To help empower individuals living with sickle cell disease (SCD), biopharmaceutical company Emmaus Life Sciences has teamed up with national specialty pharmacy US Bioservices on a treatment adherence program for patients.
Through a team of clinicians, the new opt-in enhanced nursing program offers patients information and real-time assistance with their specific SCD therapy. In general, a treatment adherence program is a care system in which pharmacies have a more consultative role in helping patients to follow through with prescribed therapies. In this program, patients will be able to receive calls relating to their specific SCD therapy and work directly with clinicians.
“We believe this is an industry first for the SCD community and a truly unique tool and capability that will allow patients to stay informed about their disease as well as expand and improve their choices of medical management, resulting in improved adherence and outcomes,” Yutaka Niihara, MD, Emmaus chairman and CEO, said in a press release.
“This valuable program is another important part of our commitment to provide SCD patients with the full continuum of care.”
A leader in SCD treatment, Emmaus is the developer of Endari (L-glutamine), an oral therapy that increases the amount of free glutamine in the blood. That works to ultimately allow sickle-shaped red blood cells to regain the flexibility needed to travel through blood vessels and capillaries, carrying oxygen to tissues throughout the body. Sickle cell disease affects red blood cells with an abnormal version of the protein hemoglobin, causing its altered shape.
“Emmaus has always prioritized the needs and concerns of SCD patients and understands the importance of programs designed to continually improve the patient experience, assistance and relevant information,” added George Sekulich, Emmaus senior vice president of global commercialization.
“Providing patients with unencumbered access to our SCD drug Endari and resources to enhance their treatment experience has always been a core mission of Emmaus since our founding,” he said.
An AmerisourceBergen company, US Bioservices provides comprehensive clinical care to patients with chronic and complex disorders. According to the American Society of Hematology, between 70,000 and 100,000 U.S. residents have sickle cell disease.
In related news, Emmaus last month said it expects within the first quarter of this year to get initial purchase orders relating to Taiba Healthcare group’s early access program for Endari in some Middle East and North African nations. The region represents a significantly larger market for the treatment than the United States. Based in Oman, Taiba focuses on niche therapeutic segments, including rare diseases.
“In a relatively short period of time, taiba has become a valuable partner in bringing patients in the Middle East this much needed drug,” Sekulich said. “Through this partnership, we have already identified 40 patients and look forward to working with taiba to expand and increase access to patients in the entire MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region.”
“Our team has received positive feedback from HCPs [health care providers] across the territory who are excited to have L-glutamine as a valuable therapeutic option for the treatment of sickle cell disease patients,” said Dr. Saif Al-Hasani, Taiba’s CEO.