Rheumatology

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.
During its September 2019 meeting, the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) issued a positive opinion recommending a change to Celltrion’s marketing authorization for its biosimilar infliximab, CT-P13, sold in Europe as Remsima.
While acknowledging the role that the Orphan Drug Act had in incentivizing drug companies to develop treatments for small populations suffering from rare diseases, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) says pharmaceutical companies are using orphan drug status to create blockbuster drugs that are then used to treat other common medical conditions.
A recent study says step therapy in rheumatoid (RA) or psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can hurt treatment outcomes.
While it is well understood that timely access to treatment is key for the management of rheumatic diseases, respondents to The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2019 Rheumatic Disease Patient Survey reported difficulty accessing and paying for their therapies in the past year.  
National and state patient, physician, and healthcare professional organizations—370 in all—are asking Congress to pass a bipartisan bill aimed at curtailing prior authorization requirements in Medicare Advantage, saying that they needlessly delay or deny access to medically necessary care.
It is already understood that a longer disease duration and delays in using disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with worse disease control, but a new study, published just last month, has shown that the number of conventional DMARDs used before starting anti–tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapy could reduce the magnitude of a patient’s response to anti-TNFs like adalimumab.
Kalveer Flora, MPharm, London North West University Healthcare National Health Service Trust, explains how rheumatology specialists have led the way in biosimilar adoption. 
A new report released Monday by UnitedHealth Group finds that administering specialty drugs—which are typically injected or infused—in homes or in independent physician offices instead of hospitals could save as much as $4 billion each year.
For patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), avoiding damage to cartilage and bone in the joints is a key consideration for treatment. While anti–tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapies are used to treat RA and reduce joint destruction, the available anti-TNF agents, both originator and biosimilar, have not been directly compared with one another or with placebo in terms of their impacts on joint damage. A new study, published last week, attempted to address that gap in the literature by conducting a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

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