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JAK Inhibitor Misses Endpoint in Safety Study. Now What?

MedPage Today
Jan 27, 2021

Pfizer announced results Wednesday from its FDA-mandated postmarketing safety study of tofacitinib (Xeljanz), and they don't bode well for the drug and possibly others in its class.



Compared with patients taking tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, those assigned to tofacitinib (5

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Rheumatologists Rank 2nd in Physician Burnout

Jan 26, 2021

The 2021 Medscape Survey on Physician burnout ranks rheumatology second, just behind Critical Care medicine.

The survey included over 12,000 physcians from 20 specialties. While 42% of MDs claimed to be burnt-out, Rheumatologists claimed this 50% of the time. The top 3 this year were Critical

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Protective Effects of Colchicine in Non-Hospitalized COVID-19

Jan 25, 2021

A press release from Montreal Heart Institute announced that the COLCORONA clinical trial provided evidence of the protective effect of colchicine; demonstrating a 21% reduced risk of death or hospitalizations in patients with COVID-19 compared to placebo. COLCORONA trial was a contact-less,

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Voclosporin FDA Approved for Lupus Nephritis

Jan 24, 2021

On January 22nd, the FDA approved voclosporin (Lupkynis) for use in adults with active lupus nephritis; voclosporin is a calcineurin-inhibitor immunosuppressant indicated for use in combination with a background immunosuppressive therapy. FDA approval was based on data from the pivotal AURORA

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Inequities in Telemedicine During COVID-19

MedPage Today
Jan 19, 2021

Health equity in the telehealth age has assumed added importance since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Federal Communications Commission estimates that about 21 million Americans don't have access to the Internet in their homes. Other sources estimate it is closer to 162 million. However,

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Travel During COVID-19 Pandemic

Jan 18, 2021

The CDC has addressed the effects and the issues of domestic and international travel on its website.  Below is a sampling of key advice.

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Copay Assistance Programs Help Patients but Confuse Them Too

MedPage Today
Jan 15, 2021

"If you're having trouble paying for your medications, Drug Company X may be able to help."



You may have heard sentences like this at the end of pharmaceutical ads on television, and some clinicians may wonder what exactly the companies do to help their patients. The help usually

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2020 Rheumatology Year in Review

Jan 14, 2021

2020 was historic, memorable and game-changing. Under the cloud of COVID-19, there were many significant and memorable advances and setbacks for the rheumatology world. In our accounting of most read articles for 2020, (not surprisingly) 17/20 were COVID-related. Below, are our top news items

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Delays in Diagnosis of Axial Spondyloarthritis

Jan 12, 2021

The diagnosis of axial spondyloarthritis (and anklylosing spondylitis) (axSpA) is often delayed and usually not diagnosed by rheumatologists; a recent metanalysis shows that longer delays were attributable to lower education levels, younger age at onset and absence of extra-articular

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Hydroxychloroquine Shortage During COVID-19

Jan 12, 2021

According to a recent report in Annals of Rheumatic Disease, public enthusiasm for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) created significant access issues for rheumatic patients in the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.



Despite public, political and quasi research evidence supporting

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Medicare's 'Most Favored Nation' Drug-Pricing Rule in Limbo

MedPage Today
Jan 08, 2021

The fate of the Trump administration's "most favored nation" (MFN) rule for bringing down prescription drug prices remains uncertain as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to assume office later this month.

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RheumNow Podcast – Lights, Camera, Zoom (1.8.2021)

Jan 08, 2021

Dr. Jack Cush reviews the news, journal articles and favorite blogs from this past week on RheumNow.com.

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Adherence to Hydroxychloroquine Lowers Lupus Mortality

Jan 07, 2021

A lupus cohort study from British Columbia, Canada has shown that medication adherence with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is associated with a 71% to 83% lower mortality. 

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EULAR Guidance on Patient Adherence to Meds

Jan 06, 2021

Non-adherence may be the single most untold risk to suboptimal outcomes in the care of musculoskeletal disease.  It has been estimated that 30-80% of patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) are nonadherent to prescribed regimens.  EULAR has commissioned a task force to

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Hello 2021 and new drug price hikes - on average a 4.2% hike in over 500 drugs (past years saw an avg hike ~5%). Increases include Cosentyx 7%, Humira & Rinvoq 7.4%, Orencia 4.5%, Taltz 5%, Actemra 3%, Benlysta 5%, Xeljanz 4.9% & Cimzia 4%

Dr. John Cush RheumNow ( View Tweet)

Jan 06, 2021

Telemedicine Less Utilized in the South and Urban Areas

Jan 04, 2021

MMWR has reported on a July 2020 survey study from 1,009 Health Resources and Services Administration–funded health centers showing that urban Health centers were more likely to provide virtual visits than those in rural areas.



Telehealth has expanded healthcare access, especially in

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Best of 2020: New EULAR/ACR Classification Criteria for SLE

Dec 29, 2020

The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) and the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) have jointly developed new classification criteria for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); prompted by the need for criteria that were both highly sensitive and specific. The net result is improved

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Best of 2020: Infusions in the Time of Coronavirus

Dec 28, 2020

After years of bemoaning the challenges of telemedicine, our rheumatology clinic transition entirely to a remote clinic in the space of a week. One of the few good things to come out of this crisis is that we may learn that in-person visits are not as critical as we thought, which may in turn

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Encouraging Rheumatology Fellowship Match for 2021

JJ Cush and ACR Press Release
Dec 18, 2020

The results of the National Residents Matching Program (NRMP) match in rheumatology are out and show that rheumatology fellowship was both competitive and highly sought after.



Rheumatology was among the most competitive of subspecialties, that included Allergy and Immunology,

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Lung Cancer Survival With Autoimmune Disease

Dec 15, 2020

Lung cancer risk is often increased with inflammation and autoimmune disease; a recent analysis suggests that patients with autoimmune disease do not have worse survival, even though they may have received less than the standard-of-care treatments.

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RheumNow Podcast – Stop These COVID Mistakes (12.11.20)

Dec 11, 2020

Dr. Jack Cush reviews the news and journal reports from this past week on RheumNow.com.

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Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule Released

Dec 08, 2020

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid's CY 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule provides much-needed increases in Medicare reimbursement for the evaluation and management (E/M) services provided by rheumatologists and other cognitive care specialties to Medicare beneficiaries.

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#BestACR20Tweets RT @doctorRBC : Rheumatology reimbursement by CMS: ""If all goes well, in a few months, you will see a 16% increase in rheumatology."" - From ACR Advocacy Updates @RheumNow #ACR20 Abs#5M017

Dr. John Cush RheumNow ( View Tweet)

Dec 04, 2020

Colchicine Approval Took a Huge Toll on CMS

Dec 03, 2020

Colchicine, the old gout drug often cited as a cheap anti-inflammatory, hasn't been such a good deal since FDA approval, a study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed.

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US Differs from Worldwide Drug Reimbursements

Nov 02, 2020

"The US has nearly 4.5% of the world’s population but accounts for more than 40% of global drug spending" reports JAMA Internal Medicine.  US drug prices are nearly double those of Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and the US spends twice as much on retail and nonretail

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