Friday, December 2, 2011

anti - TNF Drugs Leading Battle Against Arthritis

Tumor necrosis factor, or TNF, related to cell death that leads to inflammation, is a main cause of arthritis pain.   According to the report, products such as Remicade, Enbrel or Humira that can block TNF have been effective in treatment and are leading in terms of revenue for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.  Abbott’s Humira leads the group of TNF products.  But as the report’s author suggests, the success of these products with rheumatologists and patients also means that it has become a competitive marketplace.
“Humira will likely become the world’s  biggest-selling drug  by 2016, after the fall of Lipitor in 2011,” said Melissa Elder, who authored our recent report on this topic.    “However, new products on the horizon and other factors may challenge this dominance over the next five years.”
Entrants to this area include Bristol-Myers Squibb, with its newest introduction of Orencia, UCB with Cimzia and many others. So far the existing products have fended off those challenges.  Some of the key other factors that may challenge anti-TNF dominance include new small molecule therapies attempting to vie for  first-line utilization; launch of biosimilars; and physicians gaining comfort with IL-6 therapies. One or all of these could potentially derail the anti-TNF dominance. The strongest near-term competitor is Pfizer’s tofacitinib, a JAK1-3 inhibitor. Tofacitinib is a small molecule therapy and can be manufactured  more cheaply than biologic therapies.  However, there are some safety concerns with the product.  On-going Phase III clinical trials will help to sort out the concerns and provide potential indications.
The report notes that the prescription arthritis market is not without its challenges for all drug makers.   Reimbursement for high-price biologic medicines will be challenging over the next few years as payors seek to manage cost through purchasing arrangements and cost-sharing with their insured population, which could be a limiter to price growth, according to the report.
Kalorama Information’s report, The World Market for Prescription Arthritis Treatments, has more information on this pharmaceutical market category including segment market estimates, trends in the industry and detailed company profiles.  The report can be found at Kalorama Information’s website at: 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting Information into an EMR: Solutions Vary

The installation of an EMR system creates an obstacle for healthcare entities: How to transform all the paper forms and physician-patient conversation into electronic health records.  There are certainly laptop-weilding tech-savvy physicians out there, and iPads are popular with the profession.  But for most, it's not practical to have a computer, no matter how small, play a role in the patient office visit.  Physicians converting to EMR are figuring out ways to get information that was collected in paper form into digital records so that it can be utilized and begin to meet meaningful use requirements.

-For some, dedicating a staff member, an office worker or medical assistant into the role has been the best way to ensure that electronic records are quality-assured and that they met the standards of the organization.

-Many physicians, group practices or hospitals have taken to hiring scribes in order to convert paper records and forms completed by the patient into digital records.   There are numerous companies offering this service.  A fee of $20 an hour is not unusual for these services. 

-For others, digital pens are a solution.  The heatlhcare worker or the patient will enter information into the digital pen as they fill out necessary forms.  One such pen product by Shareable Ink actually learns the users handwriting over time.