Do-It-Yourself Clinical Trials In A Prescription – Opt-e-Scrip Mail In Pharmacy Announces Test Kits for Chronic Conditions
Posted Apr 28 2010 11:25am
We are definitely on the search to find out what medications work and why. Just yesterday I posted about another company that is incorporating genomic research to match drugs, patients and price.
My question here is how many physicians will actually take the time to add more administrative work to their office unless they are a physician who is actively involved in clinical trials and then there’s getting the patient enrolled and involved. We have seen how slow personal health records and other related software is going so I don’t know about this as far as how well it will be received when initiated.
We certainly have a bit of a “glut” of available research and software tools out there and this is not saying they are bad, but education is needed, otherwise they don’t get used. You also have to be very careful today not to add more administrative work for the physicians as they are already drowning in billing and claim resolution duties today. I have said before and I’ll say it again, I think everyone would about fall their chair if they saw what it takes to do medical billing and spending a day with a medical biller would certainly open a lot of eyes, it’s like every claim is a 1040 form with every visit you make, some you get lucky and use the short form, some need a 1040 itemized form, and then of course there’s audits. Think of this terminology when talking about medical billing, every claim as a 1040 form, and we only file taxes once a year; doctors who take insurance and Medicare file one for every visit you make.
In the meantime, I’m sure there will be more forthcoming on this latest effort to “collect and analyze” data. BD
For all the science behind today's drugs, it's often a trial-and-error process to find the ones that work best for you. A new clinical-trial system promises to speed this process by testing how individual patients respond to prescription drugs.
Beginning this fall, Opt-e-scrip, a mail-order pharmacy in Morristown, NJ, will release patented test kits for up to 16 common chronic conditions, such as allergic rhinitis (runny nose), osteoarthritis (painful knees) and gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn). The test kits, containing blister packs of pills and a daily diary for patients to record their reactions, will be available by prescription.
The idea is to help doctors make better choices when prescribing medications. Even though prescription drugs go through a rigorous set of clinical trials before they are approved for sale, it is hard to predict which patients they will help. Reactions to drugs vary by age, sex, activity level, biology and other factors. Some drugs work for only 50 percent or fewer patients, and placebos or "sugar pills" can sometimes work for almost as many.
For example, clinical-trial data from Schering-Plough indicated that patients taking its allergy drug Claritin showed a 46-percent improvement in symptoms. But patients unknowingly taking a placebo reported a 35-percent improvement.
Such results often leave doctors relying on their wits when prescribing drugs. The Opt-e-scrip test kit system could eliminate some of the guesswork.
Opt-e-scrip claims accuracy is improved by comparing new test results against its database of results from previous single-patient clinical trials. (Patients sign a consent form before their information is put into the database.) This method gives better statistics for an individual patient, says Dr. Donald Reitberg, company co-founder and scientific affairs president.
Data analysis might show, for example, that patients who have a demographic profile and test results similar to those of the new patient have a 90-percent positive response rate when they are prescribed the recommended regimen of drugs, versus only 40 percent if they take an alternate drug.
"This system identifies the best care for the patient," says Dr. Nardo Zaias, a dermatologist who tested experimental Opt-e-scrip kits on patients needing antihistamines. Zaias also runs a clinical testing service in Miami Beach, FL.