A not-so-NICE decision for Eisai

Earlier this week the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said it is not recommending NHS funding for Eisai’s Kisplyx (lenvatinib) plus everolimus for treating advanced renal cell carcinoma in adults who have had one previous vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-targeted therapy. The reason? “The cost-effectiveness estimates compared with all comparators were much more than what NICE normally considers acceptable (£30,000 per quality-adjusted life year gained).” Gotta hand it to NICE, a rule is a rule. The decision did recognize there was a 10.1 month improvement in life expectancy, but this figure was based on a small sample size in the clinical trials. While we’re not market access experts, good chance Eisai will be firing up some RWE/HEOR/Late-phase studies fairly soon.

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Study: carpet safer than hardwood floors

About 26% of men and women who play Edward Scissorhands with their nether regions have caused injury in the process, according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology. Laceration was the most common type of injury reported, followed by burns and rashes. WHAT THE…? BURNS? Anyway, the authors concluded that those who seek out the Mr. (or Ms.) Clean look are more likely to injure themselves than those looking for, say, a 2013 Kaepernick. However, sticking with the 2017 Kaepernick is probably safest. Authors claim this research is important because it can lead to safer grooming practices. Doubtful. More likely, this was a grad student’s master’s thesis he proposed on a dare. Come on people, it’s not topiary. (Don’t worry, no FastPoll™ on this topic).

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Spiders being used to fight superbugs, cancer

Here’s the scenario: Scientist A says, “We have to do something about these superbugs before they kill us all!” Scientist B responds, looking up from a Spiderman comic, “Too bad we can’t just design some super-spiders to fight them with.” And that’s where it all started. Australian researcher Sónia Troeira Henriques and her team published a study wherein they redesigned a peptide from a Brazilian spider and found that their work increased the molecule’s antimicrobial and anticancer properties. Innovators have been looking for alternatives to the existing field of antibiotics, which are becoming dangerously ineffective at combating increasingly resistant bacteria. Earlier this year, the WHO released their list of “priority pathogens” that we really need to get some stuff in the pipeline for.

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Doctor Who?

Sorry, not the Doctor Who you were likely thinking of. One of the hypothesized “issues” with Obamacare was that with more people in the insurance system, the US would soon have a physician shortage. “Not so” says a recent study published in JAMA and reported on by the New York Times. Citing several sources, it seems that availability wait times have gone up (the proportion of privately insured patients having to wait at least 30 days for an appointment grew to 10.5% from 7.1%) but the ability to see a physician has not been impacted for the privately insured and it has improved for Medicaid patients. Mostly winner, winner, chicken dinner, right? With the seemingly endless parade of negative healthcare news, this is a little piece of good news. Enjoy.

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Man, you fractured the council

Last week, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier was among the first of many business leaders who left the White House’s American Manufacturing Council. The manufacturing heads cited President Trump’s comments following the protests and violence in Charlottesville, VA as the reason for their departure… and it snowballed from there with more CEOs resigning until Trump just dissolved it. Frazier’s presence on the council demonstrated the importance of drug manufacturing to the larger US manufacturing economy, and some lauded him for generating Positive Pharma Press™ by giving up his seat at that table. What’s Frazier up to next? Well according to the president, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Ouch, Mr. President.

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