Beth Bontemps, Product Manager, Horizon Scanning and News Service

Recent Posts

Origins of Opioid Epidemic Linked to Weak Evidence

With the recent and controversial proposed changes to the American healthcare system looming large, one narrative has been at the forefront: how will these changes affect the battle being waged against the opioid addiction epidemic?

The statistics surrounding the widespread damage caused by opioid abuse and addiction are staggering. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM):

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Topics: Hayes Blog

On the Horizon: CAR T-Cell Therapy for Cancer Treatment

Traditional cancer treatments include procedures with which we’re all familiar: chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. But clinicians and scientists continue to work tirelessly to find a cure for the devastating disease. While immunotherapy has been in the news as of late as relates to the treatment of peanut allergies (see our blog, Peanut Allergy Drug Therapies Make National Headlines), there have been advances in its use for the treatment of cancer over the past few years. There are several biologic agents that are FDA approved for different cancers; these targeted therapies are aimed at destroying cancer cells without the troublesome side effects that accompany traditional cancer treatments.  

But there’s something new on the horizon from the world of immunotherapy.

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Topics: Health Technologies, Payers, Hospitals, Hayes Blog

Does Evidence Have a Role in Treating the Opioid Epidemic?

America has an opioid problem.

According to a 2016 report from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Of that number, 20,101 overdose deaths were related to prescription opioid pain relievers and 12,990 overdose deaths were related to heroin in 2015. In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids; 80% of new heroin users began by misusing prescription painkillers. 

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Topics: Health Technologies, Payers, Hospitals, Hayes Blog

FDA Approves New Treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disorder characterized by loss of motor neurons, leading to weakness and wasting of muscles used for activities such as crawling, walking, sitting up, and controlling head movement. In severe cases of SMA, the muscles used for breathing and swallowing are affected. This devastating disorder affects approximately 1 in 10,000 births and is the most common genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is caused by deletions or mutations in a gene that leads to a deficiency of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein; this protein is critical for the maintenance of motor neurons. The severity of SMA is directly related to the amount of SMN protein.

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Topics: Health Technologies, Payers, Hospitals, Government, Hayes Blog

510(k) vs PMA: Do you know the difference?

We’ve had recent questions regarding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process for new medical devices, so we felt it was time to revisit the topic. We realize that as both physicians and providers, the pressure can be great when both patients and clients come to you wanting information about the latest device reported on the news or Internet. The following is designed to give you an overview of the process to better inform those inevitable discussions.

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Topics: Hayes Blog, Devices

5 Health Technologies to Watch in 2017

As 2016 draws to a close, we here are keeping our eyes fixed on the future for you. Increasingly healthcare-savvy patients want their providers to be up to date on the latest health technology advances, no matter what their stage in the FDA approval process. And while both patients and physicians may want these new drugs, procedures, or devices, payers may be equally unaware of the safety, efficacy, or patient appropriateness of the technologies they’re being asked to cover, particularly when they’re new to market and the peer-reviewed, published evidence is scarce.

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Topics: Health Technologies, Payers, Hospitals, Hayes Blog, Healthcare Evidence, medical devices

Peanut Allergy Drug Therapies Make National Headlines

WBUR’s “Here and Now” this week featured an article regarding the use of immunotherapies to decrease allergic reactions, specifically to peanuts.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’re well aware of the significant health risks peanut allergies present to individuals. Symptoms run the spectrum from a runny nose and throat itchiness to full-blown anaphylaxis, which includes constriction of the airways, a severe drop in blood pressure (shock), and loss of consciousness. While the most common cause of a reaction is eating peanuts or food that contains them, they can also be triggered by skin contact, cross-contamination during food handling, and even inhalation of dusts or aerosols containing peanuts (Source: Mayoclinic.org). An allergic response to peanuts can occur in just minutes.

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Topics: Hayes Blog, Devices, Health Technology Assessments,, Consumers