This Week in Managed Care: June 11, 2016

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This week in managed care, the top stories included discussions on biomarkers and financial toxicity at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and a preview of the 76th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association.


Hello, I’m Justin Gallagher, associate publisher of The American Journal of Managed Care. Welcome to This Week in Managed Care, from the Managed Markets News Network.

Biomarkers at ASCO

The challenges of finding useful biomarkers to identify which patients will respond to checkpoint inhibitors, and the many new combinations of immunotherapy took center stage at the recent meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Scientists discussed the need for new biomarkers—which help prevent giving expensive therapy to the wrong patients. Their questions include:

  • How can researchers increase the number of next-generation checkpoint inhibitors?
  • How can they be used in combination with vaccines, radiation, and chemotherapy?
  • Should biomarkers be investigated beyond the PD-L1 expression?

Financial Toxicity

In addition to clinical breakthroughs, more and more time at ASCO is spent on the cost of cancer care. Dr Veena Shankaran, author of a recent article in Evidence-Based Oncology, led a panel that discussed the challenges of financial toxicity for patients. She said, “Financial toxicity is a constellation of symptoms. Patients face difficulty meeting household expenses; they face financial stress and strain, loss of employment and income, debt and bankruptcy.”

Value frameworks in cancer care are getting a lot of attention. But are payers using them? Dr. Michael Kolodziej of Aetna says the frameworks are still missing key elements that he says payers will need to find them useful. Watch the interview.

ADA 2016

This weekend, 16,000 scientists, diabetes educators, patients, and advocates will gather in New Orleans for the 76th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, which features a mix of clinical and technological developments.

Here are 5 things to look for at ADA:

  • Results from 2 cardiovascular outcomes trials: the LEADER study for liraglutide and the EMPA-REG study of empagliflozin
  • Technology updates, including progress toward the artificial pancreas
  • A session with young investigators will report on a new drug target for type 2 diabetes
  • Dr Frank Hu will discuss the controversy over the 2015 Dietary Guidelines
  • Dr Robert Gabbay of Joslin Diabetes Center will chair a session on paying for diabetes care

Sign up for coverage that will appear June 11-13.

New Podcast

Finally, this week AJMC launched its first podcast: Managed Care Cast. Our first program features faculty from our recent conference, Patient-Centered Diabetes Care. Listen to the podcast.

For all of us at the Managed Markets News Network, I’m Justin Gallagher. Thanks for joining us.