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Industry News Archive

  • ASCO Announces Virtual Annual Meeting

    The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) announced on March 24 that it will not be holding its 2020 Annual Meeting in person due to COVID-19. The scientific program will now be presented in a virtual format during the scheduled Annual Meeting timeframe. Please find more details from ASCO statement here.

    Posted 3/24/2020


  • CMS FAQs on Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief in Response to COVID-19

    In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is using its authority under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act to offer flexibilities with Medicare provider enrollment.

    On March 23, CMS released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief related to COVID-19 including the toll-free hotlines available to provide expedited enrollment and answer questions related to COVID-19 enrollment requirements.

    Access the CMS FAQs.

    Posted 3/23/2020


  • CMS Announces Exceptions & Extensions for Quality Reporting Requirements

    In response to the COVID-19 health emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 22 announced exceptions from reporting requirements and extensions for clinicians and providers participating in Medicare quality reporting programs with respect to upcoming measure reporting and data submission for those programs.

    Read agency statement (includes extensions for upcoming measure reporting and submission deadlines).

    CMS states: "For those programs with data submission deadlines in April and May 2020, submission of those data will be optional, based on the facility’s choice to report. In addition, no data reflecting services provided January 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 will be used in CMS’s calculations for the Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs."

    Posted 3/23/2020


  • CMS Posts Fact Sheet on Coverage for COVID-19 Tests

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be covering COVID-19 tests, and for those original Medicare there is generally no copay (deductible applies). CMS is also permitting Medicare Advantage plans to waive cost-sharing for these tests. 

    CMS has posted a fact sheet to the agency's website to aid Medicare providers with information relating to the pricing of both the CDC and non-CDC COVID-19 tests. Read the fact sheet

    Visit the CMS "Current Emergencies" webpage for updates on CMS' response to this COVID-19. 

    Posted 3/13/2020



  • Report to the Nation Shows Overall Decline in Cancer Death Rates

    The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer finds that from 2001 to 2017, deaths from cancer (all sites combined) continued to decline. The report was released on March 12 and is published in the journal, Cancer.

    The annual report, which represents the collaborative efforts of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries NAACCR), found decreases in the overall cancer death rates in all major racial and ethnic groups and among men, women, adolescents, young adults, and children. From 2012 to 2016 incidence of new cancers (for all cancers combined) held steady for men and increased slightly for women.

    Over a four-year period (2013 to 2017), the report found:

    Cancer death rates for men declined in 11 of the 19 most prevalent cancers, remained stable in four cancers (including prostate), and increased in four cancers (oral cavity and pharynx; soft tissue including heart, brain, and other nervous system; and pancreas).

    Cancer death rates for women decreased in 14 of the 20 most common cancers, including (lung and bronchus, breast, and colorectal), but increased for cancers of the uterus; liver; brain and other nervous system; soft tissue including heart; and pancreas. Rates for cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx remained stable.

    A companion report assesses progress on the federal government’s Healthy People 2020 objectives for four leading cancers: lung, prostate, breast cancer in women, and colorectal cancer. The targets for reducing death rates were met for all cancers combined as well as for lung, prostate, female breast, and colorectal cancers overall. However, these decreases were not consistent across all sociodemographic groups. Despite some progress over the past decade, the report points to the continued need to address disparities in cancer screening and in certain risk behaviors.

    In addition, the report finds that Healthy People 2020 targets were not met for decreasing adult cigarette smoking; increasing success in smoking cessation; lowering excessive alcohol use; or reducing obesity—behaviors that have been associated with cancer risk.

    Posted 3/11/2020






  • Udenyca Well Prepared to Meet Market Demand

    Coherus BioSciences, Inc., has announced that its United States manufacturing and distribution is well positioned to
    ensure uninterrupted availability of Udenyca® (pegfilgrastim-cbqv) for patients. Coherus does not source active pharmaceutical ingredients for Udenyca® from China, or India, and its manufacturing site in Boulder, Colorado has not been impacted by coronavirus, the company said in a statement.

    Read the company statement.

    Posted 3/11/2020


  • FDA Approves Sarclisa® for Relapsed Refractory Multiple Myeloma

    On March, 2, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Sarclisa® (isatuximab-irfc) in combination with pomalidomide and dexamethasone (pom-dex) for the treatment of adults with relapsed refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) who have received at least two prior therapies including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor. Sarclisa is expected to be available to patients in the U.S. shortly.

    Sarclisa is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the CD38 receptor on multiple myeloma cells.

    Sarclisa has Orphan Drug Designation status from the FDA.

    Read corporate press release.

    Posted 3/2/2020



  • CMS Issues Proposed Changes to Medicare Advantage & Part D

    On Feb. 5, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule and Advance Notice Part II.  

    The CY 2021/2022 Medicare Advantage and Part D Proposed Rule (CMS- 4190-P) would:

    • require Part D plans to offer real-time drug price comparison tools to beneficiaries starting Jan. 1, 2022, to allow consumers to shop for lower-cost alternative therapies under their prescription drug benefit plan. 

    • allow a second, “preferred” specialty tier in Part D with a lower cost sharing amount.

    • require Part D plans to disclose the measures they use to evaluate pharmacy performance in their network agreements. This would allow CMS to track and report publicly how plans are measuring and applying pharmacy performance measures.
    In the Advance Notice, the agency asks for comments on potentially developing measures of generic and biosimilar utilization in Medicare Part D as part of a plan’s star rating.

    Access a fact sheet on the CY 2021/2022 Medicare Advantage and Part D Proposed Rule (CMS- 4190-P).
    Download the proposed rule.

    Access a fact sheet on the 2021 Medicare Advantage and Part D Advance Notice Part II.

    Download Medicare Advantage and Part D Advance Notice Part II.

    Posted 2/6/2020



  • FDA Approves Avapritinib for GIST Subset

    On Jan. 9, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced approval of avapritinib (Ayvakit) for the treatment of adults with unresectable or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) – harboring a platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) exon 18 mutation. This approval includes GIST that harbors a PDGFRA D842V mutation, which is the most common exon 18 mutation. Ayvakit is a kinase inhibitor, meaning it blocks a type of enzyme called a kinase and helps keep the cancer cells from growing.

    Read the FDA approval announcement.

    Posted 1/9/2020.


  • ACS Report Finds Largest One-Year Drop in Cancer Deaths

    The American Cancer Society’s annual report on U.S. cancer statistics, released Jan. 8, announced the greatest one-year decline in deaths from cancer since 1930. From 2016 to 2017, overall deaths from cancer dropped 2.2 percent. Between 1991 and 2017, the U.S. has seen the overall cancer death rate drop 29 percent.  

    In a statement, lead study author Rebecca Siegel, MPH, attributed the record drop to improved statistics related to lung cancer. While a decrease in smoking rates has contributed to the decline, Siegel also credited recent advances in lung cancer treatment for this year's record drop. These include surgical advances, improved diagnostic screening, as well as advances in radiation therapy and anticancer therapeutics.

    The U.S. continues to see increases in new cases of certain cancers including cancers of the kidney, pancreas, liver, and oral cavity and pharynx (among non-Hispanic whites), and melanoma skin cancer.

    The American Cancer Society estimates for 2019, the U.S. saw approximately 1,762,450 cancers diagnosed.


    Read the full report.
    Read Facts & Figures 2020.

    Posted 1/9/2019



  • FDA Approves Pembrolizumab for Treatment of Subset of Bladder Cancer Patients

    On Jan. 8, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) with carcinoma in situ (CIS) with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy.

    Read the FDA announcement.

    Posted 1/8/2020


  • FDA Approves Olaparib for Pancreatic Cancer

    On Dec. 30, 2019, AstraZeneca and Merck announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of olaparib (Lynparza) for the maintenance treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm) metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma whose disease has not progressed on at least 16 weeks of a first-line platinum-based chemotherapy regimen. Patients will be selected for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for Lynparza.

    Read the corporate press release.

    Myriad Genetics, Inc., announced Dec. 30, 2019, FDA has approved the company's BRACAnalysis CDx® for use as a companion diagnostic test by healthcare professionals to identify patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who have a germline BRCA mutation and are candidates for treatment with PARP inhibitor Lynparza® (olaparib). 

    Read the corporate press release.

    Posted 12/30/2019


  • FDA Approves Enhertu for Previously Treated Unresectable or Metastatic HER2+ Breast Cancer

    On December 20, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki (Enhertu®, Daiichi Sankyo) for patients with unresectable or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer who have received two or more prior anti-HER2-based regimens in the metastatic setting.

    Read FDA announcement.

    Posted 12/20/2019


  • FDA Approves Padcev (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) for Advanced Urothelial Cancer

    On Dec. 18, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to Padcev (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv), a Nectin-4-directed antibody and microtubule inhibitor conjugate, meaning the drug specifically targets cancer cells – in this case, the cell adhesion molecule Nectin-4, which is highly expressed in urothelial cancers.

    Padcev is indicated for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer in adults who have previously received a PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitor and a platinum-containing chemotherapy. Platinum-containing chemotherapy, PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors are standard treatments for patients with bladder cancer, the sixth most common cancer in the U.S. Urothelial cancer, which accounts for more than 90% of bladder cancers, begins in cells that line the bladder and nearby organs. Padcev is a new type of therapy for patients with advanced urothelial cancer whose disease has progressed on chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

    Read FDA announcement.

    Posted 12/19/2019 


  • Trump Administration Issues Proposed Rule on Importation of Prescription Drugs

    On Dec. 18, 2019, President Trump, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that, if finalized, would allow states to import certain prescription drugs from Canada. In addition, the administration announced a new draft guidance for industry that allows drug manufacturers to important their own prescription drugs, including biological products, that are FDA-approved, manufactured abroad, authorized for sale in any foreign country, and originally intended for sale in that foreign country.

    The proposed rule applies to drugs that meet FDA labeling standards and impose no risk to health and safety. The import rule excludes controlled substances, biological products and intravenous drugs. (FDA's Safe Importation Action Plan.)

    Comments on the NPRM are being accepted for 75 days after publication in the Federal Register and comments on the draft guidance are being accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    Read the HHS press release.
    Read Importation of Prescription Drugs Proposed Rule.
    Read new draft guidance for industry.



  • FDA Approves Enzalutamide for Metastatic Castration-Sensitive Prostate Cancer

    On Dec. 16, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved enzalutamide (Xtandi, Astellas Pharma Inc.) for patients with metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer (mCSPC).

    FDA previously approved enzalutamide for patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer.

    Read the FDA announcement
    .

    Posted 12/17/2019



  • Senate Confirms Dr. Stephen Hahn as U.S. FDA Commissioner

    On Dec. 12, 2019, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm radiation oncology Stephen Hahn, MD, FASTRO, as the next Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    Posted 12/12/2019  



  • FDA Approves Atezolizumab + Chemotherapy for Metastatic Non-Squamous NSCLC

    On Dec. 3, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) in combination with chemotherapy (Abraxane® [paclitaxel protein-bound; nab-paclitaxel] and carboplatin) for the first-line treatment of adults with metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.

    Read the corporate announcement.

    Read FDA announcement.

    Posted 12/04/2019; updated 12/06/2019


  • FDA Approves New Treatment Option for CLL Under International Collaboration

    Nov. 21, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -  as part of Project Orbis, a collaboration with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Health Canada - granted supplemental approval to acalabrutinib (Calquence ) for the treatment of adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). This new approved indication for Calquence provides a new treatment option for patients with CLL or SLL as an initial or subsequent therapy.

    Read FDA announcement.

    Read AstraZeneca corporate press release.

    Posted 11/21/2019
    Re-posted 11/26/2019


  • CMS Issues Rules on Price Transparency for Hospitals and Health Insurance Issuers

    On Nov. 15, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued two rules that aim to increase price transparency and increase competition among all hospitals, group health plans, and health insurance issuers in the individual and group markets. The agency finalized the calendar year (CY) 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) & Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Price Transparency Requirements for Hospitals to Make Standard Charges Public rule, and issued the Transparency in Coverage Proposed Rule. Both rules (final and proposed) require that pricing information be made publicly available.

    The final "Price Transparency Requirements for Hospitals to Make Standard Charges Public" rule will require hospitals to make their standard charges public in two ways starting in January 1, 2021:

    • Comprehensive Machine-Readable File: Hospitals will be required to make public all hospital standard charges (including the gross charges, payer-specific negotiated charges, the amount the hospital is willing to accept in cash from a patient, and the minimum and maximum negotiated charges) for all items and services on the Internet in a single data file that can be read by other computer systems. The file must include additional information such as common billing or accounting codes used by the hospital (such as Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes) and a description of the item or service to provide common elements for consumers to compare standard charges from hospital to hospital.
    • Display of Shoppable Services in a Consumer-Friendly Manner: Hospitals will be required to make public payer-specific negotiated charges, the amount the hospital is willing to accept in cash from a patient for an item or service, and the minimum and maximum negotiated charges for 300 common "shoppable services" in a consumer-friendly way and update the information at least annually.

    CMS fact sheet on final rule.
    Access final rule.

    CMS states that the proposed "Transparency in Coverage" rule is issued in response to an Executive Order dated June 24, 2019. The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of the Treasury are collectively issuing the proposed rule. As written, the rule would require that most employer-based group health plan and health insurance issuers provide up-front disclosure of price and cost-sharing information to participants, beneficiaries, and enrollees. 

    If finalized, the "Transparency in Coverage" proposed rule would require health plans to:

    • Provide consumers with real-time, personalized access to cost-sharing information, including an estimate of their cost-sharing liability for all covered healthcare items and services, through an online tool that most group health plans and health insurance issuers would be required to make available to all of their members, and in paper form, at the consumer’s request. This would allow consumers to shop and compare costs between specific providers before receiving care.

    Disclose on a public website their negotiated rates for in-network providers and allowed amounts paid for out-of-network providers. Making this information available to the public is intended to drive innovation, support informed, price-conscious decision-making, and promote competition in the healthcare industry.  

    Access a CMS fact sheet on the proposed rule.
    Access the proposed rule.

    More details are available in the HHS press release.

    Posted 11/15/2019



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