Article | September 26, 2023
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has become an increasingly serious global health problem in recent years. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant infections, and the number is expected to increase in the coming years.
How does antimicrobial resistance emerge?
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines. It makes infections harder to treat and increases the risk of disease, severe illness, and death. When we use antibiotics, some bacteria die, but resistant bacteria can survive and even multiply. The overuse of antibiotics and substandard antibiotics make resistant bacteria more common. So, the more we use antibiotics, the more chances bacteria have to become resistant to them.
The rise in AMR is caused by multiple factors including the misuse and overuse of antibiotics by humans as well as in livestock and agriculture. Although these are the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens, the emergence of substandard and falsified antibiotics is another lesser-known, huge contributory factor.
Even though AMR is a leading cause of death around the world, it is tracked most closely in clinical high-income settings and developed countries. Unfortunately, this is not the case in low and middle-income countries, where the highest burden is in low-resource settings and low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). These countries are disproportionately affected, in part due to the high burden of communicable diseases.
Consequences to human health of AMR
AMR poses significant risks to human health, resulting in prolonged and more severe infections, extended hospitalizations, and increased healthcare expenses. It can also lead to an increased risk of death, as an infection may become untreatable. Additionally, it can reduce the effectiveness of medicines and treatments, making it more difficult to manage existing medical conditions. It is even more concerning that it can lead to the emergence of new, more dangerous strains of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes.
This would mean medical procedures, such as surgery, including caesarean sections or hip replacements, cancer chemotherapy, and organ transplantation, will become riskier.
Counterfeit medicines and antibiotics:
Antibiotics are the most counterfeited medicines in the world, as they account for 28% of global counterfeit medicines. Substandard and falsified antibiotics are medicines that do not meet the quality standards set by regulatory authorities.
Counterfeit antibiotics are estimated at 5% of the global antibiotic market. These medicines are often of inferior quality or contain incorrect ingredients or incorrect amounts of active ingredients. They may also contain toxic contaminants or be expired, posing serious consequences for patients.
Sadly, counterfeit antibiotics are mostly found in LMICs due to a lack of regulation and enforcement, as well as a lack of access to quality healthcare. In many of these countries, the demand for antibiotics is higher than the supply, and counterfeit antibiotics are seen as a cheaper and more accessible alternative. Furthermore, there is a lack of awareness around the dangers of taking counterfeit antibiotics, and there is a lack of resources for health authorities to test for the authenticity of these medicines.
Why are antibiotics so rife for counterfeit drugs?
Counterfeiters of pharmaceuticals succeed in large part by exploiting weaknesses in supply chains, which are often fragmented with poor regulatory frameworks. Antibiotics are often counterfeited because they are in high demand and can be sold for a large profit.
To combat the problem of substandard and falsified antibiotics, governments must take a multi-pronged approach. This should encompass enacting laws and regulations to ensure the quality and safety of medicines, conducting surveillance for detecting and removing substandard and falsified products from the market, as well as providing training and education to healthcare professionals and patients regarding the responsible use of antibiotics.
In addition, governments must work to strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chain. This includes increasing the transparency of the supply chain, improving the quality control systems, and introducing traceability systems to track the movement of medicines from the manufacturer to the patient.
Medical investment in low and middle-income countries
Another neglected aspect by international NGOs and governments is investment in building local laboratory capacity in LMICs to combat antimicrobial resistance. Localized laboratory facilities can help identify, track, and prevent the spread of antimicrobial-resistant infections, as well as provide early warnings of emerging drug-resistant strains. Localized microbiology, surveillance, and quality control laboratories can also play an important role in developing new treatments and interventions for combating antimicrobial resistance. In addition, having localized laboratory capacity can provide more accurate standardized data on the prevalence of drug-resistant infections, which can help inform policy decisions and public health interventions.
Finally, governments must work to increase access to high-quality, affordable medicines. This includes improving the availability of generic medicines, which are typically cheaper alternatives to brand-name drugs. They also need to increase access to newer, more effective antibiotics.
Article | September 29, 2022
In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, transparency in pharmacy benefit management (PBM) has emerged as a critical issue. The discussion surrounding driving down prescription drug costs and increasing access to affordable medications has brought attention to the practices of PBMs. However, achieving true transparency requires more than just buzzwords; it necessitates access to real-time data that empowers consumers to make informed decisions about their healthcare. In this piece, we will explore the importance of real-time transparency in PBMs and highlight how Xevant, a leading platform, is revolutionizing the industry.
The Current State of PBM Legislation
With over 100 bills to reform PBM practices, legislative efforts are intensifying to address the business practices associated with PBMs. However, one common concern is the absence of language surrounding real-time automation in many of these bills. The lack of such provisions threatens to undermine the effectiveness of the proposed reforms. It is crucial to examine the available resources and insights to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issue. The current state of PBM legislation and the efforts to reform PBM practices highlight the pressing need for transparency and accountability in the pharmaceutical industry. PBMs play a critical role in the drug pricing ecosystem. Still, concerns about “traditional” PBM business practices, such as lack of transparency and opaque rebate systems, have raised questions about their impact on drug prices and patient access to affordable medications.
Xevant's Groundbreaking Solution
Xevant, led by CEO Brandon Newman, stands at the forefront of the drive for transparency in PBM practices. As the only platform capable of providing PBMs and consumers with real-time, automated, and completely transparent data from the entire pharmacy benefits ecosystem, Xevant is poised to revolutionize the industry against the backdrop of the political landscape.
The absence of language surrounding transparency and real-time automation in many proposed bills threatens the effectiveness of the reforms. Yet, innovative companies like Xevant are leading the charge for openness in PBM practices. Xevant's real-time data automation and optimization capabilities empower consumers with timely, comprehensive, and transparent information, enabling them to make informed decisions about their healthcare and potentially save money.
With the potential passage of these bills, the pharmaceutical industry could see a shift towards greater accountability, fairer pricing practices, and improved access to affordable medications. The reforms could also create a more level playing field for generic drug manufacturers, fostering competition and lowering prices.
Real-Time Data Automation and Optimization
Newman emphasizes that transparency cannot be achieved without access to real-time data automation and optimization. This real-time, customized data enables individuals to compare prices, explore alternatives, and understand the specific cost components related to their medications. By bringing together various parts of lowering drug costs, such as drug rebates, 340B contracts, sell-side discounts, copay assistance, and employer negotiations, Xevant offers a solution that empowers consumers with the information they need when required.
The Implications of Timely Access to Data
The scarcity of timely access to data among many traditional PBMs is a significant challenge in achieving transparency in the pharmaceutical industry. These PBMs typically collect data annually, which leaves a substantial margin of error and can result in millions of dollars lost from consumers' pockets. In contrast, Xevant's capabilities offer a game-changing solution.
With Xevant's platform, consumers gain immediate access to critical information regarding drug rebates, markups during spread pricing, competitive alternatives, and the vast landscape of the pharmaceutical ecosystem. Having these complete datasets available in real-time allows individuals to make informed decisions about their healthcare and potentially save lives. The significance of timely access to data cannot be overstated, as transparency becomes meaningful only when it happens in the present rather than months, or even a year, later than when the impact has already occurred.
Navigating Proposed Legislation and Questionable Business Practices
Another critical aspect of the PBM landscape that Xevant addresses is the moral implications associated with cost-sharing, clawbacks, spread pricing, and the pass-through of rebates. These practices have long been criticized for their opacity and their negative consequences on patients' access to affordable medications. Xevant's transparency-focused approach highlights these practices, allowing stakeholders to evaluate their ethical implications and work towards fairer alternatives.
Xevant recognizes that proposed legislation may have potential cracks that allow for slip-through and the continuation of questionable business practices. Delayed and inaccurate reporting are loopholes that can hinder the effectiveness of reform efforts. By actively engaging with legislators and industry stakeholders, Xevant aims to identify these potential shortcomings and advocate for comprehensive robust legislation that leaves no room forexploitation.
The Future of Healthcare and the Role of Real-Time Automation
As the discussion surrounding PBM reform gains momentum, the future of healthcare in America hangs in the balance. Xevant sets a new standard for efficiency and consumer empowerment in healthcare decision-making by employing AI-driven technology. Xevant's visionary approach to real-time data automation and optimization paves the way for greater transparency and cost savings in the pharmaceutical industry.
Transparency in pharmacy benefit management is crucial to addressing the soaring costs of prescription drugs and enhancing access to affordable medications. Without access to real-time data and automation, the pursuit of transparency remains elusive. Xevant's groundbreaking platform solves this pressing challenge, enabling PBMs and consumers to access complete, transparent data in real-time.
As legislative efforts progress, the need for real-time transparency becomes increasingly evident, and Xevant emerges as the leading legal solution for PBMs. When harnessing the power of real-time data automation, the vision of affordable healthcare can be transformed into a reality, benefiting individuals and the entire healthcare ecosystem.
Article | August 9, 2022
Painkillers like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin, have been prescribed by primary physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other healthcare providers to patients suffering from varying levels of pain. Though these medications have proven to be an effective source of pain relief, they have also proven to be highly addictive. In fact, it has even been reported that there are more cases of a drug overdose and deaths from prescription painkillers than heroin or cocaine. While there are a number of factors that play into this opioid epidemic, educating doctors and patients on alternative solutions to managing chronic pain is a great place to start combatting this nationwide crisis.
Article | February 17, 2020
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