Pharmaceuticals

Discovery, development, regulation and marketing of the medications that are used in health care and the economics of the pharmaceutical industry.

Ending the Opioid and Overdose Crisis

Mar. 30, 2021

The pandemic has worsened an existing drug overdose crisis that claimed the lives of more than 81,000 people in the U.S. from May 2019-June 2020. As the Biden-Harris administration firms up and implements its proposed response to the opioid epidemic, this brief provides evidence-based recommendations to consider.


We focus our recommendations on the evidence and our experience in three areas: reducing the demand for opioids through policies that increase access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services; reducing the harms from opioid use through strategies that reduce morbidity and mortality; and reducing the supply of opioids through opioid stewardship that limits prescribing by the medical community and promotes adequate pain management. We also address the accountability of the pharmaceutical industry in contributing to the crisis and recommend ways to target settlement funds for maximal impact on the communities most affected.

During COVID-19, FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Committee Has Worked To Boost Public Trust – It Can Still Do More

Mar. 3, 2021

[Original post: Ravi Gupta, Jason L. Schwartz, Joseph S. Ross, Genevieve Kanter, During COVID-19, FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Committee Has Worked To Boost Public Trust – It Can Still Do More, Health Affairs Blog, February 26, 2021. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20210225.712221/full/. Copyright ©2021 Health Affairs by Project HOPE – The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.]

Can New Technology Improve Medication Choices?

Feb. 23, 2021

Prescribing harmful combinations of drugs is an all-too-frequent occurrence, particularly in fragmented health care systems where a patient’s care is spread across multiple physicians and organizations. In a new analysis, my colleagues and I report on what happened to harmful prescribing when Finland implemented a new, nationwide e-prescribing system. We show that new information technology can have a substantial impact by improving information flows between different physicians involved in a patient’s care.

Regulating Prescription Drug Prices

Feb. 2, 2021

In the perennial debate over drug pricing, U.S. policymakers have proposed lowering domestic prices by tying them in some way to international prices. But policymakers seem less interested in understanding or adapting the regulatory frameworks that produce these lower prices in other countries.

Trends in Oral Anticoagulant Co-Prescription With Antiepileptic Drugs Among Adults With Epilepsy, 2010–2018

Allison Willis, MD
Dec. 1, 2020

Emily K. Acton, Michael A. Gelfand, Sean Hennessy, Sharon X. Xie, John R. Pollard, Scott E. Kasner, Allison W. Willis

Abstract [from journal]

Treatment considerations for epilepsy patients requiring anticoagulation are changing, and actual prescribing practices have not been characterized. We used the 2010-2018 Optum Clinformatics® Data Mart Database to estimate the annual prevalence and distinguish the patterns of oral anticoagulants (OACs) co-dispensed with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) among adults with epilepsy. Monotonic trends were assessed using the Spearman rank correlation coefficient (ρ). Multivariable logistic regression models were built to evaluate the

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Oral Anticoagulant Use in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation and Mitral Valve Repair

Nov. 24, 2020

Ashwin S. Nathan, Lin Yang, Zhi Geng, Elias J. DayoubSameed Ahmed M. Khatana, Paul N. Fiorilli, Howard C. Herrmann, Wilson Y. Szeto, Pavan Atluri, Michael A. Acker, Nimesh D. Desai, David S. Frankel, Francis E. Marchlinski, ...

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) who have undergone mitral valve repair are at risk for thromboembolic strokes. Prior to 2019, only vitamin K antagonists were recommended for patients with AF who had undergone mitral valve repair despite the introduction of direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) in 2010.

Objective: To characterize the use of anticoagulants in patients with AF who underwent surgical mitral valve repair (sMVR) or transcatheter mitral valve repair (tMVR).

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Using Clinical Trial Data to Estimate the Costs of Behavioral Interventions for Potential Adopters: A Guide for Trialists

Nov. 20, 2020

Louise B. Russell, Laurie A. Norton, David Pagnotti, Christianne Sevinc, Sophia Anderson, Darra Finnerty Bigelow, Lauren G. Iannotte, Michael Josephs, Ryan McGilloway, Iwan Barankay, Mary E. Putt, Peter P. ReeseDavid A. Asch, Lee R. Goldberg...

Abstract [from journal]

Behavioral interventions involving electronic devices, financial incentives, gamification, and specially trained staff to encourage healthy behaviors are becoming increasingly prevalent and important in health innovation and improvement efforts. Although considerations of cost are key to their wider adoption, cost information is lacking because the resources required cannot be costed using standard administrative billing data. Pragmatic clinical trials that test behavioral interventions are potentially the best and often only source

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Association of Retinal Vascular Occlusion With Women Filling a Prescription for Female Hormone Therapy

Brian L. Vanderbeek, MD, MPH
Nov. 12, 2020

Delu Song, Jennifer Nadelmann, Yinxi Yu, Brian L. VanderBeek

Abstract [from journal]

Importance: Oral contraceptives have been associated with cardiovascular disease, ischemic stroke, venous thromboembolic disease, and breast cancer. Retinal vascular occlusions share the same risk factors as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.

Objective: To determine whether filling a prescription of female hormone therapy (FHT) is associated with an increased risk of retinal artery occlusion (RAO) or retinal vein occlusions (RVO).

Design, setting, and participants: 

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Embedding A Linkage To Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Care Intervention In Social Network Strategy And Partner Notification Services: Results From A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Daniel Teixeira da Silva
Oct. 22, 2020

Daniel Teixeira da Silva, Alida Bouris, Arthi Ramachandran, Olivia Blocker, Billy Davis, James Harris, Maria Pyra, Laura K. Rusie, Russell Brewer, Jade Pagkas-Bather, Anna Hotton, Jessica P. Ridgway, Moira McNulty, Ramona Bhatia, John A. Schneider

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Increased pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake among Black men who have sex with men and Black transgender women (BMSM/TW) is needed to end the HIV epidemic. Embedding a brief intervention in network services that engage individuals in HIV transmission networks for HIV/STI testing may be an important strategy to accelerate PrEP uptake.

Setting: Partner Services PrEP (PS-PrEP) study is a pilot randomized control trial to improve linkage to PrEP care among BMSM/TW presenting for

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Association Between A National Insurer's Pay-For-Performance Program For Oncology And Changes In Prescribing Of Evidence-Based Cancer Drugs And Spending

Oct. 6, 2020

Justin E. BekelmanAtul Gupta, Ezra Fishman, David Debono, Michael J. Fisch, Ying Liu, Gosia Sylwestrzak, John Barron, Amol S. Navathe

Abstract [from journal]

Purpose: Cancer drug prescribing by medical oncologists accounts for the greatest variation in practice and the largest portion of spending on cancer care. We evaluated the association between a national commercial insurer's ongoing pay-for-performance (P4P) program for oncology and changes in the prescribing of evidence-based cancer drugs and spending.

Methods: We conducted an observational difference-in-differences study using administrative claims data covering 6.7% of US adults. We

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