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Amgen Foundation Expands the Amgen Biotech Experience

The Amgen Foundation is expanding the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) to reach nearly 900,000 high school students by 2020. The program will launch in nine new markets: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, Netherlands, and Singapore. The program will continue in key markets in the United States, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, and Ireland.

The foundation will invest an additional $10.5 million to engage almost 300,000 students over the next three years, adding to the 600,000 students who have already participated in ABE. The Amgen Foundation’s total past and current commitment to ABE now reaches more than $25 million, bringing the foundation’s total commitment to STEM education to more than $125 million globally.

NORD Honors Those Making a Difference

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has honored the people, organizations, and innovators who have received the organization’s 2017 Rare Impact Awards, which celebrate those who are leading efforts to make a difference for people living with rare diseases.

The 2017 honorees include patients Ellie McGinn, Christine Grube, and Brandon Hudgins; caregiver and White House Precision Medicine Initiative appointee Matthew Might, Ph.D.; patient and advocate Beth Nguyen, R.N.; researchers and clinicians Robert Desnick, Ph.D., M.D., Frederick Kaplan, M.D., and Cynthia Tifft, M.D., Ph.D.; national health leaders Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA); A Twist of Fate — ATS, a nonprofit patient organization serving the Arterial Tortuosity Syndrome community; and industry innovators Advanced Accelerator Applications USA, Biogen, CSL Behring, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, and Sarepta Therapeutics.

Specialty Drug Prices Increase for Older Americans

Retail prices for specialty prescription drugs widely used by older Americans ballooned by an average of 9.6% between 2014 and 2015, the highest increase since at least 2006, while retail prices for some generic drugs saw more mixed results, with 11% showing price increases, according to two new AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) reports. While generic drug prices decreased overall in 2015, 11% of generic drugs saw price increases, some exceeding 100%.

Pharma’s Hurricane Help

Abbott and the Abbott Fund is providing $900,000 in grants to the American Red Cross, Americares and Direct Relief. Abbott is donating $100,000 in healthcare and nutrition products to relief organizations for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

AbbVie medicines were pre-positioned in 11 clinics in the affected area through partner Direct Relief International prior to Hurricane Harvey’s landfall. Additionally, the AbbVie Foundation has committed $1 million in grant funding for organizations including American Red Cross, Americares, Direct Relief International, Feeding America, Heart to Heart International and Texas Children’s Hospital. AbbVie is matching employee donations made to many relief organizations.

The Allergan Foundation donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, as well as $150,000 to the American Red Cross for those in Florida and the Caribbean impacted by Hurricane Irma.

The Amgen Foundation has donated $80,000 to Direct Relief International to support their work assisting community health centers devastated by recent flooding, and $20,000 to the American Kidney Fund’s Disaster Relief Program to assist dialysis patients affected by Hurricane Harvey.

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals $100,000 contribution to Americares in support of their efforts specific to Hurricane Harvey and the Gulf Coast, as well as matching employee contributions.

Bayer is committing $200,000 to relief efforts. It will send half the amount to the American Red Cross and the other half to Direct Relief for Hurricane Harvey.

Biogen Foundation matched employee contribution of $50 or more to the American Red Cross. The Biogen Foundation contributed $3 for every $1 donated.

Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation donated more than $125,000 to Americares and Direct Relief International. Additionally, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health has activated its Disaster Aid Program to provide aid for their veterinary customers.

Daiichi Sanyko provided direct financial assistance to the American Red Cross, and supplies of certain Daiichi Sankyo hypertension medicines recently donated to Americares, as well as matching employee donations.

Eli Lilly and Company Foundation is donating $250,000 to the American Red Cross and will match employee donations to the Red Cross and Salvation Army for Hurricane Harvey. In addition, Lilly donated medicines, including insulin, earlier this year to Direct Relief International as part of their hurricane preparedness program.

Ferring Pharmaceuticals donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

GlaxoSmithKline GSK has pledged $1 million to support relief efforts in Texas. These funds will be distributed over time to agencies supporting the relief and recovery in impacted communities. Working with Americares and Direct Relief International, GSK is also providing critical medicines, vaccines, and consumer healthcare products to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Johnson & Johnson, through Americares and Heart to Heart, is distributing 25,000 Johnson & Johnson hygiene kits stocked with soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other personal care items to emergency shelters and aid distribution centers.

Merck has donated $1 million to the Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund. In addition, the company committed up to $250,000 to support the efforts of additional partners that are responding to this disaster. Merck is also donating needed medicines, having already provided more than $325,000 in products through Direct Relief.

Novartis is donating $100,000 to the American Red Cross to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, and is prepared to donate essential medicine, and will employee-match $1 for $1 with a maximum of $5,000 per associate per year across all giving programs.

Novo Nordisk is pledging $150,000 to the local Houston Health Foundation and matching employee contributions.

The Pfizer Foundation has made cash grants to the American Red Cross, World Vision, and Americares and is donating prescription and consumer products to Direct Relief and Americares, as well as matching employee contributions.

The Sanofi Foundation for NA is donating $225,000 across Direct Relief International, Americares and Heart to Heart International, and the company is providing a special matching donation campaign. Also, Sanofi US products, mostly insulin product and tetanus vaccines, were provided to partners, Direct Relief International and Americares.

Takeda provided $20,000 in grants for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief to the American Red Cross and is matching employee donations.

ACA Plans See Rise in Drug Costs

Out-of-pocket charges for high-cost specialty drugs for health plans offered through the Affordable Care Act have escalated in 2017, according to HealthPocket.com, a website that compares and ranks health insurance plans. Silver plans, the most commonly purchased ACA plan, saw a 16% increase in insurance out-of-pocket obligations for specialty drugs this year. The average limit on annual out-of-pocket costs for silver plans is more than $6,000 for individual coverage and almost $13,000 for family coverage.

PhRMA Foundation Announces 2017 Challenge Awards

The PhRMA Foundation has announced the honorees for Challenge Awards, which honor those who have identified transformative solutions to measure value in healthcare and advance a value-driven healthcare system. Those honored this year include:
Stephen Chavez, co-founder and president, Health Advocacy Partners
Joel Gagnier, Ph.D., director, clinical epidemiology and research, University of Michigan Health System
George Miller, Ph.D., institute fellow, Altarum Institute Center for Sustainable Health Spending
Eleanor M. Perfetto, Ph.D., senior VP, strategic initiatives, National Health Council

Executive Moves

Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez to Retire
Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis, will step down as CEO in January 2018, after eight years in the position. Vasant (Vas) Narasimhan, M.D., global head of drug development and chief medical officer, has been appointed CEO of Novartis, effective Feb. 1, 2018. Dr. Narasimhan is a member of the Executive Committee and joined Novartis in 2005.

Dr. Narasimhan has held numerous leadership positions across Novartis in commercial, drug development and strategy roles. Prior to his current role, he served as head of development for Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Mr. Jimenez was a PharmaVOICE 100 honoree in 2010 and 2011.

Dr. Amir Kalali Joins Bracket
Amir Kalali, M.D., has joined Bracket, a clinical trial technology and specialty services provider, as executive advisor for global strategy. He will work with Bracket’s leadership to help identify innovative technologies to support the evolution of its integrated growth. In addition, Dr. Kalali will assist in the acceleration of growth in Bracket’s CNS product lines in other fields of medicine.
Previously, Dr. Kalali was global head of the neuroscience center of excellence at Quintiles IMS.
Dr. Kalali is a 2014 PharmaVOICE Red Jacket honoree.

GSW Names Sonja Foster-Storch President
GSW, an INC Research/inVentiv Health company, has named Sonja Foster-Storch as president. Ms. Foster-Storch reports to Lisa Stockman, president of inVentiv Health Communications. Ms. Foster-Storch, a PharmaVOICE 100 2007 honoree, leads GSW’s North American operations. Most recently she was president of McCann Echo.

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