Overcoming opioid use disorder stigma improves care | New technologies streamline specialty pharmacy scripts | Moderna: COVID-19 vaccine price will be $32-$37
August 7, 2020
Specialty Pharmacy SmartBrief
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Leading News
An ongoing study sponsored by the National Healthcareer Association is looking at pharmacy technicians' views on providing care to patients with opioid use disorder. Initial findings show that stigma was present but not permanent, and steps can be taken to improve pharmacy technician support and compassion toward those with the disorder.
Full Story: Pharmacy Times online (8/5) 
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Specialty Pharmacy Update
Two new technologies from Surescripts enable specialty pharmacists to streamline the patient data collection needed to fulfill a specialty medication and obtain prior authorizations. The technologies help eliminate administrative tasks that get in the way of patient care, according to Surescripts.
Full Story: Drug Store News (8/7) 
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Moderna says the price of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate -- currently in late-stage testing -- will fall between $32 and $37, a threshold that Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel called "pandemic pricing." The company is exploring larger-volume agreements at a lower price, and "we are working with governments around the world and others to ensure a vaccine is accessible regardless of ability to pay," Bancel said.
Full Story: United Press International (8/5) 
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Legislation & Regulation
The FDA has approved GlaxoSmithKline's BLENREP, or belantamab mafodotin, for treating adults with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma who no longer had immunomodulatory agent treatment response. The drug's approval was also recommended by a European Medicines Agency panel last month.
Full Story: Reuters (8/5) 
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A study published in Health Affairs has found that most Medicare Part D plans design formularies to prioritize generic drugs over brand-name counterparts, and in cases where branded drugs are preferred, costs remain low regardless of which drug is prescribed. Analysis of more than 4.1 million Part D plan and product combinations found that just the generic form of a drug was covered 84% of the time, branded and generic forms were covered 15% of the time and brand-name drugs were preferred in remaining instances.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (8/4) 
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Axsome Therapeutics announced iexperimental drug AXS-12 was granted breakthrough therapy designation as a treatment for cataplexy in patients with narcolepsy. The drug, an oral norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, promote wakefulness, enhances cognition, and maintains muscle tone by modulating noradrenergic activity.
Full Story: Seeking Alpha (free registration) (8/5) 
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President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order requiring the government to purchase essential drugs from companies in the US instead of those overseas. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the order also lifts some pharmaceutical manufacturing regulations and accelerates the review process for making some drug ingredients.
Full Story: Reuters (8/6),  CNBC (8/6) 
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Clinical & Research News
Patients with type 2 diabetes, regardless of their age, could improve their glycemic control, body weight and systolic blood pressure by taking ertugliflozin, according to a study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism. The findings also showed that diabetes patients aged 65 years or older who used ertugliflozin had higher incidences of volume depletion adverse events and genital mycotic infection, compared with those who didn't use ertugliflozin.
Full Story: Medical Dialogues (8/6) 
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Trends & Technology
The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association are calling for a national strategy on masks and a federal mandate for mask wearing to fight COVID-19. There is a "critical window of time" to reduce the spread of COVID-19 before the influenza season begins and hospitals likely become overwhelmed, they write in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence.
Full Story: Forbes (8/5) 
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There is no such thing as failure, there's just giving up too soon.
Jonas Salk,
virologist, medical researcher
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