Recently the FDA published the Q2 2017 version of Potential Signals of Serious Risks / New Safety Information as identified by the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS).
Last week we announced the addition of VigiBase global safety data to the Evidex platform. VigiBase is the unique global database of individual safety reports collected from over 110 countries by the World Health Organization. It totals over 15 million adverse event reports since 1968 and is administered by the Uppsala Monitoring Centre in Sweden.
This is an exciting development for our company, for our clients, and for the drug safety community at large.
Last month, FDA released their quarterly watch list of ongoing drug safety concerns. My colleague Jim wrote a blog post on some of the major talking points around the update, not on the drugs or the risks themselves, but general pharmacovigilance themes. Our post this week focuses on one of the risks that was specifically discussed by FDA on the SGLT-2 class of diabetes drugs. The SGLT-2's had triggered a safety signal for nephrolithiasis (aka kidney stones). Evidex RxSignal analysis had also predicted this safety signal for most of these SGLT-2 drugs, with many of the signals being triggered more than a year prior to this alert.
However, unlike the 12 other safety issues in this same alert, the FDA quickly determined that despite the safety signal shown in the postmarketing data, “no action is necessary at this time, based on available information”. In other words, the FDA does not believe that kidney stones should be disclosed as a risk to the labels of these medications.
Why did the FDA make this determination so quickly? What information did the FDA use?
Earlier this month FDA quietly published a quarterly update to their publicly available “watch list” of ongoing drug safety concerns. The updates are based on Q1 2017 FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) data. You can download a copy of our recent Evidex Alert, covering the new additions, clarifications, and “all clears” so I won’t get into the details in this post. However, it is worth noting that there were fourteen unique drugs, or in some cases entire classes of drugs, that were included in the update. Many of the drugs have been on market for quite a long time and otherwise would be considered to have a well established safety profile. For 8 of the 11 alerts that could be signaled for (3 of the alerts were AEs that were already labeled for), Advera Health’s RxSignal early warning system did its job and picked up on the signal. The remaining alerts either weren't on a RxSignal eligible adverse event, meaning it wasn't a serious event that the FDA typical takes action on, but there was noticable elevated reporting as defined by reporting odds ratios (ROR).
We're happy to have a guest writer on the RxView blog this week, Alan Lukazewski, RPh – Director of Clinical Pharmacy at WEA Trust.
WEA Trust is a not-for-profit health insurer serving Wisconsin public employers, their staffs and families. In my role as Director of Clinical Pharmacy, I manage pharmacy benefits for WEA Trust, including prior authorization management, clinical program design, and specialty pharmacy management. Within those areas, I focus attention on adverse drug event detection and prevention, especially in older adults.
Last year, we partnered with Advera Health on a unique project to determine whether we could use data from theFDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) to determine total medical costs for a particular class of medicines. Previously, Advera Health published a study detailing their methodology for calculating medical costs from FAERS data, but this would be the first study to pair FAERS data with specific claims data to determine downstream medical costs.
This week we launched Evidex Alerts, a new feature that provides our clients with real-time updates on the latest impactful drug safety news. This is a project that our development and analyst teams have worked on diligently for the last three months, and I am excited to announce that it became a reality this week.
As 2016 winds down, am I the only one who feels exhausted?
Between pharma-bro inspired drug pricing madness, a political season that felt like a Bravo reality TV show, and Leicester City robbing my beloved Tottenham Hotspur of their first shot at a Premiere League championship in a very long time, I think John Oliver summed up this year best in this video.
Healthcare systems are generally slow to adopt new technologies. For all the talk about leveraging “Big Data,” the industry has been even slower to adopt analytics to make those data actionable. In fact, not one state Medicaid agency currently uses an evidence aggregation platform with post-approval adverse drug events intelligence when creating preferred drug lists, writing prior authorization criteria, negotiating supplemental rebates, educating prescribers and dispensers, or performing prospective, concurrent, or retrospective drug utilization reviews. This is in spite of the fact that millions of patient lives are put at risk and billions of dollars are spent every year from adverse drug events. Yet there is no mandate to use readily available, reliable data to inform making decisions about prescription medicines.
Fortunately there are the outliers - innovators and early adopters that see things differently. They know that they can make a difference by incorporating new ideas and approaches to improve patient outcomes and their own bottom lines.
Product liability insurers protect pharmaceutical companies from legal actions associated with their drugs. They have a significant economic incentive to scientifically assess and understand the scope of litigation risk. Experienced underwriters use an evidence aggregation platform to better understand if a manufacturer’s drug is causing severe side effects that could lead to potential litigation. They also use an evidence aggregation platform to adopt and employ a simplified and unified process of assessing side effect risk with proven statistical measures via a simple interface that deploys in minutes.