomized controlled trial: On the other hand, some things that you enjoy may be good for you. 1 cup of blueberries per day for 6 mo resulted in improved blood vessel function and helped cholesterol profiles enough to lower cardiovascular disease about 12-15%. The effects seem to be due to anthocyanin in the fruit. One caveat- the study received support from the United States Highbush Blueberry Council.
About healthcare IT
Local Investment in Training Drives Electronic Health Record [EHR] User Satisfaction: It is well-known that physicians are unhappy with EHRs because of their time consuming requirements. This research claims that the fault is inadequate training; better training will improve satisfaction.