January 15, 2021
Specialty Pharmacy SmartBrief
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Leading News
According to a study in Addiction, physician-pharmacist team approaches to office-based opioid addiction treatment may increase adherence and participant satisfaction. Pharmacists dispensed buprenorphine at monthly maintenance visits, assessed how the drug was working, provided counseling and gave physicians feedback on patient progress.
Full Story: Pharmacy Times online (1/11) 
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Specialty Pharmacy Update
America's Health Insurance Plans encouraged the Biden administration to find a bipartisan solution to the growing problem of high drug prices, which are set solely at drugmakers' discretion, AHIP CEO Matt Eyles pointed out. List prices have already been raised this year on 722 drugs, according to GoodRx, with most of the increases higher than the inflation rate, according to Patients for Affordable Drugs.
Full Story: Health Payer Intelligence (1/13),  Axios (1/14) 
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COVID-19 likely will continue to be a problem well into the future but pharmaceutical executives at the J.P. Morgan health care conference were bullish about the efficacy of their vaccines, even with mutations and variants. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said the company expects that COVID-19 is not going away, and a regulatory pathway is needed to allow vaccines to evolve with the virus.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (1/13) 
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The Endocrine Society has released a position statement in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism regarding the increasing cost of insulin, calling on policymakers to work on regulations that could make insulin more affordable and accessible. An updated payment model for Medicare Part B beneficiaries, improved patient assistance programs, and the inclusion of real-time benefit information in electronic medical records are among the group's recommendations.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/Endocrine Today (1/12) 
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Legislation & Regulation
HHS has rolled out a treatment locator tool that shows which sites have received shipments of FDA-authorized COVID-19 antibody treatments within the past several weeks. The tool, which can be accessed at HHS' Protect Public Data Hub, "allows patients and providers to find sites for outpatient treatment options, which may help reduce the number of people who require hospitalization for COVID-19 care, which in turn reduces the strain on our nation's hospitals and their staff," according to Robert Kadlec, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response.
Full Story: Healthcare IT News (1/12) 
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HHS Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday that states have two weeks to get ready for a change in how the federal government allots COVID-19 vaccines, adding that the government will no longer hold on to doses for the follow-up set of shots. Vaccines will be allocated based on how big a state's elderly population is and how fast a state can carry out vaccination.
Full Story: CNBC (1/12) 
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The FDA has approved the first generic version of a glucagon emergency kit from Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, the Glucagon for Injection Emergency Kit 1mg. The company intends to launch the product within the next two months.
Full Story: Endocrinology Advisor (1/5) 
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Clinical & Research News
Recruiting volunteers for placebo-controlled clinical trials of next-generation COVID-19 vaccines has been rendered nearly impossible by the regulatory approval of several vaccines, and some volunteers in ongoing trials have already asked to drop out. Researchers are designing other ways to prove efficacy, such as by splitting cohorts so that twice as many participants receive the vaccine as the placebo, using an approved vaccine as the control or measuring immunity biomarkers to judge efficacy, but all have drawbacks.
Full Story: Nature (free content) (1/8) 
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Trends & Technology
A pilot program at an AdventHealth acute care hospital improved medication adherence and reduced 30-day readmissions of Medicare patients with acute myocardial infarction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure or pneumonia. Patients were offered a financial incentive for using a smartphone app to check in when they took medications as prescribed, and they received reminders and messages of support from friends and family.
Full Story: Healthcare IT News (1/8) 
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Editor's Note
SmartBrief will not publish Jan. 18
In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, NASP SmartBrief will not publish Monday, Jan. 18. Publication will resume Wednesday, Jan. 20.
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Connect deeply with others. Our humanity is the one thing that we all have in common.
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philanthropist, advocate for women and girls
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