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What We're Reading: VA Failed Veterans With Brain Trauma


What We’re Reading, July 13, 2016: Humira faces competition from a biosimilar; Washington, DC, campaigns to raise awareness on anti-HIV PrEP pills; and veterans may have been incorrectly diagnosed for traumatic brain injury...or not.

Washington, DC, is launching a campaign to raise awareness around PrEP (preexposure prophylaxis)—an antiretroviral tablet recommended for daily use to prevent infection. The CDC has recommended the use of oral PrEP to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV infection in adults. The once-a-day PrEP pill has been demonstrated to cut the risk of HIV transmission by at least 90%. But awareness about this regimen is low. Hence the campaign. Public health officials in DC hope to increase awareness and use of the drug through public advertisements, with the hope that prevention could help save lives and healthcare costs.

Another biosimilar might enter the market soon, the first in the non-oncology space. An advisory panel to the FDA voted unanimously that Amgen’s ABP 501 is similar in safety and efficacy to the innovator product adalimumab (Humira), AbbVie’s blockbuster agent developed to treat rheumatoid arthritis and plaque psoriasis. According to Reuters, AbbVie is preventing market access to the biosimilar, claiming patent rights. Humira crossed $8 million in sales in 2015.

Between 2007 and 2015, unqualified personnel were assigned the task of evaluating veterans for traumatic brain injury sustained when in service. The evaluation was then used as a basis for disability compensation. STAT News is reporting that an internal review by the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that a number of these evaluations were not conducted by a neurologist, psychiatrist, physiatrist, or neurosurgeon. A House committee is scheduled to hear testimony about the case today.

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