Express Scripts acquires EviCore for $3.6bn
With approximately $400 billion in annual spend, healthcare has become an attractive market for tech companies. With the threat of Amazon, who are reportedly set to enter the prescription drug market, Express Scripts have acquired medical benefit management service EviCore for $3.6 billion. The industry is becoming increasingly competitive with regards to drug pricing, where manufacturing and operational costs are coming under increased scrutiny and created room for negotiations across the board.
Medical benefit management is also growing in prominence, with over $300 billion spent annually. Express Scripts’ acquisition of EviCore will therefore enable the company to develop a new range of solutions and provide a greater client reach. Providing integrated pharmacy benefit management services, the company also distributes a full range of biopharmaceutical products and extensive cost-management and patient-care services.
"The rising cost of healthcare is one of the most important issues facing Americans today," commented Tim Wentworth, President and CEO of Express Scripts. "Together with EviCore, Express Scripts will be an even more powerful partner in managing costs for patients and payers, bringing us closer to our goal of becoming the nation's leading patient benefit manager.
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By further strengthening our independent model and creating numerous opportunities for growth, the acquisition of EviCore will deliver value for our clients, patients, providers, and shareholders."
Express Scripts management offering will be complemented by EviCore's medical benefits management (MBM) platform, where its pharmaceutical benefits model (PBM) and eviCore's medical cost containment capabilities will cement Express Script’s presence within medical benefit management.
Set to close at the end of 2017, the acquisition will support the reduction in medical costs for patients and increase quality of care through a number of flexible medical benefits management solutions in a multitude of specialties.
"The greatest opportunity to improve healthcare is by reducing wasteful spend and overutilisation while delivering quality outcomes," said John Arlotta, Chairman and CEO of EviCore.
"Together, EviCore and Express Scripts will be uniquely positioned to tackle these problems."
NHS trials test that predicts sepsis 3 days in advance
A new test that can predict sepsis before the patient develops symptoms is being trialled at a National Health Service (NHS) hospital in the south of England.
Clinicians at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital are leading medical trials of the blood test, which they hope will help them save thousands of lives a year.
The test is being developed by government spin-out company Presymptom Health, but the research began over 10 years ago at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). This included a study of 4,385 patients and more than 70,000 samples, the largest study of its kind at the time.
From the samples taken, a clinical biobank and database were generated and then mined using machine learning to identify biomarker signatures that could predict the onset of sepsis. The researchers found they were able to provide an early warning of sepsis up to three days ahead of illness with an accuracy of up to 90%.
Unlike most other tests, Presymptom Health identifies the patient’s response to the disease as opposed to detecting the pathogen. This is an important differentiator, as sepsis occurs as a result of the patient's immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury, which can then cause life-threatening organ dysfunction.
Worldwide, an estimated 49 million people a year contract sepsis, while in the UK almost two million patients admitted to hospital each year are thought to be at risk of developing the condition. If Presymptom's test is effective, it could save billions of pounds globally and improve clinical outcomes for millions of sepsis patients.
The initial trials at Queen Alexandra Hospital will last 12 months, with two other sites planned to go live this summer. Up to 600 patients admitted to hospital with respiratory tract infections will be given the option to participate in the trial. The data collected will be independently assessed and used to refine and validate the test, which could be available for broader NHS use within two years.
If successful, this test could also identify sepsis arising from other infections before symptoms appear, which could potentially include future waves of COVID-19 and other pandemics.
Dr Roman Lukaszewski, the lead Dstl scientist behind the innovation, said: “It is incredible to see this test, which we had originally begun to develop to help service personnel survive injury and infection on the front line, is now being used for the wider UK population, including those fighting COVID-19.”