Pharma Company AstraZeneca To Pay Texas $110 Million Over Alleged Fraudulent Marketing

AstraZeneca agreed this week to pay the state of Texas $110 million to settle a pair of lawsuits in which the state accused the pharma giant of fraudulent marketing. The suits separately deal with the drugs Seroquel, which is an antipsychotic medication, and Crestor, to lower cholesterol. Texas claimed AstraZeneca marketed Seroquel to Texas Medicaid providers who treated children and adolescents—even though the drugs weren’t approved for use among that population—and made hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal payments to a couple former state hospital doctors to influence the drug’s use. The state claimed AstraZeneca similarly pushed beyond the… Full Story

Irving-based Company Predicts Smaller (But Still Sizable) Increase In Drug Prices Next Year

Vizient released its drug price forecast for 2019, and the data-driven company says it expects prices to increase 4.92 percent during 2019. But the prediction comes with a caveat for health systems to latch onto: The percent of price inflation is down nearly three percentage points—from 7.61 percent last year—which Vizient says could signal the beginning of a change in the trend. For now, the specialty pharmacy industry continues to drive up the prices, Vizient says: Although the rate of price increases is projected to slow, the specialty pharmacy market is expected to continue its rapid pace of growth, which… Full Story

Davita Rx To Close Coppell Facility, Lay Off 869 Employees After Sale To Walgreens

Davita Rx has submitted a notice to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) that it plans to close a facility in Coppell and lay off hundreds of people that work at or report to it. Walgreens reached a deal to acquire Davita Rx, which is the pharmacy wing of dialysis provider Davita Inc., on July 25. The pharmacy giant is buying Davita’s non-dialysis prescription files billed as a pharmacy benefit, predominately under Medicare Part D, the company said. The deal is expected to close in September. A facility at 1234 Lakeshore Drive, Ste. 200 in Coppell will close, resulting in 869… Full Story

Dallas Physician Aims to Decrease the Spread of HIV Infection With Saturday PrEP Clinic

A physician whose involvement in fighting HIV infection stretches back to the late-‘80s and early-90s AIDS crisis is opening a Saturday PrEP clinic, hoping to continue to curtail the spread of HIV. Dr. Steven Pounders is opening the clinic on Sept. 8. It will provide lab testing and follow ups for patients interested in getting on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a new prevention approach with the drug Truvada that Pounders says reduces the risk of obtaining HIV infection by as much as 90 percent. “We’ve been looking for ways to try to encourage more and more people to take it,” Pounders… Full Story

At A UNTHSC Clinic, Integrating A Pharmacist Into the Healthcare Team Is Making All the Difference

UNT Health Science Center has a piece out that’s worth pointing you toward. At the Hepatitis C Clinic at the UNTHSC Health Pavilion, planting a pharmacist within the healthcare team has made oceans of difference when it comes to adherence to prescription programs. Hepatitis C meds, UNTHSC explains, cost nearly $100,000 and cure the infection within 12 weeks. Yet some patients still let the drugs go unused. From the center’s newsroom: “But non-adherence can prevent or delay a cure,” said Dr. Fix, Associate Professor of Pharmacotherapy at UNT Health Science Center. “Programs like ours improve adherence by close to 100… Full Story

Texas Oncology Receives Recognition For Care Management Strategies

Another oncology tidbit today, as Texas Oncology announced it’s been awarded a 2018 Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute Excellence Award. The recognition has to do with Texas Oncology’s care management strategies, and with its success in raising adherence to oncology meds to 96 percent, whereas the national average sits around 70 percent. Oral chemotherapy, Texas Oncology says, is taking on a greater importance in cancer care with more and more drugs being introduced to the market. “A medically integrated care approach with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, and financial counselors working together improves patient experiences and compliance while reducing costs from less waste,… Full Story

Report: Patient Groups Are Taking Big Money from Drugmakers

Kaiser Health News has a new data-fueled story out called “Pre$cription for Power,” in which the team their finds that big pharma is filtering money to patient advocacy groups at rates that dwarf even their federal lobbying efforts. The database—searchable here—makes transparent the money that patient groups right here in Dallas-Fort Worth have taken from drugmakers. The Dallas-based American Heart Association, for instance, took $3.3 million from the tracked companies in 2015, seventh-most of any group. Many of the national patient groups in the analysis have North Texas branches. In all, KHN found that nearly half—594—of the 1,215 patient advocacy… Full Story

McKinney-based Soleo Health Expands, Adds Branches

Specialty infusion services company Soleo Health has added some locations in the last few months. The McKinney-based operation tacked on a branch in West Virginia most recently, and has expanded into Orlando, St. Louis, and Denver in recent months, among other locations. Soleo is a pharmacy company that serves patients requiring specialty  infusion therapies. They also have on-site ambulatory infusion sites. The company now has 19 locations across the country. “As one of the fastest growing specialty infusion companies in the industry, we have experienced double digit growth every year since our inception in 2014 and cared for thousands of… Full Story

North Texas Experts: Overdose Reversal Drugs, Prescription Monitoring Could Help in Fight Against Opioid Epidemic

Wider utilization of overdose reversal drugs could go a long way in reducing the impact of the opioid epidemic, North Texas experts say. So could responsible prescribing and more use of the state’s prescription monitoring program, which collects and monitors data related to Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substances. “Responsible prescribing is one of the cornerstones of addressing the issue,” said Glenn Hardesty, an emergency medicine physician with Texas Health Resources and opioid expert. He said that changes in the approach to prescribing opiates have already curbed access to the legally obtained drugs. He added that building the… Full Story

A Dallas Doctor Offers Pain Management Programs as an Alternative to Opioids

I missed this a couple weeks ago, but I found it to be a well-reasoned writing approach to a very important topic, so I wanted to pass it along. Dr. Carl Noe, medical director at the Eugene McDermott Center for Pain Management at UT Southwestern Medical Center, takes on the topics of potential alternatives to prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Here’s Noe: But the convenience of offering a prescription for quick relief won over doctors, and our country’s pill culture appeals to patients. We in the medical community should have known better. There’s no scientific data to show that opioids… Full Story