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Industry News Archives

  • With Project Orbis Collaboration, FDA Approves New Treatment for Endometrial Cancer

    On September 17, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Project Orbis, an initiative of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE).  Project Orbis provides a framework for concurrent submission and review of oncology drugs among its international partners.

    As part of Project Orbis, in conjunction with decisions by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Health Canada, the FDA today granted accelerated approval to Lenvima (lenvatinib) in combination with Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for the treatment of patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma that is not microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR), and who have disease progression following prior systemic therapy but are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation. Collaboration among international regulators through Project Orbis allowed for simultaneous decisions in all three countries.

    Read FDA announcement on Project Orbis.

    Read more on FDA approval of lenvatinib in combination with pembrolizumab for certain patients with advanced endometrial carcinoma.

    Posted 9/17/2019


  • FDA Approves Fedratinib for Intermediate-2 or High-Risk Myelofibrosis

    On August 16, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved fedratinib (Inrebic, Impact Biomedicines, Inc.) for adults with intermediate-2 or high-risk primary or secondary (post-polycythemia vera or post-essential thrombocythemia) myelofibrosis (MF).

    The prescribing information for fedratinib includes a Boxed Warning to advise healthcare professionals and patients about the risk of serious and fatal encephalopathy, including Wernicke’s encephalopathy. Healthcare professionals are advised to assess thiamine levels in all patients prior to starting fedratinib, periodically during treatment, and as clinically indicated. If encephalopathy is suspected, fedratinib should be immediately discontinued and parenteral thiamine initiated.

    Read FDA announcement.

    Posted 8/16/2019


  • FDA Grants Acalabrutinib (Calquence) Breakthrough Therapy Designation

    AstraZeneca announced August 14 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to acalabrutinib (Calquence) for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

    The FDA granted the designation as a monotherapy treatment for adult patients with the disease, based on positive results from the interim analyses of the ELEVATE-TN and ASCEND Phase III clinical trials, which will serve as the foundation for regulatory submissions later this year.

    FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation is designed to accelerate the development and regulatory review of new medicines that are intended to treat a serious condition and that have shown encouraging early clinical results which may demonstrate substantial improvement on a clinically significant endpoint over currently available medicines. Use of acalabrutinib in adult patients with CLL is not yet FDA-approved.

    Read press release.

    Posted 8/15/2019



  • CMS Finalizes NCD for CAR T-Cell Therapy

    On August 7, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the finalized National Coverage Determination for FDA-approved Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR T-cell) Therapy. FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapies are approved to treat some people with specific types of cancer – certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  

    Medicare will cover CAR T-cell therapies when they are provided in healthcare facilities enrolled in the FDA risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS) for FDA-approved indications (according to the FDA-approved label). In addition, Medicare will cover FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapies for off-label uses that are recommended by CMS-approved compendia.

    The NCD 
    continues coverage for routine costs in clinical trials that use CAR T-cell therapy as an investigational agent that meet the requirements listed in NCD 310.1.

    In announcing the NCD, CMS notes that outcomes data for CAR T-cell therapy in the Medicare population are "relatively limited," and states that "CMS will leverage information obtained from the FDA’s required post-approval safety studies for CAR T-cell therapies to the fullest extent possible." 


    Read the CMS Decision Memo.

    Download CMS Decision Memo.

    Posted 8/07/2019


  • HHS Issues Plan Outlining 2 Paths for Prescription Drug Importation

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today that HHS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are publishing a Safe Importation Action Plan that outlines two potential pathways that would lay the foundation for the importation of certain drugs originally intended for foreign markets.

    Pathway 1: A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) would rely on the authority in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FD&C Act”) section 804 to authorize demonstration projects to allow importation of drugs from Canada.

    Pathway 2: Manufacturers could import versions of FDA-approved drug products that they sell in foreign countries that are the same as the U.S. versions. Under this pathway, manufacturers would use a new National Drug Code (NDC) for those products, potentially allowing them to offer a lower price than what their current distribution contracts require. 

    Read the HHS press release.
    Read the administration's Action Plan.

    Posted 7/31/2019


  • FDA Approves Pembrolizumab for PD-L1 Positive Advanced SCC of Esophagus

    On July 31, Merck announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for Keytruda (pembrolizumab), Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, as monotherapy for the treatment of patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus whose tumors express PD-L1 (Combined Positive Score [CPS] ≥10) as determined by an FDA-approved test, with disease progression after one or more prior lines of systemic therapy.

    Read the corporate press release
    .

    Posted 7/31/2019


  • CMS Releases Proposed 2020 OPPS and PFS Rules

    On Monday, July 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the calendar year (CY) 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) proposed rule and the CY 2020 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and Quality Payment Program proposed rule.

    CMS states that the OPPS proposed rule puts forward price transparency requirements that will increase competition among all hospitals by requiring them to make pricing information publicly available.

    According the agency, the policy changes included under the proposed 2020 PFS rule align with the administration's aims to reduce providers' paperwork burden, remove unnecessary reporting measures, and reward clinicians for time spent with patients.

    The ACCC policy team is currently reviewing both proposed rules and will provide a more in-depth summary for ACCC members shortly.

    Posted 7/29/2019



  • FDA Approves Ruxience (rituximab-pvvr) for Adult NHL, CLL, Some Auto-Immune Conditions

    Pfizer Inc. announced on July 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Ruxience™ (rituximab-pvvr), a biosimilar to Rituxan® (rituximab), for the treatment of adult patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA).

    Read the corporate press release.

    Posted 7/24/2019



  • ACCC Summary of RO Model Highlights Key Considerations

    On July 10, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new details of a proposed bundled payment model for radiation oncology services (“RO Model”). As proposed, the model would make fundamental (but temporary) changes to the way that Medicare pays for radiation therapy in certain randomly chosen geographic areas. Under the proposed model, Medicare would pay providers a pre-determined, site-neutral bundled rate for most services provided in a 90-day episode of radiation therapy, rather than paying for each service individually. The proposed model would be mandatory for providers selected to participate and is intended to incentivize providers to deliver radiation therapy services more cost-effectively while maintaining or improving the quality of care delivered.

    The Association of Community Cancer Centers has released a summary of the proposed RO Model, including potential implications for providers and manufacturers offering radiation therapy services and products. The summary covers top-of-mind consideration for this model, as proposed, and outlines questions for further analysis going forward as ACCC works with stakeholders to further evaluate the proposal.

    Based on the proposed rule’s anticipated date of publication date in the Federal Register, comments on the proposal will be due September 16, 2019.

    Posted 7/16/2019



  • Administration Withdraws Proposed Drug Rebate Rule

    On July 11, the White House announced withdrawal of its proposed drug rebate rule that would have removed rebates from government drug plans. 

    “Based on careful analysis and thorough consideration, the President has decided to withdraw the rebate rule,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. “The Trump administration is encouraged by continuing bipartisan conversations about legislation to reduce outrageous drug costs imposed on the American people, and President Trump will consider using any and all tools to ensure that prescription drug costs will continue to decline.”

    The controversial proposed rule fueled a rift in the Administration with HHS Secretary Alex Azar supporting the curbing of drug rebates and other White House officials in opposition due to the potential for the proposal to increase Medicare spending by nearly $200 billion.

    The proposed rule was considered central to the Administration's drug pricing reform plan. Withdrawal of the proposal likely signals an even greater focus by the Administration on its proposed International Pricing Index Model for Medicare Part B Drugs, which is currently undergoing review at the White House. 

    Posted 7/11/2019






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