The True Cost

Infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains a leading cause of liver cancer in the United States. Treatments now available for HCV can cure upwards of 90% of patients; however, the high price tag of these HCV treatments can serve as an obstacle to these medications reaching all infected people. Yet, there is a…

Hepatitis C: Looking Beyond the Liver

The liver is, understandably, ground zero when it comes to the hepatitis C virus (HCV). However, other body organs are not without consequences from this disease. There is a strong association between hepatitis C and chronic kidney disease. This combination of HCV and kidney disease presents challenges for treatment, since hepatitis C negatively affects the…

Coping With ‘Financial Toxicity’

Multiple myeloma, a type of cancer affecting the bone marrow, will be diagnosed in an estimated 27,000 Americans this year. Advances in research are expanding treatment options and improving outcomes in multiple myeloma patients, but these new medications often come with a higher price point. The expensive treatments for this disease have triggered alarming developments:…

Timely Treatment

When one analyzes the medical records of 1.6 American adults, it turns out there’s a lot to be learned there. Researchers with the Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study (CHeCS) did just that starting back in 2006 and tracked the ongoing health of those with hepatitis for the next numerous years. As the CHeCS researchers uncovered connections…

World Hepatitis Day

One of the key messages of today July 28th, World Hepatitis Day, is simply this: hepatitis C is a preventable and treatable disease. The World Health Organization created World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about the massive number of people already infected with one of several hepatitis viruses, including the hepatitis C, and how anyone…

Compliance in the Long Haul

Treating cancer is not always about a cure, sometimes it is more realistic to aim for controlling it long term as a chronic condition, which is a topic I explored earlier this year in Cancer Cure Vs. Control. It can be appropriate in some cases to control cancer with the goal of keeping it from…

Biosimilars: Close to the Real Thing

The issue of “biosimilar” medications has been under debate for years. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on the cusp of approving the first biosimilar. In case you don’t know, biosimilars are less expensive versions of already approved biological medications used for cancer, autoimmune, and other diseases. Biologic medications are typically large…

Treat Hepatitis C Promptly For Your Liver…And Your Heart

As if it’s not bad enough to have chronic hepatitis C infection, with the damage that brings to the liver, it seems that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) also brings other health risks. Naga Pothineni, M.D. from the Division of Cardiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science and fellow researchers looked into the…

On the Road to Lung Cancer

While smoking is the so-called smoking gun underlying many cases of lung cancer, it’s not the only risk factor for lung cancer. Several lung diseases can also up a person’s risk for lung cancer. New research from a French group called the International Agency for Research on Cancer found that chronic bronchitis and emphysema both…

The Multiple Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

Elvin Montanez, Pharm.D., Senior Vice President at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be a tough disease to diagnose, since its symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions. Even after this autoimmune disease is ID’ed, that may not be the end of the story. Today, experts are starting to understand that there is more…

Even Successful Treatment Can Come With Unintended Effects

Kimberly M. Hicks, Pharm.D., M.H.A., Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy   The relationship between breast cancer and a woman’s wallet is a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that women who survive breast cancer treatment are, well, alive. The bad news is that a significant number of these women deal with…

A Special Touch

Brittany Trane knew that she’d really found the right place to work, soon after starting at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy. One of the first patients she interacted with was Craig*, a patient with multiple sclerosis, who had been prescribed a new medication, called Rebif®. Rebif is used in the relapsing form of multiple sclerosis, to decrease…

Patient Adherence Goes Up as Out-of-Pocket Costs Go Down

The sky-rocketing cost of healthcare certainly isn’t breaking news. There is, however, an unfortunate trend related to these rising fees. As costs increasingly shift from payers onto the patients themselves – through greater out-of-pocket costs – finances for some patients hit a threshold which impacts adherence. In other words, some patients are simply getting priced…

Patient Assistance Lends a Hand

Specialty pharmacy continues to see annual increases in terms of U.S. spending on prescriptions for the treatment of complex or chronic diseases. URAC estimates that specialty drugs account for more than $50 billion of U.S. drug expenditures and comprises nearly 20 percent of the total pharmaceutical revenue. Specialty pharmacy is expected to make up approximately…

Better Cancer Screening Tests

Kimberly M. Hicks, Pharm.D., M.H.A., Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Screening tests are well-known and regularly used for several cancers, including breast cancer and cervical cancer; however, there are many other cancer sites that lack an effective early detection tool. That could soon be changing for lung cancer and prostate cancer. Lung cancer…

Overcoming Lupus Medication Compliance Challenges

The health challenges of lupus can be debilitating, yet two out of three lupus patients cared under Medicaid do not fully comply with their medication treatment plan. This new statistic emerged from a presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals. Poorly controlled lupus can lead to disease…

Expensive Out-of-Pocket Costs: The Latest Treatment Side Effect?

High health care costs leading to financial strain should be considered a side effect of treating a disease for some patients, posits Peter Ubel, M.D., Professor at Duke University, and his colleagues in a provocative new article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Most physicians speak openly with patients about a new chemotherapy medication…

Prescribers: Want Your Patients Treated? Then Don’t Hand Them a Prescription

When it comes to the treatment of tricky health conditions with specialty medications – such as Humira or Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis, Vivitrol for alcohol dependence, or medications to treat hepatitis C – patients are more likely to start treatment if their prescribing physician doesn’t hand over a paper prescription. How so? There are three…