Breaking the Opioid Prescribing Cycle through Stewardship

11/07/17
In 2015, 90 people died each day from an opioid overdose. If you subtract deaths attributed to heroin and synthetic opioids, such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl, the number drops to 42 deaths per day. That is still 42 deaths daily from drugs that were prescribed by a licensed health care professional. How did we get here? More

The Unintended Consequences of the Orphan Drug Act

08/22/17
If you look up the word “orphan” in the dictionary it is commonly used to convey loss and abandonment. However, when orphan is used in the pharmaceutical industry, it conveys dollar signs. Big dollar signs. The world’s 10 most expensive drugs are all classified as orphan drugs and the orphan drug market is expanding rapidly. Projected worldwide sales are expected to outpace conventional drugs by twofold over the next six years. Moreover, orphan drugs are projected to account... More

And Then There Were Two: Biosimilars for Infliximab

04/25/17
The FDA recently achieved two significant firsts in one approval. On April 21, the FDA licensed infliximab-abda (Renflexis; Samsung) for marketing. While this product represents the fifth biosimilar approved in the United States, it is the first one licensed without the FDA conducting an advisory committee hearing prior to final endorsement. It is also the first time that a second biosimilar was approved for the same reference product infliximab (Remicade; Janssen Biotech). More

The FAST Generics Act Can Speed Up Pharmaceutical Competition

04/18/17
Given the challenge of achieving agreement on any issue in Washington, D.C., especially on topics involving health care, we should pause and celebrate situations where bipartisan behavior may be taking hold. More

Navigating the Nuances of the Pharmacy Landscape

02/22/17
In my experience on the contracting side of pharmacy, I have yet to see an industry landscape quite as volatile and intriguing as the one we currently find ourselves navigating. As such, Vizient goes to great lengths to predict what’s coming down the pike in terms of trends, marketplace fluctuations and pricing variations, not just for our own organization, but to illuminate the landscape for our members as well. More

The Opioid Epidemic: How Joining Forces Can Turn the Tide

10/27/16
The U.S. is in the midst of a national crisis. In the past two decades we have seen increasing use, abuse and deaths associated with opioid medications. Here are a few disconcerting trends*: Prescribing opioids is on the increase. Approximately 20% of patients receive an opioid prescription for non-cancer-related symptoms or pain-related diagnosis in America. This 20% translates to approximately 259 million prescriptions or an equivalent of one bottle of opioids for every adult in America. More

Another Drug Shortage. Another Price Hike?

09/24/16
While attending the National Nuclear Security Administration 2016 Mo-99 conference in St. Louis last week, I learned of a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) citing the 50% likelihood of a shortage of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). Mo-99 is used to produce technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is used in millions of diagnostic procedures annually. More

When Specialty Drugs Are No Longer in the Minority

09/02/16
One of the areas of greatest concern for pharmacy practice, in terms of both cost and impact on patient care, is the increasing development of pharmaceuticals that could be classified as “specialty.” While there is no universally accepted definition of a specialty drug, most characterizations include attributes such as: • High cost • Limited extent of use • Technical complexity of delivery and/or administration • Treatment of complex and/or... More

Use Mock Accreditation Surveys to Address Common Problem Areas

04/29/16
One of the areas of greatest concern for pharmacy practice, in terms of both cost and impact on patient care, is the increasing development of pharmaceuticals that could be classified as “specialty.” While there is no universally accepted definition of a specialty drug, most characterizations include attributes such as: • High cost • Limited extent of use • Technical complexity of delivery and/or administration • Treatment of complex and/or... More