Patients Gain Greater Access to Endari Through Telehealth Partnership

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by Mary Chapman |

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Through a new partnership between Emmaus Life Sciences and UpScript, patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) will soon be able to consult with a physician from home and have greater access to Endari (L-glutamine).

Through telehealth — using computers and mobile devices to manage and receive healthcare services remotely — patients will be able to skirt the risks for infection that accompany hospital visits. The service is expected to begin within the next few months.

In addition, the partnership will allow those with the blood disorder to get same-day physician authorization and a prescription for Emmaus’ Endari oral medication. Patients will be able to have the medication delivered to their residence within a few days of authorization.

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“This partnership with UpScript, a proven, direct-to-consumer telehealth platform, provides us with another key avenue through which we can meaningfully improve sickle cell patient’s access to Endari,” Yutaka Niihara, MD, Emmaus’ chair and CEO, said in a press release.

George Sekulich, Emmaus’ senior vice president of global commercialization, also noted that once put in place, “telehealth services will provide a new, convenient method for patients to receive Endari and improve their overall experience.”

Endari is an oral therapy that works by raising the levels of free glutamine circulating in the blood. Sickle cells can then take up this free glutamine and use it to produce antioxidant molecules, which can help neutralize the effects of oxidative stress — a form of cellular damage caused by an imbalance in the production of harmful oxidant molecules. This allows sickled red blood cells to regain the flexibility required to travel through blood vessels and capillaries, carrying oxygen to tissues throughout the body.

Endari was approved in the U.S. in 2017 for those with SCD ages 5 and older, and this summer, it became available to Medicaid patients in Texas, joining many other states.

“Indicated to reduce the acute complications of sickle cell disease in adult and pediatric patients five years of age and older, Endari is recognized as an important tool in the management of this debilitating disease,” Niihara said. “It is convenient and requires no preliminary or follow up blood work monitoring. Endari is well-tolerated and can easily be consumed with water, juice or other liquids.”

Recently, Emmaus sought the approval of Endari in the United Arab Emirates, where approximately 600 people are thought to have SCD. The company’s application review is expected to take up to a year.

“UpScript looks forward to initiating this partnership and improving the accessibility of Endari to sufferers of sickle cell disease,” said Peter Ax, UpScript’s founder and CEO. “Our direct-to-consumer platform allows pharmaceutical companies to reach patients in a convenient, safe and effective manner, improving patient’s lives by making medications accessible and more affordable.”