What We're Reading: UnitedHealthcare Prefers Biosimilars; Migraine Coverage; Prostate Cancer Disparity

AJMC Staff

UnitedHealthcare Prefers Biosimilars in MA Plans

As part of CMS’ policy change that will allow Medicare Advantage plans to implement step therapy, UnitedHealthcare has announced it is listing 3 biosimilars as preferred drugs, according to The Center for Biosimilars®, a site from The American Journal of Managed Care®. Infliximab biosimilars Inflextra and Renflexis will be preferred over the reference, Remicade, and biosimilar epoetin alfa, sold as Retacrit, will be a preferred drug.

Express Scripts Will Cover 2 of 3 New Migraine Drugs

After price negotiations with Eli Lilly, Amgen, and Teva Pharmaceutical, Express Scripts has decided it will only cover Eli Lilly’s and Amgen’s migraine drugs. According to Reuters, the pharmacy benefit manager will limit the use of the migraine drugs to patients who are most likely to benefit. The 3 treatments work similarly, had similar success in reducing migraine frequency, and all have a list price of $575 a month. Amgen’s Aimovig was approved first in May 2018 and is listed as Express Scripts’ preferred treatment after patients try 2 older preventive therapies and triptan.

Black Men Underrepresented in Prostate Cancer Research

Despite the fact that black men are more likely to get and die from prostate cancer than white men, they are underrepresented in research because of distrust. NPR reported that focus groups of black men were unfamiliar with and less likely to pursue genomic testing, which could identify personalized approaches to monitoring and treating cancer. In general, the focus groups found a distrust in the healthcare system, stemming from ways African Americans have been treated by the medical system in the past.
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