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AVBCC Annual Conference

Hollywood, FL—Stakeholders from across the field of oncology gathered at the Third Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care (AVBCC) to network and to explore ways to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape.

Hollywood, FL—For the first time, the Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care (AVBCC) was addressed by a member of Congress. At this year’s conference, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents Florida’s 23rd District (which encompasses Hollywood), shared her personal experience with cancer and took the opportunity to discuss the impact of exclusive licensing of genes and their related laboratory tests on patient outcomes. Ms Schultz is on the side of the consumer patient—because she is one.

Houston, TX—Delta Air Lines has a commitment to preventive health and comprehensive cancer care for its 140,000 health plan members; the company is pi­loting a “high-performance cancer network,” said Lynn Zonakis, Managing Director of Health Strategy and Resources, Delta Air Lines, Atlanta, GA, at the 2012 Second Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care. Ms Zonakis was part of the employers’ panel at the conference who presented perspectives from different employer groups related to cancer care.

Houston, TX—Employers’ health plan managers must “balance members’ access to new treatments with the fiscal responsibility of managing the healthcare financial resources wisely,” said Bridget Eber, PharmD, Senior Consultant and Clinical Lead of Rx Group Purchasing, Towers Watson, at the 2012 Second Annual Association for Value-Based Cancer Care Con­ference. Towers Watson’s clients in­clude 175 employers with self-funded benefits programs totaling $3 billion in annual drug spending.

Houston, TX—Most employers do not understand biologics and specialty pharmacy well enough to use services appropriately and to take advantage of their benefits, said F. Randy Vogenberg, RPh, PhD, Principal, Institute for Integrated Healthcare, Sharon, MA, an employer benefit consulting company.

Speaking at the Second Annual Association for Value-Based Cancer Care Conference, Dr Vogenberg drew from a recent survey of employers to suggest actions that need to be taken to better integrate healthcare stakeholders.

Houston, TX—To eliminate coverage inconsistencies and enhance relationships with providers, health plans should have specific policies for dealing with off-label use of oncologic drugs, said Kristen M. Reimers, RPh, Specialty Pharmacy Director and Clinical Operations Manager for Excellus Health Plans.

At the Second Annual Association for Value-Based Cancer Care Con­ference, Ms Reimers described the rationale for and the process of development and benefits of the off-label drug policy that she helped to develop at Excellus.

Houston, TX—A wealth of new agents and abundant clinical trial data supporting their use have led to multiple “acceptable” evidence-based options for treating tumors. This can make the “real-life” care of patients with cancer confusing with regard to disease outcomes and in the assessment of value propositions related to treatment, ac­cording to Atheer A. Kaddis, PharmD, Senior Vice President of Managed Markets, Diplomat Specialty Pharm­acy, Flint, MI.

Houston, TX—With the onslaught of drugs that will target genetic subsets of patients, companion diagnostic testing will become vitally important, said Jane F. Barlow, MD, MPH, MBA, Vice President of Clinical Innovation, Medco Health Solutions (now Express Scripts), New York, who spoke on personalized medicine during the 2012 Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care.

Houston, TX—Despite much talk about biomarkers and a field that is exploding, only a few biomarkers can be reliably and routinely used to improve patient care at this time, according to Peter G. Ellis, MD, Deputy Director of Clinical Services, Associate Chief Medical Officer, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Cancer Centers.

A biomarker is any measure (ie, gene mutation, staining pattern, gene expression microarray) that can be associated with a clinically distinct prognosis, diagnosis, or response to a specific therapy.

Approximately 200 oncologists, payers, em­ployers, managed care executives, pharma­cy benefit managers, and other healthcare stakeholders convened in Hous­ton, TX, on March 28-31, 2012, for the Second Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care (AVBCC).
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