The Healthcare Standard

Publix Pharmacy, SC Hospital Team Up On Patient Care

Publix Pharmacy and Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) have joined forces to expand health care services for residents of South Carolina’s Beaufort County.

The partnership includes in-hospital delivery of patient prescriptions from a nearby Publix, along with in-store telehealth centers at two of the grocer’s stores.

“Patients are looking for more convenient access to health care, whether it’s treatment for non-emergency medical conditions or easier transitions from hospital to home,” noted Dain Rusk, VP of pharmacy at Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets. “This collaboration with Beaufort Memorial Hospital will provide residents of the Beaufort community with a medical care option where they shop and eliminate an extra errand for patients leaving the hospital.”

“We’re excited about this collaboration to expand access to care in the Lowcountry and to provide a direct prescription service to patients leaving the hospital,” added Beaufort Memorial President and CEO Russell Baxley. “Our mission is to improve the health of our community, and offering walk-in care through Publix Pharmacy provides a unique way to do just that. It’s another option for patients who need care when and where it is most convenient for them.”


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The Healthcare Standard

AVEO Pharmaceuticals: Going From A Short-Term Trade To Long-Term Investment

AVEO informed investors that they were going to delay NDA submission for FOTIVDA until they have more mature data. The company expects to perform an interim analysis in August.

FOTIVDA has a bad history with its data and impressing the FDA. I review the previous and present-day concerns with FOTIVDA’s data.

My original plan for AVEO was start a position for a short-term trade, but now, I am looking to hold my shares and potentially add to my speculative position.

AVEO Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AVEO) has had a rough go so far in 2019, and the stock has reflected that by plummeting over 50% since the beginning of the year. AVEO had a major holdup when it had to defer FOTIVDA’s NDA submission for the 3rd-line treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma “RCC” in January. AVEO management elected to hold off on their NDA submission after the FDA communicated that they were not pleased with the preliminary overall survival “OS” data that was stated in the top-line results from the TIVO-3 study publicized in November.

AVEO has scheduled to work on their interim OS analysis at some point in August, with the results being reported at some point in the fourth quarter. These results would be considered “mature” OS and should provide the data needed for the company to decide whether to file the NDA in accordance with the FDA’s recommendation. If the company reports positive OS data, the market should respond accordingly and pull the share price out of its current trading purgatory.

Using the charts and a few indicators, I was able to “Catch the Falling Knife” around the May 2017 low of ~$0.56 per share. I still believe that was a safe entry point, and I have turned my short-term AVEO trade into a long-term AVEO hold. I intend to present the reasons why I am deciding to hold my shares and potentially add to my speculative position.

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The Healthcare Standard

Pharmacists Told Flu Vaccine Deliveries Will Be Delayed

Flu vaccine suppliers have told pharmacies that some deliveries of the standard quadrivalent flu vaccine will be delayed until November 2019.

A letter from Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement was sent to community pharmacists on 17 July 2019 warning that drug manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur will be “phasing” deliveries of the inactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIVe), with some vaccines being delivered “by the end of November” 2019.

Flu vaccinations are usually available in community pharmacies from the beginning of September.

The letter says the late vaccine supplies of the standard egg-grown vaccine, which is suitable for adults at risk of flu who are aged under 65 years, have been caused by a delayed decision from the World Health Organization on which viruses should be included in the vaccines.

The letter encourages pharmacies and GP practices to contact manufacturers and confirm delivery dates of the vaccinations.

Rekha Shah, who leads on pharmacy NHS vaccination services for London local pharmaceutical committees, said it was unclear whether production of the new cell-based quadrivalent vaccine (QIVc), which is also suitable for adults aged under 65 years, would be disrupted too. She advised pharmacies to plan to provide information to patients aged under 65 years and schedule their vaccinations for later in the flu season.

However, Shah added: “We have understood that all vaccines will still be received before the end of November [2019], and this is before flu normally starts circulating.”

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The Healthcare Standard

Opioid Overdoses Fall by 2% from 2017 to 2018, CDC Reports

July 18, 2019 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics released its provisional report on drug overdose deaths, showing opioid overdoses declined by two percent from 2017 to 2018.

“The latest provisional data on overdose deaths show that America’s united efforts to curb opioid use disorder and addiction are working,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in an official statement. “Lives are being saved, and we’re beginning to win the fight against this crisis. Under President Trump’s leadership, and thanks to efforts on the ground by communities across America, the number of patients receiving medication assisted treatment has risen, distribution of overdose-reversing drugs is up, and nationwide opioid prescriptions are down.”

According to the data, 212,112 individuals died of an overdose at the end of 2017 and 204,109 died of the same cause by the end of 2018.

The two highest causes of drug overdose deaths continued to be opioids and synthetic opioids. Natural and semi-synthetic opioids dropped below cocaine and psychostimulants. Methadone continues to hover at around 3,000 lives lost, lower than the other drugs calculated.

Missouri and Delaware saw the highest increase in deaths—each rising by over 16 percent during the period. Alaska, Ohio, and South Dakota saw the largest decrease, dropping by 26.1 percent, 25 percent, and 22.4 percent, respectively.

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The Healthcare Standard

How Much Do Pharmacists Make in 2019?

Handing out prescription medicines to consumers is a higher calling.

Helping people follow their physician’s guidance and getting them the tools they need to cope with or recover from an illness can be a difference-maker in many lives. Most pharmacists know they have chosen a gratifying profession.

They may also be gratified by the financial rewards, as pharmacists rank on the higher end of professional occupations.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists earn $126,120 annually, or $60.64 per hour on the job.

Percentile-wise, the top 10% of U.S. pharmacists earned around $161,250 in 2018, while the bottom 10% of the pharmacy trade earned about $87,790.

A pharmacist’s salary does depend on where he or she practices his or her vocation geographically. Also, there are some caveats on time and scheduling, too, that might factor into a pharmacist’s salary.

While pharmacy skills categories like pediatrics and hospital/clinic pharmacy are in decline, and are thus limiting salaries, other areas like retail pharmacy oncology and long-term senior care were on the rise in 2018, and are setting the table for higher pay in those categories.

That’s because supply-demand issues matter and salaries generally grow higher in high-volume urban areas where the demand for trained pharmacy professionals is robust.

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The Healthcare Standard

Trial Wraps in Oklahoma’s Opioid Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson

The first civil trial against an opioid manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has ended in Oklahoma. The verdict could affect lawsuits filed by other local and state governments coping with addiction.

A global megacorporation best known for Band-Aids and baby powder may have to pay billions for its alleged role in the opioid crisis. Johnson & Johnson was the sole defendant in a closely-watched trial that wrapped up in Oklahoma state court this week, with a decision expected later this summer. The ruling in the civil case could be the first that would hold a pharmaceutical company responsible for one of the worst drug epidemics in American history.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s lawsuit alleges Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals helped ignite the opioid crisis with overly aggressive marketing, leading to thousands of overdose deaths over the past decade in Oklahoma alone.

The trial took place over seven weeks in the college town of Norman. Instead of a jury, a state judge heard the case.

During closing arguments Monday, Hunter called the company the “kingpin” of the opioid crisis. “What is truly unprecedented here is the conduct of these defendants on embarking on a cunning, cynical and deceitful scheme to create the need for opioids,” Hunter said.

The state urged Judge Thad Balkman, who presided over the civil trial for seven weeks, to find Johnson & Johnson liable for creating a “public nuisance” and force the company to pay more than $17 billion over 30 years to abate the public health crisis in the state.

“What we do have in Cleveland County is 135 prescription opioids for every adult,” Beckworth explained. “Those didn’t get here from drug cartels. They got here from one cartel: the pharmaceutical industry cartel. And the kingpin of it all is Johnson & Johnson.”

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The Healthcare Standard

Recursion Pharmaceuticals raises $121m to map how disease affects cells

Recursion Pharmaceuticals raises $121m to map how disease affects cells | Financial Times Recursion Pharmaceuticals, which uses artificial intelligence to try to discover drugs, has raised $121m in a round led by Baillie Gifford.

The Salt Lake City-based company is the latest drug discovery start-up to raise funds in the past year, as investors flock to the sector hoping that the costly and cumbersome process of finding a drug will be transformed by techniques such as machine learning and computer vision.

Unusually, Recursion is trying to make its own drugs for rare diseases, as well as partnering with large pharmaceutical companies Takeda and Sanofi on other rare diseases, and hoping to sign deals with pharma companies in areas such as oncology and inflammation.

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