Tuesday, April 12, 2016

This nonprofit is playing a valuable role in framing the drug price discussion

The Pharmalot View

This nonprofit is playing a valuable role in framing the drug price discussion

This weekly column offers opinions on the latest pharmaceutical industry news.

For the past two years, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review has issued high-profile reports assessing the worth of pricey new drugs for treating hepatitis C and high cholesterol, among other conditions

ICER has actually been assessing health care costs for about a decade, but only began evaluating drugs two years ago when new hepatitis C treatments suddenly emerged.

Ever since that episode, some of its methodology has been questioned...

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Liver disease risk increased by type 2 diabetes, study finds

Liver disease risk increased by type 2 diabetes, study finds 

People with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of serious liver disease than those without the condition, research has shown.

Researchers warn that hospital admissions and deaths caused by liver disease are likely to rise if cases of type 2 diabetes continue to increase at current rates.

The team examined cases of liver diseases among people with diabetes from anonymised, securely linked hospital records and death records in Scotland over a ten year period.

They found that most cases of liver disease in people with type 2 diabetes are not alcohol-related but caused by a build-up of fat within liver cells - a condition known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD.

NAFLD is commonly linked to obesity, which is also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most people can avoid getting these conditions by following a healthy diet and taking regular exercise.

The research team - led by the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton - found that men with type 2 diabetes are three times more likely to suffer from NAFLD than men without diabetes.

There are fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and liver disease amongst women but having type 2 diabetes increases the risk of NAFLD by five times, the study found.

People with NAFLD are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol on the liver and should avoid drinking to avoid further complications, the researchers say.

Treatment options for NAFLD - which increases the risk of life-threatening complications such as cirrhosis and liver cancer - are limited.

The study involved researchers from the Scottish and Southampton Diabetes and Liver Disease Group. It is published in the Journal of Hepatology and was funded by the Scottish Government through the Scottish Diabetes Group.

Professor Sarah Wild, of the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences, said: "Preventing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by avoiding unhealthy lifestyles in both people with and without diabetes is important because it is difficult to treat the complications of this condition."

Professor Chris Byrne of the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton's, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre said: "We have shown for the first time that type 2 diabetes is an important novel risk factor that increases numbers of hospital admissions and deaths, in people with all common chronic liver diseases. Further research is now needed to determine whether all patients with type 2 diabetes should be screened for common chronic liver diseases."


How Best To Address The Increase In Liver Cancer Deaths

How Best To Address The Increase In Liver Cancer Deaths
John LaMattina, Contributor

As revealed by the National Cancer Institute in its recently published Annual Report to the Nation, death rates due to cancer are decreasing. Researchers found that overall cancer death rates decreased during 2003-2012 by an average of 1.8% per year for men, 1.4% per year for women and 2% per year for those aged 0-19. Progress is being made against all forms of cancer–prostate, breast, colon, lung, etc. There is, however, one exception. In contrast to overall trends, U.S. deaths due to liver cancer have increased. From 2008 to 2012, liver cancer increased an average of 2.3% per year overall, and the liver cancer-related death rate increased by an average of 2.8% per year among men and 3.4% per year among women.

“Liver cancer incidence is increasing, and this is due to a high prevalence of hepatitis C and the inability of many people to have access to the new drugs that are used to treat it, so even though we have these new treatments for hepatitis C, it is not expected that the prevalence of the disease will drop until 2025,” says Reddy.

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Link To Coverage: The International Liver Congress 2016

The International Liver Congress 2016
April 13-17 in Barcelona, Spain
Official Website
Twitter Account
View all updates on Twitter: #ILC2016

Website - Hepatitis C Breaking Conference Reports
Blog: HCV New Drugs - Media Updates

EASL, The International Liver Congress™ 2016 ebooks
Abstracts for The International Liver Congress™ 2016
Large quantity of abstracts, including some late breaker-abstracts, showing abstract title, author names and abstract data

Browse Abstracts
ILC 2016 Abstract ebook

European Consortium Seeks to Replace Liver Biopsies with Painless MRI Scans

Also See
FibroScan® New Generation Extends Access to Non-invasive Liver Diagnosis

European Consortium Seeks to Replace Liver Biopsies with Painless MRI Scans

OXFORD, England, April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Thousands of patients in Europe with liver disease could be saved from having painful and expensive needle biopsies in the future, after a multi-million Euro grant was awarded to a consortium of hospitals to use a faster and safer MRI called LiverMultiScan, developed by Perspectum Diagnostics.
Fuelled by rising levels of obesity, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affects up to a quarter of the European population and left untreated can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. The historic method of diagnosing NAFLD is by liver biopsy, which in addition to being costly and painful, samples only a tiny fraction (1/50,000th) of the liver. LiverMultiScan, which is being showcased at the forthcoming International Liver Congress in Barcelona (April 13 - 17th) is a non-invasive alternative which accurately measures liver fat and other metrics, and can help doctors detect early disease.

"A cost-effective tool for non-invasive liver tissue characterisation would be a major step forward in the treatment of patients with liver diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease," explains Dr. Minneke Coenraad from Leiden University Medical Centre, one of the investigators leading the study.

Supported by the Horizon 2020 SME instrument, the RADiCAL trial (Rapid Assessment and Diagnosis in Chronic Adult Liver disease) will compare the cost of patient care using liver biopsy with that of using LiverMultiScan. 2,000 patients suspected of a diagnosis of NAFLD will be recruited to centres in Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. Each patient will be randomised to either follow the current diagnostic pathway with biopsy, or to have early access to state-of-the-art MRI with LiverMultiScan, to determine the presence and extent of disease. At the end of the trial, the cost-effectiveness and patient-reported outcome measures of the two diagnostic pathways will be compared.

Dr Rajarshi Banerjee, CEO of Perspectum Diagnostics, says "We are delighted that the H2020 funding body recognises the enormous potential for LiverMultiScan to replace unnecessary biopsies. There is a real opportunity here, not only to make significant economic savings at a time when all health services are under pressure, but also to reduce the number of patients having to undergo what can be a stressful and painful procedure."

Doctors and patients can learn more about LiverMultiScan and the RADiCAL MRI technology by visiting Booth 2100 at the International Liver Congress in Barcelona April 13-17th, or visiting http://www.perspectum-diagnostics.com.

About LiverMultiScan

LiverMultiscan was introduced in Europe and the U.S. as a research device in 2014. It is now installed in leading medical institutions on three continents. The technology offers a quantitative liver assessment in a safe, non-invasive 15-minute MRI scan. LiverMultiScan is manufactured by Mirada Medical, and has CE-marking and FDA-clearance.

About Perspectum Diagnostics

Perspectum Diagnostics is a medical imaging company founded by scientists and physicians from the University of Oxford. It has pioneered the use of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging to accurately detect and measure biomarkers of liver disease.

Perspectum Diagnostics
Oxford Centre for Innovation |New Road | Oxford OX1 1BY
Tel: +44-(0)1865-261457

Hospitals in Three States Offer Patients Free Tests Following Arrest of Surgical Technician for Allegedly Stealing Fentanyl from Operating Room

Hospitals in Three States Offer Patients Free Medical Laboratory Tests Following Arrest of Surgical Technician for Allegedly Stealing Fentanyl from Operating Room

Because of possible exposure to HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C from a healthcare worker, thousands of patients treated in multiple hospitals in different states are being offered free clinical laboratory testing. This situation is attracting national media attention and is a reminder to pathologists and medical laboratory professionals of the increased transparency that is being given to different types of medical errors that expose patients to risk.
A surgical technologist who allegedly stole the drug fentanyl from multiple hospitals provides an example of how the healthcare system can miss systematic misconduct by individual employees that can put thousands of patients at risk.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Viral Hepatitis Can Be Eliminated If It Is a Top Priority

Viral Hepatitis Can Be Eliminated If It Is a Top Priority

 Your Source for University News
Scientists' interim report cites cost and logistics as barriers to ending “silent killer” in U.S.
Monday, April 11, 2016

Viral hepatitis will only be eliminated in the U.S. if it is made a stronger priority, according to an interim report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Approximately 20,000 people die in the U.S. each year from viral hepatitis, often referred to as a “silent killer” and given significantly less attention than other potentially fatal diseases.“These deaths could be averted,” said Brian L. Strom, a renowned epidemiologist and the chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, who heads a committee of scientists selected by the Academies to study the issue. “The world has the tools to prevent hepatitis B and cure hepatitis C, which in turn could prevent most liver cancer.”

“But the barriers to elimination of hepatitis B and C are consequences of a more basic problem – that viral hepatitis is simply not a public priority in the U.S.,” Strom said.

That could change soon. In May, the World Health Assembly will consider a resolution setting broad global targets of 90 percent reduction in the incidence of viral hepatitis and 65 percent reduction in its mortality by 2030.

“The United States has both an opportunity and a responsibility to be part of the global action against viral hepatitis,” Strom said. The committee’s report is summarized today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) account for most of the world’s chronic viral hepatitis. HBV vaccine now results in 95 percent immunity, while new antiviral drugs can eliminate HCV infection in more than 90 percent of chronically infected patients, Strom explained.

“Taken together, these advances have encouraged global momentum for action against viral hepatitis,” Strom said.

While the committee’s next report in the spring of 2017 will recommend actions to eliminate viral hepatitis as a major U.S. health threat, Strom noted that the current barriers to doing so relate to logistics and cost.

“The HBV vaccine makes it possible to interrupt horizontal transmission of the virus, but ending transmission would require immunization of every susceptible person in a population,” he said. “As for hepatitis C, the costs of curative drugs have made this strategy impractical.”

The report said, "Because most cases are imported, U.S. support of vaccination efforts in other countries would be a wise investment in reducing the future burden of hepatitis B in the United States."

Complicating the issue is the fact that most people chronically infected with viral hepatitis are unaware of their condition.

The report notes that though eliminating viral hepatitis as a major health threat is a challenging goal, the committee believes the goal is attainable.


Video-Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne discusses Hepatitis C

Published on Apr 11, 2016
Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne discusses his decision to take a medical leave of absence due to Hepatitis C.

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