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Practice Transformation

Adopting biosimilars in clinical care can improve access and reduce costs without impairing patient care, argues a paper published last month in Pharmacy Times. Price reductions of 20% to 30% appear typical; this can improve patient access to treatment. The authors outline strategies for moving forward and identify key considerations, including patient and physician buy-in. “By addressing the use of biosimilars in a systematic, rational manner and putting appropriate safeguards in place, institutions can realize the financial benefits of using these agents without negatively affecting patient care,” the authors conclude. (Pharmacy Times)

Evidence & Innovation

Health systems, medical societies and the government are working to persuade providers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Recent surveys show that many are hesitant. AMA President Susan Bailey, MD, told The Washington Post pharma companies need to publish full trial results ASAP to get physician buy-in. Meanwhile, some experts worry that the plan to vaccinate people in nursing homes and similar facilities is inadequate. “The way the government has approached the vaccination distribution for nursing homes has been keeping me up at night,” says Michael Wasserman, MD, president, California Association of Long Term Care Medicine. (The Washington PostCBS)
Two new policies approved by the American Medical Association House of Delegates address race as a social, not biological, construct. One policy asks the AMA to collaborate on recommendations to improve clinical algorithms that incorrectly adjust for race and lead to suboptimal care for marginalized and minoritized patients. That policy builds on a previous AMA policy addressing bias in “augmented intelligence” health care tools, Fierce Healthcare reports. The other calls for using factors such as ancestry, genetics, biology, ZIP codes and education to describe a patient’s risk factor, rather than their race. (Fierce Healthcare)
Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. proposed paying rebates to pharmacies for OxyContin overdoses, the New York Times reports. When Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty involving OxyContin, the Justice Department noted the role of an unidentified consulting company in driving sales. Newer court documents reveal it was McKinsey, which laid out several options to improve sales, the New York Times reports. Among them: Give Purdue’s distributors a rebate for every OxyContin overdose attributable to pills they sold. It projected that in 2019, for example, 2,484 CVS customers would either have an overdose or develop an opioid use disorder. (New York Times)

Policy Solutions

Ahead of an expected surge in U.S. demand for prescription drugs, the Canadian government has blocked the distribution of certain medications outside the country if that sale would cause or worsen a drug shortage. The move comes in response to a new U.S. rule that would let pharmacists or wholesalers import certain prescription drugs in bulk from Canada. The rule was set to go into effect on Monday, but the Canadian government says it won’t comply if sales would cause or worsen a drug shortage. It may require companies to first assess potential shortages before any sales take place. (Reuters)
Six events between now and Jan. 20 will set the agenda for the Biden administration, writes health policy analyst Paul Keckley, PhD. Among them are the Georgia senate runoffs, vaccine distribution, the potential shutdown and appointments to health care positions. “Drug prices, healthcare affordability and price transparency, consolidation of hospitals that result in higher costs, physician independence, the role of private equity ownership and the national deficit will once again dominate the healthcare industry’s attention. But how they are approached will be defined by what happens between now and January 20.” (The Keckley Report)
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In Case You Missed It!

The GTMRx’s Precision Medicine Enablement via Advanced Diagnostics Workgroup and Pharmacogenomics Payment and Policy Taskforce recently completed an evidence document that articulates the value of pharmacogenomics in the context of comprehensive medication management. In this blog post, Jill S. Bates, PharmD, MS, BCOP, FASHP. National PHASER pharmacy program manager for the Department of Veterans Affairs, offers insights into what the task force learned. Read it here.
December 9, 2020 | 12:00 – 1:00pm EST
Catherine Pugh, assistant vice president, Policy, eHealth Initiative and Foundation, to present to the GTMRx Health IT to Support Optimized Medication Use Workgroup. The following are key subjects that will be addressed:
    • Purpose of the 21st Century Cures Act and its impact on Health IT
    • Key implications of the ONC’s 11/2 Final Rule
    • Future affects the act will have on CMM.
December 15, 2020 | 2:00 – 3:00pm EST
Jared Augenstein, MA, MPH, director, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, to present to the GTMRx Payment and Policy Solutions Workgroup. The following are the key subjects that will be addressed:
    • Value telehealth will bring to the provider, patient and payer
    • How COVID-19 will change CMM care
    • Actions the government can take to improve availability and adoptability of telehealth
If you are interested in attending either presentation, please reach out to GTMRx Operations Manager, Izzy Serji, MPH, at iserji@gtmr.org, indicating which with the subject: “GTMRx Speaker: 12/9” or “GTMRx Speaker: 12/15”
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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