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UNC Pharmacy

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Jul 11, 16

Spending on high-price specialty drugs has risen dramatically in the past thirteen years, according to new research from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Stacie Dusetzina is an assistant professor of pharmacy and public health at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. She analyzed data from a national prescription database to chart trends for drugs costing $600 or more per month. She found that despite accounting for just two percent of all drugs prescribed, health care spending for specialty drugs rose from 11 percent to 43 percent since 2003.

Jul 07, 16

Specialty drugs needed by only a handful of people are taking up an ever-larger proportion of the total spent on medicine in the United States. Pharmaceutical companies are relying more and more for the most sick for profits.

Very expensive, specialty drugs are taking up a larger proportion of the total spend on medicines in the United States, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina. U.S. pharmaceutical companies appear to be relying on rare drugs that treat just a few people to boost profits.

Jul 07, 16

Specialty drugs are a relatively small part of total prescriptions filled at the pharmacy, but they are a dramatically increasing part of total prescription spending. A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reveals that just 1.8 percent of drugs make up 43.2 percent of spending in 2014.

The work, led by Stacie Dusetzina, an assistant professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Gillings School of Global Public Health, shows a dramatic increase from 2003, when specialty drugs accounted for just 11 percent of the money spent by commercial health plans on prescription drugs obtained at pharmacies.

Jul 07, 16

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- A new report shows the cost of so-called "specialty drugs" spiraling and out-of-pocket costs for those drugs nearly doubling over the past 10 years.

Stacie Dusetzina, an assistant professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, who led the study said the high prices likely mean people are not getting the medication they need.

"Patients paying more out-of-pocket tend to stop taking them or be less adherent to the schedule they need to be on," Dusetzina said. "We also know some patients are likely to leave the pharmacy without pickup up their medication because they can't afford to pay for it."

Jul 07, 16

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The latest study of medicine prices finds U.S. insurers' spending on expensive prescription drugs nearly quadrupled from 2003 through 2014, when the number of such prescriptions filled tripled.

Researcher Stacie Dusetzina, an assistant professor of pharmacy and public health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, found patients' out-of-pocket costs for pricey drugs climbed 46 percent over that period.

"This may be a foreshadowing for what's next," she said. "There's a lot of new, very-high-priced treatments that are getting ready to emerge on the market . which would really increase spending."

Jun 15, 16

Researchers at UNC are looking at new ways to deliver cancer drugs. Elena Batrakova, who works at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC, is studying the delivery of chemotherapy using particles produced by white blood cells. The particles, called Exosomes, can deliver the chemo directly to the cancer cells.

“They found only the cancer cells,” Batrakova said. “They don’t target the healthy normal tissues.”

And it’s 50 times less drug than normal formulations, making the chemo less toxic to patients. Thus, fewer side effects.

Jun 15, 16

A few drops here, a few drops there, and all of a sudden it adds up to $2,300 per year in waste.

No, this doesn’t refer to the drops of gasoline that drip on the ground at a pump – though it might feel that way sometimes. This latest research from UNC-Chapel Hill and RTI International refers to injectable medication that stays behind in a syringe and then discarded.

Jun 09, 16

Starting Monday, high school students from the Triangle area will fill the labs at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy as part of its new Young Innovators Program. During the summer, the student interns will participate in laboratory research projects, attend professional development panels, tour biotechs and clinics at UNC Hospitals and perform problem-solving activities. Each student will be assigned to a professor and work in his or her lab. They also receive a Pharm.D. student, or a graduate student in the pharmacy school, as a clinical mentor. At the end of the summer, they will give presentations outlining what they did and learned.

Jun 01, 16

Neurosurgeons who treat patients with aggressive brain cancer say there have been few major advances in treating the deadly tumors, but now researchers at the University of North Carolina may be on the brink of a breakthrough.

In his lab at UNC’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Assistant Professor Shawn Hingtgen works to revolutionize the treatment of brain cancer.

“We think the cure would actually come from a stem cell,” he said.

May 30, 16

Cancer drug costs are soaring -- could one of these solutions keep these drugs affordable for the average American?

A recently published study in JAMA Oncology from Stacie Dusetzina, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina's Eshelman School of Pharmacy and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, showed that orally administered cancer drugs have catapulted higher in price by 506% between 2000 and 2014. Dusetzina's research showed an average monthly price for oral cancer drugs of $1,869 in 2000, or about $22,400 a year. By 2014, this had soared to $11,325 a month, or $135,900 per year. We need only take a look at the recently approved future backbones of cancer treatment, cancer immunotherapies, for confirmation of this. Merck's Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo price out at $150,000 and $143,000 annually at the wholesale level.

May 03, 16

The cost of new oral cancer medicines is rising no matter how you slice it.

Drug makers also argue that high prices for such treatments are justified since the patient populations can be relatively small. Instead, costs keep rising even as additional regulatory approvals widen the number of patients who can be treated, said Stacie Dusetzina, the JAMA Oncology author and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who specializes in pharmaceutical outcomes..

May 02, 16

The $10,000-a-month cancer drug has become the new normal, to the dismay of physicians and patients who increasingly face the burden of financial toxicity. A pair of new studies illustrates just how recently that pricing model has come into vogue and pulls back the curtain on the strange market forces that push prices steadily higher in the years after the treatments are launched.

"When the pharmaceutical industry makes comments about setting the price high for a small patient population, that argument seems logically sound, because we recognize there’s a large amount of financial investment into drugs," said Stacie Dusetzina, a health services researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. To see the price rising when drugs gain other approvals runs counter to that line of reasoning.

"Those arguments are not the basis on which the industry is arguing about the initial pricing," Dusetzina said. "They’re increasing the price as the patient population grows, because I think they’re profit-maximizing first."

May 02, 16

The cost of new cancer drugs that can be taken in pill form has risen dramatically, raising questions about the system of pricing new drugs, according to a study in JAMA Oncology.

The study found that orally administered cancer drugs launched in 2000 cost an average of $1,869 per month; those approved in 2014 cost an average of $11,325 per month.

"The major trend here is that these products are just getting more expensive over time," said Stacie Dusetzina, author of the study and an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

May 02, 16

A new study has showed that new cancer drugs, available in pill form, are six times more expensive compared with drugs launched 15 years ago.

“Patients are increasingly taking on the burden of paying for these high-cost specialty drugs as plans move toward use of higher deductibles and co-insurance – where a patient will pay a percentage of the drug cost rather than a flat copay,” said a study author, Dr. Stacie Dusetzina from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an assistant professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

May 02, 16

A new research has revealed that since 2000, cancer has become one of the costliest and the most perilous illness to treat. The price of cancer medication has increased considerably and cancer drugs have become costlier in comparison to the medications that were used for treatment 15 years ago.

"Patients are increasingly taking on the burden of paying for these high-cost specialty drugs as plans move toward use of higher deductibles and co-insurance - where a patient will pay a percentage of the drug cost rather than a flat copay," said a study author, Dr. Stacie Dusetzina from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an assistant professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

May 02, 16

Meanwhile, a novel compound had shown promise in preclinical studies as a treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, more than doubling median days of survival even in a drug-resistant form of the disease, according to University of North Carolina Health Care System.

According to researchers at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center in Atlanta, Emory University School of Medicine, and at other institutions MRX-2843 blocked the growth of acute myeloid leukemia cells, led to a significant level of cancer cell death and more than doubled the median days of survival in laboratory models with a drug-resistant form of the disease.

Apr 29, 16

As rising drug costs have become a topic of intense debate, a new review finds a significant increase for some cancer drugs. The cost of certain oral medications for cancer treatment have increased multiple-fold since 2000, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"The major trend here is that these products are just getting more expensive over time," study author Stacie Dusetzina, of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and an assistant professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, said in a statement today.

Apr 13, 16

The advent of targeted drugs for a specific type of breast cancer - HER2 positive - has dramatically improved survival rates for women with the disease. But a study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center reveals low rates of use of a targeted drug among older women with early-stage breast cancer of this type, and even lower rates for older black women.

Apr 05, 16

It earned the number one ranking in the 2017 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools.

Apr 05, 16

UNC-Chapel Hill had a “We’re No. 1!” party Wednesday, but it had nothing to do with basketball.

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