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New Initiative Seeks To Raise Biosimilar Awareness, Access

The Biosimilars Forum is launching a new biosimilars education initiative. The Partnership for Biosimilars Education and Access will focus on raising awareness and encouraging access to biosimilars in the United States. The Forum released two free educational guides that provide background, insights, FAQs, and resources on biosimilars as part of the new initiative.

“The introduction of biosimilars is anticipated to help drive lower cost burdens for the US health care system. It will also help expand earlier, more consistent access to these important medicines for patients with cancer, anemia, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel diseases,” says Juliana Reed, president of the Biosimilars Forum, in a news release.

The FDA approved the first biosimilar in 2015, and more than 50 biosimilars are in development in the US.

The Biosimilars Forum encourages organizations that wishing to collaborate with them on the Partnership for Biosimilars Education and Access initiative to contact or reach out via Twitter @USbiosimilars.

WHO: Improved Access to Psoriasis Treatments Needed

Policy makers, physicians, and patients must come together to turn the corner on psoriasis, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new Global Report on Psoriasis.

In 2014, the WHO Member States recognized psoriasis as a serious non-communicable disease. A byproduct of this resolution, the new report calls for the development of guidelines, improved access to affordable treatments possibly including biosimilars and better studies on the link between psoriasis and cardiovascular disease.

“There is a great need to develop guidelines regarding the diagnosis of psoriasis and its treatment,” the new report states. “Furthermore, certain standards relating to medical care such as adequate assessment of progress of therapy, using uniform tools to assess the severity of the disease and patient quality of life should be implemented.”

Psoriasis patients should have access to comprehensive, individually adapted treatment, the report states. “At a minimum, public and private facilities should provide the drugs included on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines including systemic therapies. Universal health coverage schemes should cover the costs of these treatments. For newer biological therapies, more needs to be done to reduce the price of these medicines if they are to present a sustainable and affordable treatment option for patients with psoriasis.”

The development, approval and availability of biosimilars may drive costs down, the report authors note.

There is some debate about whether psoriasis is on the rise, the report states. “However, an apparent upward trend is observed in several countries. The prevalence of psoriasis in China in 1984 was 0.17 percent, while 25 years later, another study found it to be 0.59 percent. The prevalence in Spain in 1998 was 1.43 percent, while 15 years later it was reported as 2.31 percent,” the report states. Data on the prevalence in the United States from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicated an increase in prevalence from 1.62 percent to 3.10 percent from 2004 to 2010.” However, different methodologies were used to conduct these trials, which makes it hard to draw any conclusions.

Additionally, prospective, controlled studies are needed to further clarify the association between psoriasis and cardiovascular disorders on a pathogenic level and to substantiate the beneficial effect of treatment for skin/joints and associated disorders, “In clinical research, there is a need for comparative effectiveness research in order to identify the benefits and efficiency of treatments.”

AMA Continues Efforts to Improve Electronic Health Records

The American Medical Association (AMA) has pledged to work with the Department of Health & Human Services to improve the flow of electronic health information to patients and physicians to increase data sharing that will achieve healthier people and smarter spending.

The lack of seamless data exchange continues to drag down physician efficiency and patient satisfaction when using these tools and improving electronic health records (EHRs) will require a concerted effort of public and private stakeholders. The AMA strongly supports the building blocks of EHR interoperability: 1) Improved Consumer Access 2) No Information Blocking 3) The Use of Nationally Recognized Interoperability Standards.

The majority of hospitals and physicians already use certified electronic health records, yet for many, the true utility of these products is still elusive. The AMA is encouraged by the number of health IT vendors that support this pledge, and we look forward to working with them to improve EHRs going forward.

The AMA partnered with RAND on a prominent study that found cumbersome EHR systems are taking a toll on physicians who feel increasingly demoralized by technology that interferes with their ability to provide first-rate medical care to their patients. Also, to leverage the power of EHRs for enhancing patient care, improving productivity, and reducing administrative costs, the AMA has outlined a framework of eight priorities for improving EHR usability. The AMA has also issued a blueprint for the future of the Meaningful Use program with recommendations to improve EHR functionality.

AAD Installs New Officers and Board Members

New officers and members of its board of directors took office at the conclusion of the American Academy of Dermatology’s 74th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

Watch it Now


When plans to move to ICD-10 were first announced, pro- viders expressed concerns about potential logistical concerns with the new coding system. However, now that the new system is in regular use, Leon Kircik, MD said health claim denial rates have been lower than expected and the transi- tion has been smoother than anticipated.

Watch the video now. Visit Search key: ICD-10

Abel Torres, MD, JD, FAAD, begins a one-year term as president, and Kenneth J. Tomecki, MD, FAAD, begins a one-year term as vice president of the AAD.

Dr. Torres, MD, JD, FAAD, a Cleveland-based dermatologist and lawyer, was elected president. Dr. Torres is a professor and chairman of the department of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University MetroHealth Systems in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also a professor and chairman of the department of dermatology at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, CA and an associate professor of public health at Loma Linda University. He received his JD degree from the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and he is a member of the California Bar. Dr. Torres is a member of the AAD’s board of directors and past treasurer for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Dr. Tomecki, MD, FAAD, a Brooklyn native and graduate of Columbia College Physicians and Surgeons, was elected vice president. He is a clinical staff physician in the department of dermatology at the Cleveland Clinic. He is a board member of the International Society of Dermatology, a member of the Academy’s board of directors and executive committee, and a past secretary and trustee of the Ohio Derm Association.

Erin E. Boh, MD, PhD, FAAD, Kimberly J. Butterwick, MD, FAAD, Neil S. Sadick, MD, FAAD, and Linda Stein Gold, MD, FAAD, enter four-year terms as members of the board of directors of the AAD.

Henry Lim, MD, chair of the Department of Dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital is now the president-elect of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). n

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