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P&T April 2015

Features

Numerous, Diverse Cost Pressures Force Myriad Reform Efforts

State Medicaid programs and the managed care plans that insure most recipients are struggling with the costs of hepatitis C medications and other specialty drugs that may be only the leading edge of a wave of expensive treatments for common conditions.

A cross-sectional survey of hospital pharmacies in New Jersey demonstrates a lack of general consensus regarding hospital pharmacy preparedness for mass casualty scenarios despite individualized institutional protocols for disaster preparedness.

While Progress Has Been Relatively Slow, This Noted Expert Sees Reasons for Hope

Dr. Tanabe, Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, studies preventing and treating hepatocellular carcinoma, the most rapidly rising cause of cancer-related mortality. Promising developments are on the horizon.

Decades after the first patients were treated with antibiotics, bacterial infections have again become a threat because of the rapid emergence of resistant bacteria—a crisis attributed to abuse of these medications and a lack of new drug development.

Approximately 5 million Americans have dementia, and many receive psychiatric medications. Management of such patients is complex and controversial, and it has become apparent that all potential pharmacological therapies present risks.

Pipeline Plus

Available options for Alzheimer’s disease are used only for symptomatic improvement, but disease-modifying therapies may help triple annual medication sales by 2023.

Departments

Medication Errors

Pharmacy focus on hospital discharge cuts readmissions.

Prescription: Washington

Medicare oversight of hospital compounding is questioned.

FDA approvals, drug indications, and updates

Palbociclib (Ibrance) for breast cancer, secukinumab (Cosentyx) for plaque psoriasis, meningococcal group B vaccine (Bexsero) to help prevent meningitis, and lenvatinib (Lenvima) for differentiated thyroid cancer

Drug Forecast

Improving Options for Hepatitis C Virus Infection