Rheumatology

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a nonprofit health technology assessment body, has issued an updated report on treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in which it says that the Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor upadacitinib has a marginal clinical benefit over adalimumab and an "incremental cost-utility ratio falling below commonly cited thresholds.”
In treating patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, Samsung Bioepis’ etanercept biosimilar, approved in the European Union as Benepali and in the United States as Eticovo, was shown to be effective in a registry study.
A recent preliminary study examined whether adults treated with anti–tumor necrosis factor agents (anti-TNFs) had reduced the risk of Alzheimer disease, and found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriasis who were treated with anti-TNFs had a lower risk of developing the incurable neurocognitive disorder. 
 
According to the authors, while many anticipated that most major concerns about the switch to biosimilar adalimumab would relate to safety and efficacy, more prevalent concerns were related to device type, the presence of a citrate, or the color of the product.
The FDA has approved Pfenex’s follow-on teriparatide, PF708, referencing Forteo, for the treatment of osteoporosis in patients at high risk for fractures.
 
Could adalimumab and its biosimilars become a less attractive option for treating some inflammatory diseases in the face of new therapeutic choices like interleukin-17 inhibitors? In the case of ixekizumab, a recent head-to-head study versus adalimumab showed that the newer product was superior in terms of improving joint and skin disease in patients with psoriatic arthritis.
Drug maker Novartis announced that it will seek a fourth indication—nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA)—for its secukinumab (Cosentyx) in the United States after its phase 3 PREVENT trial met its 52-week primary end point.
The FDA has approved another indication for reference rituximab (Rituxan), this time for children with rare vasculitis diseases.
 
The bill would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to require group health plans to provide an exception process for step therapy so that patients can access treatment without delays.
A report out this week from the House Ways and Means Committee details the extent to which Americans pay more for drugs than other countries—nearly 4 times as much, in fact.

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