Most-Read Articles From AJMC's Conference Coverage in 2015

December 30, 2015
Surabhi Dangi-Garimella, PhD
Surabhi Dangi-Garimella, PhD

Studies that provided updates on new drug trials, sessions on value-based care, and the cost of healthcare, were most popular among readers of The American Journal of Managed Care.

Studies that provided updates on new drug trials, sessions on value-based care, and the cost of healthcare, were most popular among readers of The American Journal of Managed Care.

10. Ketamine and More: What's the Status of Antidepressants?

According to Michael E. Thase, MD, professor of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, the antidepressant market has yet to find a good medication that is effective in all patients. Providing an overview of progress in the field of antidepressant therapy at the 28th US Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress in San Diego, he provided an update on the latest entrant to the list of drugs: ketamine. He warned the audience that although ketamine was shown to have dramatic improvements in patients with depression and bipolar disease, many unknowns remain.

9. Oncologist Highlights Primary Reasons for the High Cost of Cancer Care

At a meeting hosted by the Community Oncology Alliance (COA), “Community Oncology 2.0, Moving Forward on Payment Reform,” COA’s past president David Eagle, MD, partner at Lake Norman Oncology, discussed the key drivers of cost in cancer care. According to Eagle, the growing aging population, intense treatment, rising drug prices, and shift in the site of care, all significantly contribute to the rising costs.

8. Telehealth Offers Effective Way to Treat Veterans for PTSD

Presenters at the US Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress in San Diego, emphasized the value of telemedicine in allowing the Veterans Administration provide quality care to patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, without barriers of cost and geographic location. “There is some degree of a natural boundary created by doing telemedicine that may help some overcome an aversion to therapy,” said presenter Mark B. Hamner, MD, professor at the Medical University of South Carolina.

7. Two Diet Studies, Two Approaches to Finding Keys to Weight Loss, Reduced Risk Factors

During a session entitled, “Concepts in Nutrition and Diabetes Prevention and Treatment,” at the 75th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in Boston, back-to-back presentations offered 2 very different studies, each asking the question: which type of diet will not only help at-risk patients lose weight, but keep impaired glucose tolerance at bay? While 1 study found that preserving lean body mass was more important than overall weight loss, the other emphasized long-term metabolic control in type 2 diabetes patients.

6. Moving to the Future of Healthcare: Value-Based Models

During his keynote presentation at the Fall Managed Care Forum 2015, Jacque Sokolov, MD, chairman and CEO of SSB Solutions, assured the audience that the government leading the charge toward value-based care, everyone else will be forced to follow suit. Discussing shared-savings models, accountable care organizations, and the Medicare Advantage program, Sokolov provided a flavor for all the dynamic changes that healthcare is witnessing today.

5. ELIXA Trial Results Find No Cardiac Risk, Benefit for Lixisenatide

GLP-1 agonists present no risks or benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes who take lixisenatide, according to results presented at the 75th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association from over 6000 patients who were followed for 2 years for the ELIXA trial. However, Mark Pfeffer, MD, PhD, Dzau Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who presented the results, said, “You can never, never really have enough safety data.”

4. Key Specialty Pharmaceutical Market Trends

At the 27th annual meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy in San Diego, Aimee Tharaldson, PharmD, senior clinical consultant in emerging therapeutics at Express Scripts, highlighted specialty pharmaceuticals that are currently in development and expected to come to the market in the next few years. Her list included oncology agents, drugs for hepatitis C and agents that treat hypercholesterolemia.

3. Cholesterol-Fighting Drug Evolocumab Also Reduces Cardiovascular Events, Study Finds

With a raging battle over the development of PCSK9 inhibitors to treat familial hypercholesterolemia, everyone in the healthcare world had focused their attention on whether Amgen or Regeneron would hit the market first. At the American College of Cardiology meeting in San Diego, Amgen's PCSK9 inhibitor, evolocumab, was shown to reduce the likelihood that patients would suffer cardiovascular events.

2. Human Nature Limits Good Medication Adherence in Bipolar Patients, Jamison Says

Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, discussed the nuances of medication adherence in individuals with mental health disorders during the 28th US Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress, held in San Diego. “Our major clinical problem is not that we don’t have good treatment, the problem is that people with bipolar disorder don’t take the treatments,” Jamison said.

1. PROMISE Results Have Implications for Managed Care; May Change Guidelines and Put Pressure on Payers to Cover CTA

A study presented at the 64th Annual Scientific Session at the American College of Cardiology, held March 14-16, 2015, in San Diego, showed that patients who had computed tomography angiography (CTA) to evaluate their symptoms of heart disease fared just as well as patients who had functional testing for coronary artery disease. The results were simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the authors suggested an update to the clinical guidelines and insurance coverage for CTA.