CRA President, Dr. Samy Metyas, was recently featured in an opinion editorial published by Capitol Weekly voicing support for AB 347, a bill introduced by Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula which will enact a standardization of exceptions when an insurer utilizes step therapy. The bill does not seek to eliminate step therapy but will ensure that doctors and their staff are not playing a guessing game as to what exceptions will be granted by the insurer and when patients might have access to the medication their doctor prescribed.
On December 14th, Abbvie announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved RINVOQ® (upadacitinib; 15 mg, once daily) for the treatment of adults with active psoriatic arthritis (PsA) who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to one or more tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers.1
Click the link for more information.
On October 15, Boehringer Ingelheim announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Cyltezo® (adalimumab-adbm) as the first Interchangeable biosimilar with Humira® (adalimumab). The FDA originally approved Cyltezo® in 2017 for the treatment of multiple chronic inflammatory diseases and this latest approval designates it as Interchangeable across all of these indications.
Cyltezo will not be available commercially in the US until July 2023. For more info, click the link below.
These last few weeks, CRA has been working tirelessly to follow-up with and verify the details of Anthem’s specialty pharmacy policy that will be implemented for PPO and EPO subscribers effective December 1, 2020. We are happy to report that we received the following email from April Barber, Regional Vice President, Provider Solutions at Anthem that clarifies who will be impacted by this mandate:
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me regarding Anthem’s new requirement to obtain certain drugs from CVS Specialty Pharmacy. I am hoping to clarify the scope and objective of this initiative and if your practice is impacted.
In order to address the rising cost of specialty drug prices, Anthem Blue Cross is requiring certain specialty drugs to be obtained from designated specialty pharmacy providers. For select specialty drugs administered in a physician’s office or outpatient setting, providers are required to acquire specialty medications from CVS Specialty Pharmacy if they are not participating in the designated specialty pharmacy network. Practices and facilities can join the designated SRx network if they meet network terms and conditions, including ASP price threshold.
On September 1, 2020, Anthem Blue Cross notified practices [with patients in Anthem commercial EPO and PPO plans] that are impacted by this initiative of this new requirement who did not meet the terms to participate in the designated SRx network. If you did not receive this letter, your practice can continue to administer and bill drugs per your standard processes.
If your practice received a letter indicating you must acquire specialty drugs through the Designated SRx Network, please contact your contracting representative regarding the terms and conditions required to be eligible.
We apologize for the confusion and frustration the information you received about this initiative may have caused. If you would like to confirm if your practice is included in the designated SRx network, or if you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact April Barber, Regional Vice President, Provider Solutions, at April.Barber@Anthem.com. Thank you again for contacting us.
On behalf of the CRA Board of Directors, I want to thank and applaud our membership for mobilizing and taking action to communicate our concern for our patients to Anthem Blue Cross. We are gratified to know that our PPO and EPO patients will have access to their treatment and care in our offices without change.
CRA Issues Letters to California Business Advocacy Organizations Warning Them of Consequences of Anthem Blue Cross Mandate
This week, the CRA issued letters to the following business advocacy organizations outlining the impact to businesses and employees if the Anthem policy goes into effect on December 1, 2020:
- California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber)
- California Federation of Business & Professional Women
- California Small Business Association
- California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
If you have any questions about how this new policy will affect your patients, please contact us at email@example.com.