The Daily Rise: Tuesday, April 12

Know The ABC’s of Melanoma: Early Warning Signs of Moles

As part of our partnership with the online cancer portal CancerConnect.com and the nationwide print publication, WOMEN, we’re pleased to share our “Sun Safety Playbook.”  One out of five Americans will get skin cancer.

To help educate patients about the early warning signs, we’re reminding patients if any mole shows signs of one of the following, it should be examined promptly:

  • Asymmetry When half of the more or lesion does not match the other
  • Border Irregular, scalloped or poorly defined, uneven edges.
  • Color Varied from one area to another; shades of tan and brown, black; sometimes white, red or blue.
  • Diameter Larger than 6mm as a rule (diameter of a pencil eraser)
  • Evolution/ Elevated Melanomas usually change in size, shape, or color over a short period of time. Ordinary moles stay the same size, shape, and color for many years.

How can you protect yourself? Check out the entire piece only at the magazine WOMEN.

Biosimilars Are Here

Business Insider’s Lydia Ramsey writes that biosimilars are poised to create an “entirely new ecosystem” of treatments. Unlike chemical-based drugs like antibiotics or birth-control pills, biologic drugs, which are made of living cells, “haven’t faced competition once they lose patent protection.”

That’s changing with the introduction of biosimilars, which use products that are “highly similar to an FDA-approved biological product,” and have “no clinically meaningful differences in terms of safety and effectiveness.” Last week, the FDA approved the biosimilar, Inflectra, which is similar to a drug used to treat Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

“Having more biosimilars in the US will be a big deal: It might be the best way to drive down the cost of biologic medications that have been around for a while,” Ramsey writes. “The savings of putting people on far less costly biosimilars — even just new patients who have never taken the original — are estimated to be billions of dollars.”

Competition lowers costs and drives innovation.

Congress Considers More Research Funding

Michael Collins of The Commercial Appeal reports that the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is working to pass a major medical innovation package that could deliver more funding for research.

Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander is optimistic that 19 bipartisan proposals designed to “speed up the approval of drugs and medical devices and boost funding for medical research into treatments” can be combined into one bill that will also increase funding for the National Institutes of Health.

“I will probably never have a chance to work (again) on something this important as a U.S. senator,” Alexander said. “There has never been a more remarkable time in biomedical research. The reason the bill is so important is it has the promise of improving the health and quality of life of virtually every American by moving new treatments and devices through the investment and regulatory process more rapidly and accelerating research at National Institutes of Health.”

Medicare Changes Hurt Patients

News outlets report that doctors are wading into the fight over changes to Medicare that would hurt patients’ access to life-saving treatments.

Under the new formula, Medicare would reduce the reimbursement rate for certain treatments. Another planned Medicare pricing experiment would “link what Medicare pays for a given drug to how well it works.”

Patient advocates are rightly concerned that “cancer patients will be forced to go to outpatient hospital clinics instead of their local cancer doctor for the latest and most effective drugs.” Thankfully, the nation’s oncologists are standing up for patients’ access to life-saving treatments.

“It is remarkably insulting that some people today think that cancer physicians in large numbers are saying, ‘What’s the most expensive way I can treat this patient?'” Dr. Allen Lichter, CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which represents some 20,000 U.S. cancer specialists, told the Associated Press.

He added: “It will severely damage oncology practices across the country, and it will not solve what we have long recognized is a serious problem, that cancer drug prices are skyrocketing.”

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