27 Feb 2019

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Earns #1 Independent Specialty Pharmacy Ranking in Physician Satisfaction Survey

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy (BioPlus), one of the nation’s leading innovative specialty pharmacies, proudly announces a #1 ranking in oncology and top scores overall in the recent Specialty Pharmacy Physician Office Staff Satisfaction Survey conducted by Zitter Health Insights. The #1 ranking of BioPlus in oncology is related to meeting the top concern of office staff when it comes to getting their patients started on therapy quickly.

“I am proud to see this survey showing BioPlus as the leader in the oncology space, with a particular callout from office staff that we meet the need for quick therapy starts for patients. We also earned top marks for our customer service, as well as scoring the highest rating for supporting the prior authorization process,” notes Stephen Vogt, Pharm.D., President and CEO of BioPlus. “Providing best-in-class care to our patients can only happen when we partner and communicate with prescribers, which is what this survey reveals,” he adds.

This survey found that office staff highly value the fast prior authorization process at BioPlus. Office staff also took appreciative note of BioPlus’ procedures in determining co-pay coverage and processing prior authorizations for medical offices, as well as complimenting BioPlus on fast starts.

The quick prior authorizations at BioPlus are traced back to BioPlus’ 2-Hour Patient Acceptance Guarantee. This guarantee means that BioPlus starts and finishes the prior authorization process in a timely fashion, which is generally achieved on that same day. This quick turnaround, based on these survey results, is clearly appreciated by physician offices.

BioPlus held the highest ranking for customer service in the oncology space in this survey and is primarily recommended by oncology staff because of superior customer service when compared with other pharmacies.

The Specialty Pharmacy Physician Office Staff Satisfaction Survey conducted by Zitter Health Insights covered the second half of 2016 (10/24 – 12/5 2016) and was based on 2,201 physician office personnel from physician offices nationwide which encompassed 14 medical specialties.

About BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy is a leading independent, national specialty pharmacy and the first and only specialty pharmacy to offer a two-hour turnaround from referral to patient acceptance. Our company celebrates 27 years of innovative excellence in specialty pharmacy, working closely with payers and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as with prescribers to get prompt treatment for patients, and directly supporting our patients nationwide to achieve optimal health outcomes. We provide a complete range of specialty services, including for hepatitis C, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other complex, chronic conditions. BioPlus, a privately-held, pharmacist-owned company based in Altamonte Springs, Florida, is accredited by URAC, VIPPS, and ACHC with a Distinction in Oncology.

For information: https://bioplusrx.com or
Contact: info(at)bioplusrx(dot)com
Phone: 1-888-292-0744

19 Sep 2018

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Announces David DuRoss as Senior Vice President of Trade

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy (BioPlus), one of the nation’s leading innovative specialty pharmacies, is pleased to announce that David DuRoss is joining the company in the newly created position of Senior Vice President of Trade.

“The creation of this new position – but more importantly finding the right person for this job – will support ongoing and future growth at our specialty pharmacy,” shares Stephen Vogt, Pharm.D., CEO of BioPlus. “David is that right person and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.”

DuRoss comes to BioPlus with 24 years of experience in both the wholesale and specialty pharmacy industries. This prior expertise will dovetail with DuRoss’ new role as he supports BioPlus internally, as well as serving as a leader in sourcing, purchasing, and contracting pharmaceuticals. In addition, he will assist BioPlus’ Payer and Sales teams in working together on new business opportunities.

“I am thrilled to be joining such a well-respected specialty pharmacy as BioPlus, with its patient-centric focus,” says DuRoss, “and I am looking forward to helping expand our market penetration.”

About BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy is a leading independent, national specialty pharmacy and the first and only specialty pharmacy to offer a two-hour turnaround from referral to patient acceptance. Our company celebrates 29 years of innovative excellence in specialty pharmacy, working closely with payers and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as with prescribers to get prompt treatment for patients, and directly supporting our patients nationwide to achieve optimal health outcomes. We provide a complete range of specialty services, including for cancer, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, and other complex, chronic conditions. BioPlus, a privately-held, pharmacist-owned company based in Altamonte Springs, Florida, is accredited by URAC, VIPPS, and ACHC with a Distinction in Oncology.

For information: https://bioplusrx.com or
Contact: info(at)bioplusrx(dot)com
Phone: 1-888-292-0744

18 Sep 2018

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Announces New President: Mark Montgomery

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy (BioPlus), one of the nation’s leading innovative specialty pharmacies, announces today that Mark Montgomery has joined the company in the position of President. Stephen Vogt, Pharm.D., who previously held the dual position of both CEO and President, will continue in his role as CEO.

“Adding Mark as the new President of BioPlus comes at an exciting time for BioPlus as our company has been experiencing stellar growth and expansion within the specialty pharmacy field,” shares Dr. Vogt. “With his proven leadership in the industry, I’m confident that he’ll be instrumental in bringing our dynamic and growing company to yet another level in terms of our development and implementation of growth strategies at BioPlus.”

Montgomery brings 25 years of specialty pharmacy experience to BioPlus, as evidenced by earning a spot on Specialty Pharmacy Times’ Top 30 Influential Persons in Specialty Pharmacy in 2011 and being named a Healthcare Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 by Ernst & Young. “I have admired BioPlus for their patient-centric care and as a leading independent national specialty platform for the industry. I look forward to working with all of the great professionals BioPlus already has onboard,” says Montgomery.

Previously Montgomery built Axium Healthcare Pharmacy into a leading national specialty pharmacy and shepherded its successful sale in 2012 to the Kroger organization. He is also a founder and past board member of the National Association of Specialty Pharmacies.

About BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy is a leading independent, national specialty pharmacy and the first and only specialty pharmacy to offer a two-hour turnaround from referral to patient acceptance. Our company celebrates 29 years of innovative excellence in specialty pharmacy, working closely with payers and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as with prescribers to get prompt treatment for patients, and directly supporting our patients nationwide to achieve optimal health outcomes. We provide a complete range of specialty services, including for cancer, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, and other complex, chronic conditions. BioPlus, a privately-held, pharmacist-owned company based in Altamonte Springs, Florida, is accredited by URAC, VIPPS, and ACHC with a Distinction in Oncology.

For information: https://bioplusrx.com or
Contact: info(at)bioplusrx(dot)com
Phone: 1-888-292-0744

04 Sep 2018

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Earns Spot on Orlando Sentinel’s 2018 ‘Top 100 Companies’

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy (BioPlus), one of the nation’s leading innovative specialty pharmacies, proudly announces that our company earned placement on the Orlando Sentinel ‘Top 100 Companies’ list for 2018. This honor illustrates that BioPlus is one of the best places to work in Central Florida.

Over the past 29 years, BioPlus has brought an ethical approach to the work of a specialty pharmacy while specializing in oncology, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, dermatology, and multiple sclerosis, along with other conditions. BioPlus is known for our 2-Hour Patient Acceptance Guarantee: A promise that BioPlus will conduct a full benefits investigation and inform physicians within two hours whether they will be able to service a patient.

“Just as we are ‘all in’ for our patients, we do the same for our employees by offering a
diverse and enriching work environment, with many benefits and perks – from a strong retirement plan, employee quarterly bonuses, and paid time off to monthly employee recognition, award opportunities, socializing activities, such as food trucks at lunch time, holiday contests, charity projects, and career development support. In every way, BioPlus stands with their employees and it’s satisfying to see this recognized by being listed as a top workplace for employees from the Orlando Sentinel,” shares Bonnie Walsh, Director of Human Resources at BioPlus.

The Orlando Sentinel announced 2018’s Top 100 Companies at a luncheon August 10, 2018 in Orlando. BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy ranked as #19 in the mid-size division of this award.

“It’s exciting to see our list of accolades continue to expand, with this latest honor adding to our other recent recognitions, including spots on Inc. Magazine Top 5,000 award, numerous awards from Zitter Health Insights (such as being #1 in patient satisfaction in oncology and hepatitis C of independent specialty pharmacies in their latest survey), and receiving a Distinction in Oncology from the Accreditation Commission for Health Care,” Walsh adds.

About BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy is a leading independent, national specialty pharmacy and the first and only specialty pharmacy to offer a two-hour turnaround from referral to patient acceptance. Our company celebrates 29 years of innovative excellence in specialty pharmacy, working closely with payers and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as with prescribers to get prompt treatment for patients, and directly supporting our patients nationwide to achieve optimal health outcomes. We provide a complete range of specialty services, including for cancer, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, and other complex, chronic conditions. BioPlus, a privately-held, pharmacist-owned company based in Altamonte Springs, Florida, is accredited by URAC, VIPPS, and ACHC with a Distinction in Oncology.

For information: http://www.bioplusrx.com or
Contact: info(at)bioplusrx.com
Phone: 1-888-292-0744

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04 Sep 2018

Eat to Calm Psoriasis

Most people with psoriasis will have some degree of symptoms for life. But this doesn’t mean that improvement can’t happen. Medications help keep this skin disease under control and combining medication with certain dietary choices can also have a positive effect on both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (which is a joint condition related to the skin disease).

The Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation recently reviewed the current body of scientific research so they could share the latest understandings about how diet affects psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Their review included 55 studies – which covered more than 77,000 people both with and without psoriasis.

The biggest take-away from this National Psoriasis Foundation project relates to overweight or obese patients with psoriasis. It may not be the most popular news to hear, but the evidence shows that a low-calorie diet with the goal of losing weight leads to significant improvements in the severity of psoriasis symptoms, as well as (obviously) weight loss and an improved “dermatology quality of life.” Losing weight improves both skin and joint symptoms of psoriasis, which is why this dietary change earned the Medical Board’s strongest recommendation.

People with psoriasis are known to have a higher risk of also developing celiac disease, which is why gluten-free diets tend to be popular with psoriasis sufferers. According to this Medical Board, gluten-free diets have shown some benefit, but only in patients who test positive (based on a blood test) for gluten sensitivity. In these situations, a three-month trial of going gluten-free can make sense.

In terms of dietary supplements, the strongest evidence emerged for vitamin D supplements, but this recommendation was geared specifically to overweight/obese patients with psoriatic arthritis.

One final thing that’s important to keep in mind: all of these dietary changes are recommended to be done in combination with a medication plan of care – not in place of one.

Sources

Ford AR, Siegel M, Bagel J, et al. Dietary recommendations for adults with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis from the medical board of the National Psoriasis Foundation: A systemic review. JAMA Dermatol 2018;154(8):934-50.

04 Sep 2018

Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs. The Scale

Carrying around extra pounds can increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis – but the relationship between weight and this autoimmune disease actually isn’t as cut and dried as it first appears.

First, it should be acknowledged that as body fat and waist circumference goes up, so does the chance of rheumatoid arthritis. Upwards of two-thirds of people with rheumatoid arthritis are either overweight or obese. There is no getting around the fact that extra pounds are risky when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis development.

This obesity-RA relationship comes with a gender difference; specifically, the link shows stronger in women than in men. So for a woman at risk for rheumatoid arthritis down the road (due to family history, age, and/or smoking), losing weight can reduce the risk of disease development. Overall in the United States, the rates of obesity and rheumatoid arthritis continue to rise – which is certainly a public health concern.

Obesity creates several problems in rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Greater weight means more stress on disease-damaged joints.
  • Being overweight tends to make RA symptoms worse.
  • Medication might not work as well, particularly biologics and some DMARDs.

But this weight issue gets a little more interesting in people who already have rheumatoid arthritis. Being overweight helps in one way: higher weight links to a lower risk of mortality from rheumatoid arthritis. In other words, normal weight people die earlier from RA than those who carry extra pounds. This is known as the obesity paradox, in which being overweight correlates to living longer. Body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30 is the threshold where this benefit emerges in those with rheumatoid arthritis.

So what should patients take away from this? Maintaining a healthy BMI reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition there are benefits for achieving healthy weight in those with active RA, since medications tend to be more effective and the additional risk of osteoarthritis is lessened. Of course there are other health benefits of healthy BMI, such as heart health. Overall, the benefits of achieving a normal BMI continue to outweigh any negatives.

Sources

Linauskas A, Overvad K, Symmons D, et al. Body fat percentage, waist circumference and obesity as risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis – A Danish cohort study. Arth Care Res 2018 July 5 doi: 10.1002/acr.23694.

Dar L, Tiosano S, Watad A, et al. Are obesity and rheumatoid arthritis interrelated? Int J Clin Pract 2018;72(1). doi: 10.1111/ijcp.13045.

04 Sep 2018

The Latest Word in HCV Treatment

New guidelines for treating hepatitis C infections came out from the World Health Organization. These replace and update WHO’s 2016 recommendations. Certainly a lot has changed in just the past three years – all of it comes as great news for anyone carrying the hepatitis C virus (HCV).

The key take-away from these comprehensive new guidelines (all 108 pages of them!) center on one game-changing strong recommendation:

  • Hepatitis C treatment should be offered to all people age 12+ (except pregnant women) with chronic hepatitis C infection, regardless of their disease stage.

In other words, treatment should not be delayed until the disease causes more serious health consequences. Treat HCV early and treat everyone.

A second big change to HCV recommendations relates to selecting a treatment:

  • Direct-acting antivirals, which work on all six major genotypes of HCV, should be used.

Since these types of medications effectively treat all types of HCV, it is no longer necessary to spend time and money on genotyping the infection (which previously was used to select the best treatment). The new course of action sums up as: get tested and get treated with one of the new direct-acting antivirals that work on all major forms of HCV.

WHO set a goal to eliminate viral hepatitis by the year 2030. It’s a tall order, but one that would save millions of lives. To achieve this goal, 90% of people who are infected need to get diagnosed with this disease (you can’t treat it if you don’t know you have it!) and 80% of people with a diagnosis need to be treated. So let’s get to it!

Source

World Health Organization. Guidelines for the Care and Treatment of Persons Diagnosed with Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection. July 2018. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/273174/9789241550345-eng.pdf?ua=1

04 Sep 2018

Psoriasis: Can Sleep Troubles be a Red Flag?

The calling card of psoriasis is uncomfortable skin symptoms, such as red patches of dry, cracked skin. However, the more researchers look into this disease, the more they discover that psoriasis affects many different areas of the body, beyond the skin. Conversely, health conditions affecting non-skin parts of the body may also affect the risk of psoriasis.

Specifically, several preliminary studies have noted a connection between people who have sleep apnea and an increased risk of later developing psoriasis. This has the potential to affect many people, since 18 million Americans experience sleep apnea. The latest research reported on this connection, in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, noted that those with psoriasis are four times more likely to experience sleep apnea, than people without psoriasis.

The apnea-psoriasis connection is thought to trace back to inflammation as the common denominator. The current theory is that sleep apnea increases levels of certain cytokines (inflammatory proteins), which in turns ups the chances of psoriasis in those who are predisposed to this condition.

It’s good practice for health practitioners who treat psoriasis to screen patients for sleep apnea. It’s very common for a sleep partner to be the first to note sleep apnea symptoms, since it often causes chronic snoring and paused breathing followed by a gasp or choking sound. What is amazing about all of this latest research is that getting screened and treated for sleep apnea may indirectly serve as a way to manage (or even prevent) psoriatic disease. In the meantime, know that BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy is here to serve patients and their doctor offices with the latest information and medications for psoriasis treatment.

Sources

Gupta MA, Gupta AK. Psoriasis is associated with a higher prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome: A possible indication of autonomic activation in psoriasis. J Clin Sleep Med 2018;14(6): http://dx.doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.7194

Papadavid E, Dalamaga M, Vlami K, et al. Psoriasis is associated with risk of obstructive sleep apnea independently from metabolic parameters and other comorbidities: a large hospital-based case-control study. Sleep Breath 2017;21(4):949-958.

04 Sep 2018

Pregnancy and Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C and pregnancy have a complicated relationship. Pregnancy itself does not appear to worsen the course of hepatitis C infection and a woman should wait to be treated for the infection until after pregnancy. Of course, there is understandable concern of how a hepatitis C infection in a woman can affect her unborn child.

Ideally, any woman who has risk factors for hepatitis C infection (e.g., exposure to contaminated needles or injected drug use) would be screened for hepatitis C prior to or at least during the pregnancy. Many experts are now calling for universal screening of pregnant women, regardless of reported risk factors.

Overall, for every 100 pregnant women with hepatitis C, 6 of their babies will be born also infected with this disease. The chance that a pregnant woman will pass on the hepatitis C virus to her unborn child depends on how high the viral levels are in her body, along with whether or not she is also HIV-positive (which makes it more likely). In any event, a pregnant woman with hepatitis C should be under the care of a specialist who can keep a close eye on liver function tests throughout the pregnancy. And during the birth itself there are recommendations to minimize risk of vertical transmission, such as avoiding scalp monitors (which could cause bleeding). Interestingly, there is not a risk of transmission from breastfeeding.

After a baby is born to an infected mother, the child should be tested at the age of 18 months for hepatitis C. About 40% of exposed children will clear the virus on their own without treatment, while the rest will require medication to treat the hepatitis C infection. However, this treatment should not start until age 3 and there are now (fortunately) medications that can be used at these young ages. For the mother, she should be treated after —  not during – the pregnancy.

Sources

Dibba P, Cholankeril R, Li AA, et al. Hepatitis C in pregnancy. Diseases 2018;6(2):E31.

Cervino L, Hynicka LM. Direct-acting antivirals to prevent vertical transmission of viral hepatitis C: When is the optimal time to treat? Ann Pharmacother April 1, 2018 doi: 10.1177/1060028018772181

04 Sep 2018

Psoriatic Arthritis: Current Understandings

Doctors, as far back as the mid-19th century, noticed the connections between psoriasis and arthritis that occurred in some of their patients. However, this condition of “psoriatic arthritis” did not receive a clinical definition until the 1960s, when it was distinguished from rheumatoid arthritis.

Part of the difficulty with understanding psoriatic arthritis relates to a lack of specific biologic tests to diagnose this disease. Although it is known that psoriatic arthritis develops in about 5% of those with psoriasis, with the skin condition generally appearing before joint involvement.

Management of psoriatic arthritis often starts with NSAIDs and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), including methotrexate, sulfasalazine, cyclosporine, leflunomide, and biologic agents.

More recently, new and more effective biologics and small-molecular medications are becoming available which target specific cytokines and signaling pathways involved in this disease. This has meant a slowing of disease progression and improved quality of life for more patients than ever before. However, there remain at least 40% of patients who only have a partial response to current medications or no response at all.

This all serves to highlight that while much progress has been made with psoriatic arthritis, there is still a long way yet to go. Clinical trials are currently finding promising results with the medications tofacitinib, ixekizumab, and guselkumab. Hopefully more (and more effective) options will be available to psoriatic arthritis patients in the near future.

BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy has a team of pharmacists, patient care coordinators, and a financial assistance department who are all ready to help you with your doctor’s treatment plan. To access more helpful information about the chronic condition of psoriatic arthritis, check out BioPlus Health.

Sources

Veale DJ, Fearon U. The pathogenesis of psoriatic arthritis. Lancet June 2, 2018 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30830-4.

Psoriatic arthritis: classification and holistic management. Lancet June 2, 2018 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31249-2.