February 2020, Vol 10, No 2

As we enter a new decade, we are seeing a widening gap between those who provide care and those who pay for care. This growing divergence is evidenced, in part, by the different sources being used for clinical pathways and authorized coverage for payment. Initially, payers tend to consider national guidelines, such as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, as a starting point for acceptable treatment choices made by physicians, but then refer to internal policies or external vendors to narrow the parameters required for clinical and payment coverage. Read Article ›

Tazemetostat, a first-in-class EZH2 inhibitor, has demonstrated single-agent antitumor activity in patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma, according to data presented at the 2019 American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting. Results of a phase 2 clinical trial showed an overall response rate of 69% and 35% in mutant and wild-type cohorts, respectively. Clinical activity was durable across both cohorts, with patients on therapy up to 2 years and responses continuing to deepen over time, researchers in the study reported. Read Article ›

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is now approved as third-line treatment for patients with B-cell lymphomas and leukemias. For some patients, CAR T-cell therapy is a miracle therapy, extending survival and, in some cases, as a bridge to a potentially curative transplant. But at an estimated cost of $375,000 to $475,000 per person, many people have questioned the value of this treatment, and whether it can be delivered effectively to patients not enrolled in clinical trials. Read Article ›

Nivolumab monotherapy can be used as an effective bridge therapy to autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (AHCT) in many patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), researchers reported at ASH 2019. Read Article ›

The impact of poverty and low socioeconomic status on health and survival among children may be even more debilitating than suspected, according to new data presented at ASH 2019. Even in clinical trials, which are designed to provide consistent treatment across groups, socioeconomic status was associated with “substantial” differences in survival, researchers were surprised to find out. Read Article ›

With drug-pricing legislations currently before the House and the Senate, the issue of demonstrating value in high-cost drug therapies has become the front and center of the healthcare conversation. Moderator Roger Longman, MA, Co-Founder and Chairman, Real Endpoints LLC, a reimbursement-focused analytics and advisory firm, engaged an expert panel on the topic of value-based agreements during the 2019 AVBCC Summit. Read Article ›

At the 2019 AVBCC Summit, a panel of payers, moderated by Mike Kolodziej, MD, Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer, ADVI Health, discussed strategies for improving the delivery of value-based cancer care, along with changes on the horizon as payers and providers strive to maximize access to high-quality oncology drugs. Read Article ›

It is estimated that 350 million people worldwide use biologics on a regular basis to treat their medical conditions. These therapies are incredibly innovative and have expanded the arsenal of effective treatment options for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. However, the high costs of these therapies, although understandable, can create access issues for patients. That is why biosimilars are so important. Read Article ›

On January 23, 2020, the FDA approved tazemetostat (Tazverik; Epizyme), a methyltransferase inhibitor, for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients aged ≥16 years with metastatic or locally advanced epithelioid sarcoma who are not eligible for complete resection. The FDA granted tazemetostat accelerated approval and designated it as an orphan drug. Read Article ›

On January 9, 2020, the FDA approved avapritinib (Ayvakit; Blueprint Medicines), a kinase inhibitor, for the treatment of adult patients with unresectable or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) harboring a platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) exon 18 mutation, including PDGFRA D842V mutations. The FDA designated avapritinib as a breakthrough therapy and an orphan drug. Avapritinib was also granted Fast Track designation. Read Article ›

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