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Practice Transformation

Consumers have become aware of specific precision medicine therapies can help treat the diseases they or their loved ones have, and this growing awareness is changing the precision medicine arena, according to experts on a recent MedCity INVEST Precision Medicine panel. But cost is a big factor: Consumers have a “walk away” price—and it’s much lower than most people think it is, according to Julie Grant, general partner at early-stage venture capital firm Canaan. “People walk away from the counter at CVS for a terminal lung cancer product for $200 out-of-pocket.” (MedCity News)
Adventist Health for years has been rolling out a genetic testing and cancer risk-assessment program. Front desk staff ask patients to complete a questionnaire from CancerIQ about their family history. The results determine whether the patient might benefit from genetic testing. Together, these data inform subsequent care plans. Now, the program is playing a part in Adventist’s efforts to get patients in need of cancer screenings back into its facilities despite fears over COVID-19: The program’s risk stratification helps identify patients who really shouldn’t be skipping cancer screenings. (Modern Healthcare*)

Evidence & Innovation

Five key genes are linked with the most severe form of COVID-19, according to research published in Nature. Researchers who studied the DNA of 2,700 COVID-19 patients across Britain found that five genes involving two molecular processes—antiviral immunity and lung inflammation—were central to many severe cases. The genes—IFNAR2, TYK2, OAS1, DPP9 and CCR2—partially explain why some people become desperately sick with COVID-19, while others are not affected. (Reuters; Nature)
New research suggests Z-drugs (e.g., zaleplon, zolpidem and zopiclone) should be avoided in people with dementia. Higher dose Z-drug in these patients is associated with increased fracture and stroke risks, according to research published in BMC Medicine. “Our findings serve an important caution regarding the harms of sleeping tablets in people with dementia,” co-author Clive Ballard, MD, said in a statement. “This research is a very timely and unfortunately necessary reminder that sedative medications are not a helpful way to manage social isolation during COVID-19.” (Medscape; BMC Medicine)

Policy Solutions

In a letter to the Biden transition team, GTMRx leaders describe the history and work of the GTMRx Institute and the value of comprehensive medication management. Among the points raised: CMM saves both lives and money: Non-optimized medication takes a tremendous toll in money and lives. The letter also touches on the role of pharmacogenomics and articulates GTMRx’s five policy principles. COVID-19, they argue, “is forcing all stakeholders…to adopt innovative approaches to diagnosis, treatment and management of populations. The nation can’t afford to waste this opportunity to make CMM a permanent cornerstone of our health care.”  The letter concludes with a request for a meeting to discuss the importance of optimizing medication use through CMM.
Health and Human Services has proposed sweeping changes to HIPAA in an effort to remove barriers to value-based care, give patients more agency over their data and support contact tracing, Healthcare Dive reports. The changes would allow plans and providers to share health data much more broadly for care coordination and case management. They would also make it easier to do contact tracing for COVID-19 and loosen rules about disclosing information during emergencies. (Healthcare Dive)
There will be no GTMRx News Brief next week!
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In Case You Missed It!

We don’t need to shake hands to join hands.
Wishing you a happy holiday season as 2020 comes to a close.
In observance of the holidays, our office will be closed
Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020 at noon – Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.
We will reopen on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
Should you need immediate assistance, please call 571.276.3116 and leave a voicemail.
Someone will return your call within 24 hours.
CURA Health Policy Profiles™ is a newly-released comprehensive resource detailing the health care backgrounds and policy positions of 65 new members of the incoming Congress. It is available for free in both e-book and searchable database and includes the profiles of Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), a PharmD, owner of specialty pharmacy and member of the National Community Pharmacy Association, and Jerry Carl (R-AL), a specialty pharmacy business owner.
The Get The Medications Right Institute (GTMRx) workgroups have developed a set of Tools from Our Experts to advocate for medication management reform. These tools are designed to be useful resources for all stakeholders, and we believe these will be vital to optimize medication use through CMM in practice. We encourage you to share them, post them and use them to advocate for medication management reform. Get a sneak peek at these guidance documents here. (Note: In January, website enhancements will include a sortable feature.)
Primary care physicians face overwhelming pressure right now—and not just because of the pandemic. Even in the best of times, we ask too much from them. Instead of letting them be healers and diagnosticians, we make them responsible for every aspect of patient care. A large part of that responsibility is finding the right medication for the right patient. Not only is this a huge burden on the doctor—it’s also the wrong approach to medication management. We must address the burden and we must improve medication outcomes. After all, 73.9% of primary care visits involve medication prescribing. Read more here.
In a just released episode, GTMRx executive director Katie Capps appeared on GenXy’s Precision Insights Podcast. The series consists of inspiring conversations around precision medicine with industry thought leaders and innovators where they share the most cutting-edge technologies, processes and initiatives in precision and personalized medicine. ?Katie discussed some common myths around CMM, how it differs from MTM, how PGx can be used to optimize medication and how we can integrate PGx into the CMM process to reap genomic and personalized medicine’s full benefits. Be sure to listen? here.
In November, 475 GTMRx signing members registered to attend our four-part Member Feedback series. These events showcased the tools developed from 140+ GTMRx experts on the following topics: how we pay, practice, use diagnostics and integrate technology. These tools are soon-to-be released guidance documents your organization can use to advocate for reform. Learn more about the events and watch the recordings here.
AmazonSmile is an easy way for 0.5% of your qualified purchases go to the GTMRx Foundation at no cost to you. And signing up is simple—go to smile.amazon.com and select “Get the Medications Right Foundation” as your charity of choice. If you prefer to directly donate instead, you can do so here.
Adding the foundation on AmazonSmile will help us continue to provide no cost educational webinars, issue briefs, weekly news briefs and promote the need for transformation of our current system of medication use through social media campaigns.
The GTMRx Institute is supported by our Founding Funders, Executive Members and Strategic Partners.
  See past issues of our weekly news brief here
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