Trending News Today: New Test Could Lower Hepatitis C Treatment Costs

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A recent study found that if a patient’s oncologist works for a health care system rather than their own practice, outpatient chemotherapy treatment costs are much higher, reported Kaiser Health News. Data from private health insurance claims and national data about consolidation among physicians and hospitals between 2008 and 2013 was gathered from the Health Care Cost Institute and analyzed. The results of the study showed that there was significant consolidation between outpatient oncology practices and health care systems in the decade leading up to 2013, which was linked to the rise in chemotherapy drug spending. For every 1% point increase in the proportion of medical providers affiliated with a health system or hospital, there was an association with a 34% increase in annual average spending per person on the outpatient cancer drug treatment.

By designing new tests that help physicians choose the right medication to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV), it could help cure patients faster while also reducing costs, The Washington Post reported. Recently, Quest Diagnostics, Inc has developed 2 new tests that can predict whether or not Zepatier and Daklinza would help fight a specific genotype of HCV or if the virus would be able to resist the drugs. The tests cost between $700 and $750 each, but is covered by most insurers and Quest offers some patients financial help. Additionally, more tests have been launched by Quest to determine whether or not 4 older medications would be right for patients.

Yesterday, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s supplemental biologics application for the expansion of Opdivo to treat patients with difficult to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma was accepted by the FDA. Bristol-Myers goal is for Opdivo to treat patients suffering from classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma, who have already tried several therapies, reported The Wall Street Journal.