Some Patients Purchasing Over-the-Counter Insulins Due to High Prescription Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer N. Goldstein, MD, MSc Assistant  program Director of Internal Medicine Christiana Care Health System Newark, Delaware

Dr. Goldstein

Jennifer N. Goldstein, MD, MSc
Assistant  program Director of Internal Medicine
Christiana Care Health System
Newark, Delaware

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Human synthetic insulins have been available over-the-counter for nearly a century, and at relatively low cost for around a decade under a Walmart brand name. However, little is known about  the frequency of sale of over-the-counter insulin or the reasons why patients use it.

While prescription insulins (insulin analogues) are considered by many to be easier to use and more predictable than the over-the-counter versions, the cost of these insulins has skyrocketed.

Our study examined the frequency of sale of over-the-counter insulins and whether patients potentially use over-the-counter insulin as a substitute for expensive prescription insulins.

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Price of Existing Biologics Increased When New Drugs Entered Market

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alvaro San-Juan-Rodriguez

Alvaro San-Juan-Rodriguez

Alvaro San-Juan-Rodriguez, PharmD
Pharmacoeconomics, Outcomes and Pharmacoanalytics Research Fellow
Pharmacy and Therapeutics
School of Pharmacy
University of Pittsburgh

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Before 2009, etanercept (Enbrel®), infliximab (Remicade®), and adalimumab (Humira®) were the only tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors approved by the FDA for rheumatoid arthritis. Subsequently, 3 therapies gained FDA approval: subcutaneous golimumab (Simponi®) in April 2009, certolizumab pegol (Cimzia®) in May 2009, and intravenous golimumab (Simponi Aria®) in July 2013. All 6 agents are brand-name drugs.

Our study aimed to evaluate how the prices of existing TNF inhibitors (Enbrel®, Remicade® and Humira®) changed in response to the market entry of new TNF inhibitors.  Continue reading

Federal Incentives Did Not Reduce Catheter Infections in Hospitals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Heather Hsu, MD MPH Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Boston University School of Medicine Boston Medical Center Boston, MA 02118

Dr. Hsu

Heather Hsu, MD MPH
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston Medical Center
Boston, MA 02118

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: In October 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented value-based incentive programs to financially reward or penalize hospitals based on quality metrics. Two of these programs – Hospital Value Based Purchasing and the Hospital Acquired Condition Reduction Program – began targeting hospitals’ rates of certain healthcare-associated infections deemed to be preventable in October 2015.

Previous studies demonstrated minimal impact of these value-based payment programs on other measures of hospital processes, patient experience, and mortality. However, their impact on healthcare-associated infections was unknown.

Our goal was to study the association of value-based incentive program implementation with healthcare-associated infection rates, using catheter-associated urinary tract infection in intensive care units (one of the targeted outcomes) as an example.

We found no evidence that federal value-based incentive programs had any measurable association with changes in catheter-associated urinary tract infection rates in the critical care units of US hospitals.

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How Does the Medicaid Rebate Cap Affect Brand-Name Drug Prices?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sean Dickson, JD MPH Officer, Drug Spending Research Initiative The Pew Charitable Trusts Washington, DC 20004

Sean Dickson, JD MPH

Sean Dickson, JD MPH
Officer, Drug Spending Research Initiative
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Washington, DC 20004

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Price increases on existing drugs are an ongoing challenge for patients and insurers, including government programs like Medicaid and Medicare. The Medicaid program requires drug manufacturers to provide a rebate that offsets price increases greater than inflation, but that rebate is capped once price increases exceed 433 percent above inflation.

When these rebates are capped, manufacturers may find it more profitable to take very large price increases, raising costs for all payers. The Medicaid program has proposed removing the cap, and this study considers the effects of that proposal.  Continue reading

Younger Cancer Survivors Face Greater Financial Burdens

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Zhiyuan "Jason" Zheng PhD Director, Economics and Healthcare Delivery Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303

Dr. Zheng

Zhiyuan “Jason” Zheng PhD
Director, Economics and Healthcare Delivery Research
American Cancer Society, Inc.
Atlanta, GA 30303

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Historically, the cost of healthcare can be a substantial burden for cancer survivors and their families in the US. Even with health insurance, a cancer diagnosis can impose significant out-of-pocket costs for medical care.  These are partially due to the rising costs of cancer treatments in recent years, moreover, the increasing levels of coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles also shift a significant portion of the burden to cancer patients.

We found that younger cancer survivors, those aged 18-49 years, bear a higher burden than their older counterparts. We also found that two-thirds of cancer survivors enrolled in high-deductible health plans did not have health savings accounts, and they are more vulnerable to financial hardship than those in high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts and those covered by low-deductible plans.

These findings are important to patients because although cancer patents have benefited from newer and more advanced treatments, financial hardship may lead to emotional distress, cause changes in health behaviors, and jeopardize treatment adherence and health outcomes. 

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ILARIS® (canakinumab) Not Cost Effective For Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas S. G. Sehested MD Department of Cardiology Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte

Dr. Sehested

Thomas S. G. Sehested MD
Department of Cardiology
Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte

Jenny Bjerre, MD Department of Cardiology Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev and Gentofte Copenhagen, Denmark Department of Health Research and Policy Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, California

Dr. Bjerre

 
Jenny Bjerre, MD
Department of Cardiology
Copenhagen University
Department of Health Research and Policy
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, California
 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: n 2017, the results from the much-awaited Canakinumab Anti-inflammatory Thrombosis Outcome Study (CANTOS) trial were published, confirming the inflammatory hypothesis, i.e. that targeting inflammation can reduce cardiovascular disease. The trial tested the monoclonal antibody canakinumab in a population of post-myocardial infarction patients with elevated inflammation markers (hs-CRP). Canakinumab is currently used for rare diseases and carries an orphan drug price: the 150mg dose used in CANTOS costs approximately $73,000 per year.

Due to the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease, millions of patients could potentially be eligible for treatment with this high-priced anti-inflammatory drug. Therefore, we wanted to investigate the cost-effectiveness for canakinumab for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, using the reported results from CANTOS.

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Marketers Spend At Least Six Times FDA Budget on Promotion of Medical Services

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Steven Woloshin, MD, MS Professor Co-director of the Center for Medicine and Media The Dartmouth InstituteSteven Woloshin, MD, MS
Professor
Co-director of the Center for Medicine and Media
The Dartmouth Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? What influence does medical marketing have on medical care and drug prices?

Response: There are published studies looking at promotional spending mostly for drugs (DTC and professional).  This paper is unique because it is such a broad look including not just drugs but also marketing of disease (in “awareness campaigns”), health services and laboratory tests.

What is new here is the size and scope of marketing.  For context, $29.9 billion spent on promoting prescription drugs, disease awareness campaigns, health services, and laboratory tests corresponds approximately to $1000 per American.    For context, FDA’s total budget is around $5 billion – and NIH’s total budget is about $30 billion.

This figure is up from $17.7 billion in 1997, with the most rapid increase in DTC promotion of prescription drugs and health services.   Pharmaceutical marketing to professionals (detailing visits and samples) accounted for most spending and remained high despite policies to limit industry influence.

$30 billion is of an underestimate (egg, we did not include monies spent on professional marketing (detailing) of laboratory tests, health services or devices, the value of drug coupons/discounts/rebates, company marketing budgets, lobbying or campaign contributions).

Further it is just the tip of the iceberg – marketing works so promotional spending is an important driver of why medical care is so expensive:  it leads to more – and more expensive – tests and treatments.

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WHO: Profits Outweigh R&D Costs of New Cancer Drugs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kiu Tay-Teo, PhD World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. Kiu Tay-Teo

Kiu Tay-Teo, PhD
World Health Organization
Geneva, Switzerland

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: High costs and high risks of R&D for drugs have been presented to justify high drug prices, especially for cancer drugs. However, it is unclear whether prices are in fact justifiable compared to the overall return on R&D investment.

In this paper, we systematically compared incomes from the sales of cancer drugs with the R&D costs. We quantified the incomes generated from the sales of 99 cancer drugs approved by FDA from 1989–2017. This was based on sales figures reported in the originator companies’ annual financial reports, and where necessary, estimates deduced from the reported figures. The sales incomes were net of rebates and discounts, but without accounting for expenses and taxes. For the R&D costs of bringing one new cancer drug to the market, the literature reported a typical costs of between $219 million and $2.9 billion, after accounting for the costs of failed products that were investigated but not marketed and the opportunity costs. For the main analysis, we used a median cost of $794 million, as reported in the literature. To be clear, this analysis did not estimate profit return because we do not have information about the costs and year-to-year variations in costs (i.e. expenses and taxes) specific to cancer drugs.

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Specialty Drugs and Increase Price of Brand Names Raise Health Care Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Inmaculada Hernandez, PharmD, PhD Assistant Professor of Pharmacy and Therapeutics University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy

Dr. Hernandez

Inmaculada Hernandez, PharmD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy and Therapeutics
University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The objective of our study was to answer a research question of high policy relevance: to what extent are rising drug costs due to inflation in the prices of existing products versus the market entry of new, more expensive drugs.

We found that rising prices of brand-name drugs are largely driven by manufacturers increasing prices of medications that are already in the market rather than to the entry of new products.

In contrast, increases in costs of specialty and generic drugs were driven by the entry of new drugs.

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What Price Would Make Alirocumab (Praluent) Cost Effective for Lipid Control?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dhruv S. Kazi, MD, MSc, MS Associate Directo Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Center for Outcomes Research Boston MA 02215 Associate Director Cardiac Critical Care Unit Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. Kazi

Dhruv S. Kazi, MD, MSc, MS
Associate Director
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Center for Outcomes Research
Boston MA 02215
Associate Director
Cardiac Critical Care Unit
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The ODYSSEY Outcomes trial found that addition of alirocumab to statin therapy reduces the incidence of a composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, and stroke among patients with a recent history of a myocardial infarction and elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

We modeled the cost-effectiveness of alirocumab and found that, at the March 2018 price of the drug, it would not be cost-effective (either relative to statin alone or statin + ezetimibe) for this indication. We found that a large price-reduction would be required to meet the cost-effectiveness threshold of $100,000 per quality-adjusted life year. Shortly after the preliminary findings of this study were released, both manufacturers of PCSK9 inhibitors announced large price reductions in order to improve access to these drugs.

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Coordinated Care Program For Dementia Patients Reduced Need For Nursing Home Placement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lee A. Jennings, MD, MSHS Assistant Professor of Medicine Director, Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Oklahoma City, OK 73117

Dr. Jennings

Lee A. Jennings, MD, MSHS
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Director, Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative
Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Oklahoma City, OK 73117

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The research study focused on a novel model of care for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program. In the program, people with dementia and their caregivers meet with a nurse practitioner specializing in dementia care for a 90-minute in-person assessment and then receive a personalized dementia care plan that addresses the medical, mental health and social needs of both people. The nurse practitioners work collaboratively with the patient’s primary care provider and specialist physicians to implement the care plan, including adjustments as needs change over time.

The research was designed to evaluate the costs of administering the program, as well as the health care services used by program participants, including hospitalizations, emergency room visits, hospital readmissions and long-term nursing home placement. A total of 1,083 Medicare beneficiaries with dementia were enrolled in the program and were followed for three years. The study compared them to a similar group of patients living in the same ZIP codes who did not participate in the program. Continue reading

Emergency-Only Dialysis For Undocumented Immigrants Costs More Money and Lives

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Oanh Kieu Nguyen, MD, MA Assistant Professor Division of Hospital Medicine Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital UCSF

Dr. Nguyen

Oanh Kieu Nguyen, MD, MA
Assistant Professor
Division of Hospital Medicine
Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital
UCSF

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In U.S. citizens and permanent residents with kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), having health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid guarantees access to regularly scheduled hemodialysis 2-3 times per week, the evidence-based standard of care for ESRD. This treatment helps people live relatively normal lives. In 40 of 50 U.S. states, undocumented immigrants with ESRD have limited access to hemodialysis because they are not eligible for any form of federal assistance including Medicare or Medicaid, and must wait until they are life-threateningly ill to receive dialysis through a hospital emergency department, a situation called “emergency-only hemodialysis.” There are an estimated 6,500 undocumented individuals in the U.S. suffering from ESRD.

A unique opportunity made it feasible for uninsured undocumented immigrants with ESRD receiving emergency-only dialysis in Dallas, Texas, to enroll in private, commercial health insurance plans in 2015 and made it possible for researchers to compare scheduled vs. emergency-only dialysis among undocumented immigrants with ESRD. This natural experiment included 181 undocumented immigrants, 105 of whom received insurance coverage and enrolled in scheduled dialysis and 76 of whom remained uninsured.  Continue reading

Preventing Opioid Relapse: Cost-Effectiveness of Buprenorphine–Naloxone vs Extended-Release Naltrexone

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sean M. Murphy, PhD Associate Professor of Research Director, CHERISH Consultation Service  Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Healthcare Policy & Research New York, NY 10065-8722

Dr. Murphy

Sean M. Murphy, PhD
Associate Professor of Research
Director, CHERISH Consultation Service
Weill Cornell Medicine
Department of Healthcare Policy & Research
New York, NY 10065-8722

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: A recent eight-site US randomized effectiveness trial compared buprenorphine-naloxone to extended-release naltrexone to prevent opioid-use relapse. Participants were recruited from inpatient detoxification or short-term residential treatment programs.

Current treatment protocols require persons initiating extended-release naltrexone, but not buprenorphine-naloxone, be fully detoxified from opioids. Both medications were effective at treating opioid use disorder with regard to time abstinent from opioid use and health-related quality-of-life; however, the higher cost of extended-release naltrexone and additional costs associated with detoxification prior to administering this medication, resulted in buprenorphine-naloxone being the better value to the healthcare sector, among patients who require detoxification before initiating extended-release naltrexone.

The economic value of extended-release naltrexone, compared to buprenorphine-naloxone, became more attractive after accounting for additional costs to society (participant time and travel, criminal activity, workforce productivity), and among persons who were successfully initiated on treatment. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Because the economic value of extended-release naltrexone compared to buprenorphine-naloxone increased among persons who were successfully initiated on treatment, identifying persons who are most likely to achieve superior outcomes on extended-release naltrexone in advance would be a preferred to offering this medication to everyone. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Narrowing the cost gap by identifying the best possible patients for each medication, lowering the cost of extended-release naltrexone, and shortening or eliminating the induction period could improve its relative economic value, thereby increasing its attractiveness to payers and allowing more people to access either alternative according to their clinical needs and preferences.

Thus, I would really like to see additional research on treatment models that could achieve these objectives. I am also eager to see comparative effectiveness and economic evaluations of extended-release naltrexone compared to extended-release buprenorphine products. 

Citation:

Murphy SM, McCollister KE, Leff JA, Yang X, Jeng PJ, Lee JD, et al. Cost-Effectiveness of Buprenorphine–Naloxone Versus Extended-Release Naltrexone to Prevent Opioid Relapse. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print ] doi: 10.7326/M18-0227

Dec 18, 2018 @ 12:50 am

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Healthcare Costs in Patients with Cancer Rise with Increasing Risk of Venous Thromboembolism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Paul Burton MD, PhD, FACC Vice President, Medical Affairs Internal Medicine Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC.

Dr. Burton

Paul Burton MD, PhD, FACC
Vice President, Medical Affairs
Internal Medicine
Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Despite being largely preventable, venous thromboembolism (VTE) is the second leading cause of death in people with cancer. The risk of VTE is five times greater in people with cancer than those without cancer, and that risk is magnified in those receiving certain types of chemotherapy, in the newly diagnosed and in those with more advanced, metastatic disease. This 6,194-patient study examined economic burden associated with VTE, and found patients newly diagnosed with cancer who are at a higher risk of a VTE had significantly higher all-cause and VTE-related health care costs compared to patients with a lower risk of VTE. Continue reading

CLL: Overall Treatment Savings With Ibrutinib (Imbruvica) Despite Higher Prescription Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Sundaram

Murali Sundaram, MBA, Ph.D.
Director of Real World Value and Evidence
Oncology, Janssen

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Ibrutinib is a novel Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor approved for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Ibrutinib is administered orally while standard of care (CD20 monoclonal antibody-based chemoimmunotherapy [CIT]) is administered intravenously. This difference in route of administration impacts what type of benefit covers these treatments (i.e., pharmacy benefit for oral ibrutinib and medical benefit for intravenous CIT).

Previous studies evaluating the costs burden of patients treated with ibrutinib versus CIT did not include the full spectrum of real-world healthcare costs.

Continue reading

Use of Biosimilar Growth Factor Increases in Supportive Cancer Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Abiy Agiro, PHD HealthCore Inc Wilmington, Delaware

Dr. Agiro

Abiy Agiro, PHD
HealthCore Inc
Wilmington, Delaware 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Biosimilar approval pathway, authorized in 2010 by the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act as part of the Affordable Care Act, aims to increase adoption of biosimilar products and generate significant cost savings to payers and patients alike. Biosimilar filgrastim, used to prevent febrile neutropenia, is one of the first biosimilars to be approved in the United States. A large scale, post-approval real-world analysis was needed that compares biosimilar filgrastim to the original drug for safety and efficacy.

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Poor Health Insurance Literacy Linked to Avoidance of Health Care Services

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc Assistant Professor Holder of the Grace H. Elta MD Department of Internal Medicine Early Career Endowment Award 2019-2024 University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Divisions of General Medicine and Hospital Medicine, and Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation Ann Arbor, MI 48109Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor
Holder of the Grace H. Elta MD Department of Internal Medicine Early Career Endowment Award 2019-2024
University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine
Divisions of General Medicine and Hospital Medicine, and
Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  Navigating health insurance and health care choices is challenging and requires significant health insurance literacy (knowledge and application of health insurance concepts). We looked at the association between U.S. adults’ health insurance literacy and avoidance of health care services due to perceived cost.

We found that 30% of people we surveyed reported delayed or foregone care because of perceived cost, and that those with lower health insurance literacy reported significantly greater avoidance of both preventive and nonpreventive health care services.

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Untreated Hearing Loss: Higher Health Care Costs, More ER Visits and Readmissions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery Core Faculty  | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Nicholas Reed AuD

Nicholas S. Reed, AuD
Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery
Core Faculty  | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

 

Response: This study was a true team effort. It was funded by AARP and AARP Services, INC and the research was a collaboration of representatives from Johns Hopkins University, OptumLabs, University of California – San Francisco, and AARP Services, INC. Given all of the resent research on downstream effects of hearing loss on important health outcomes such as cognitive decline, falls, and dementia, the aim was to explore how persons with hearing loss interacted with the healthcare system in terms of cost and utilization.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: Over a 10 year period, untreated hearing loss (hearing aid users were excluded from this study as they are difficult to capture in the claims database) was associated with higher healthcare spending and utilization. Specifically, over 10 years, persons with untreated hearing loss spent 46.5% more, on average, on healthcare (to the tune of approximately $22000 more) than those without evidence of hearing loss. Furthermore, persons with untreated hearing loss had 44% and 17% higher risk for 30-day readmission and emergency department visit, respectively.

Similar relationships were seen across other measures where persons with untreated hearing loss were more likely to be hospitalized and spent longer in the hospital compared to those without evidence of hearing loss.  Continue reading

Even in Intensive Care, Health Care Costs Are Factor For Both Patients and Clinicians

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Deborah D. Gordon, MBA Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government Harvard Kennedy School Cambridge, Massachusetts

Deborah  Gordon

Deborah D. Gordon, MBA
Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government
Harvard Kennedy School
Cambridge, Massachusetts

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Against the backdrop of rising health care costs, and the increasing share of those costs that consumers bear, studies show people are interested in finding health care cost information and engaging with their providers on issues of cost.

We were interested in learning to what extent, if any, discussion or consideration of cost would be documented in electronic health records.

Using machine learning techniques to extract data from unstructured notes, we examined 46,146 narrative clinical notes from ICU admissions. We found that approximately 4% of admissions had at least one note with financially relevant content. That financial content included documentation of cost as a barrier to adhering to treatment prior to admission, and as a consideration in treatment and discharge planning.    Continue reading

Medicaid Expansion Linked To Lower Death Rates for Kidney Failure Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Plugged into dialysis" by Dan is licensed under CC BY 2.0Amal Trivedi, MD, MPH

Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice
Associate Professor of Medicine
Brown University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion gave states the option to expand coverage to low-income adults. Prior research has reported that these expansions have been associated with increased coverage, improved access to care, and in some studies better self-rated health. To date the impact of Medicaid expansion on mortality rates, particularly for persons with serious chronic illness, remains unknown.

Our study found an association between Medicaid expansion and lower death rates for patients with end-stage renal disease in the first year after initiating dialysis.  Specifically, we found an absolute reduction in 1-year mortality in expansion states of -0.6 percentage points, which represents a 9% relative reduction in 1-year mortality.      Continue reading

More Than Half of Physician Guideline Authors for Expensive Medications Have Undeclared Conflicts of Interest

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samir C. Grover MD, MEd, FRCPC Division of Gastroenterology Program Director Division of Gastroenterology Education Program  University of Toronto

Dr. Grover

Samir C. Grover MD, MEd, FRCPC
Division of Gastroenterology Program Director
Division of Gastroenterology Education Program
University of Toronto

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know that physician-industry interactions are commonplace. Because of this, there has been a movement to make the presence of these relationships more transparent. For clinical practice guidelines, this is especially important as these documents are meant to be objectively created, evidence based, and intended to guide clinical practice.

The standard in the US come from the National Academy of Medicine report, “Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust”, which suggests that guideline chairs should be free of conflicts of interest, less than half of the guideline committee should have conflicts, and that guideline panel members should declare conflicts transparently.

Other studies, however, have shown that some guidelines don’t adhere to this advice and have committee members who don’t disclose all conflicts. We thought to look at this topic among medications that generate the most revenue, hypothesizing that undeclared conflicts would be especially prevalent in this setting.

We found that, among 18 guidelines from 10 high revenue medications written by 160 authors, more than (57%) had a financial conflict of interest, meaning they received payments from pharmaceutical companies that make or market medications recommended in that guideline. About a quarter of authors also received, and didn’t disclose payments from one of these companies. Almost all the guidelines did not adhere to National Academy of Medicine standards.

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Amphetamine-Related Hospitalizations Skyrocket Costing $2 Billion per Year

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tyler Winkelman MD, MSc   Clinician-Investigator Division of General Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare Center for Patient and Provider Experience, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute Assistant Professor Departments of Medicine & Pediatrics University of Minnesota 

Dr. Winkelman

Tyler Winkelman MD, MSc  
Clinician-Investigator
Division of General Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare
Center for Patient and Provider Experience, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute
Assistant Professor
Departments of Medicine & Pediatrics
University of Minnesota 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Trends in amphetamine use are mixed across data sources. We sought to identify trends in serious, problematic amphetamine use by analyzing a national sample of hospitalizations.

Amphetamine-related hospitalizations increased over 270% between 2008 and 2015. By 2015, amphetamine-related hospitalizations were responsible for $2 billion in hospital costs. While opioid-related hospitalizations were more common, amphetamine-related hospitalizations increased to a much larger degree. After accounting for population growth, amphetamine hospitalizations grew 245% between 2008 and 2015, whereas opioid-related hospitalizations increased 46%. Amphetamine-related hospitalizations were more likely to be covered by Medicaid and be in the western United States compared with other hospitalizations. In-hospital mortality was 29% higher among amphetamine-related hospitalizations compared with other hospitalizations. 

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High Deductible Plans Hit Chronically Ill Low-Income Patients Hardest

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Salam Abdus, PhD Division of Research and Modeling, Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Department of Health and Human Services Rockville, Maryland

Dr. Abdus

Salam Abdus, PhD
Division of Research and Modeling,
Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends,
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Department of Health and Human Services
Rockville, Maryland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 


Response:
High deductible health plans are more prevalent than ever.

Previous research showed that adults in low-income families or with chronic conditions are more likely to face high financial burdens when they are enrolled in high-deductible health plans, compared to adults in higher income families or healthier adults.

In this study we examined the financial burden of high-deductible health plans among adults who are both low income and chronically ill. We used AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component (MEPS-HC) data from 2011 to 2015 to study the prevalence of high out-of-pocket health care spending burden of high deductible health plans among adults enrolled in employer-sponsored insurance. We included family out-of-pocket spending on premiums and health care services.

We found that among adults who had family income below 250% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL), had multiple chronic conditions, and were enrolled in high-deductible health plans, almost half (46.9%) had financial family out-of-pocket health care burden exceeding 20 percent of family disposable income.

Continue reading

Most Health Care Costs Associated With Osteoporotic Fractures Occur in First Year

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kandice A. Kapinos, Ph.D. Economist Professor RAND Corporation Pardee RAND Graduate School 

Dr. Kapinos

Kandice A. Kapinos, Ph.D.
Economist
Professor
RAND Corporation
Pardee RAND Graduate School 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The economic burden of osteoporotic fractures is substantial with studies estimating the annual healthcare cost burden between $10 to 17 billion. Although estimates from individual studies vary, most studies assessing costs after a fracture only explore up to twelve months following a fracture. There is little investigation of how fracture patients’ costs evolve over a longer post-fracture period.

As osteoporotic fractures are one of the most common causes of disability among older adults and can translate into greater medical costs, we focused on studying Medicare beneficiaries. In fact, previous research has suggested that most of the increase in Medicare spending over time can be explained from costs associated with treating higher risk Medicare beneficiaries.

Our objective in this study was to compare health care costs over a 3-year period of those who experienced a fracture to those who did not among a sample of Medicare beneficiaries who were at an increased risk of having a fracture.

Consistent with previous studies, we found a significant increase in expenditures in the year immediately following a fracture relative to controls: almost $14,000 higher for fractures relative to controls. However, at 2 and 3-years post-fracture, there were no significant differences in the change in expenditures between fracture cases and controls. We note that these findings may be different for beneficiaries living in skilled nursing facilities or other non-community-based settings.

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How Much Do Clinical Trials For New Medications Really Cost?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas J Moore Senior Scientist Institute for Safe Medication Practices Lecturer, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics The George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health Alexandria, VA 22314

Thomas J Moore

Thomas J Moore AB
Senior Scientist Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Lecturer, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
The George Washington University
Milken Institute of Public Health
Alexandria, VA 22314

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

  • The study provides realistic cost estimates of pivotal clinical trials that establish drug benefits to support FDA approval of 59 new drugs released for marketing in 2015-2016.
  • The median estimated cost was just $19 million, with half of the 138 trials studied clustered between $12 million and $33 million.
  • The highest cost trials–with estimates up to $345 million–were for new drugs that were similar to drugs already available and already proven in treating serious illnesses. 

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