Telehealth Platform Launched for Same-day Prescription of Endari

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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Emmaus Life Sciences has launched a full-service telehealth platform that will allow people in the U.S. with sickle cell disease (SCD) greater and easier access to the approved therapy Endari (L-glutamine).

Patients will be able to receive a same-day physician’s prescription for Endari, which can then be delivered to their homes.

“The launch of our full-service telehealth solution reflects our stated commitment to make Endari accessible to sickle cell patients in need and we are excited to be launching the program,” Yutaka Niihara, MD, Emmaus’ chairman and CEO, said in a press release.

“Eligible patients will be able to receive a same-day physician authorization and prescription for Endari and to have the prescription delivered to their homes within just a few days,” he added.

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Surge in Telehealth Brings Access, Convenience to Rare Disease Patients

The platform, launched in partnership with Asembia, US Bioservices Corporation, and UpScriptHealth, comes on the heels of the expansion of telemedicine in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Medicare appointments conducted online increased by 63 times in 2020 alone.

“We believe that affording patients and telehealth prescribers access to Endari in a quick and convenient way will improve their experience and potentially increase adherence rates,” said George Sekulich, Emmaus’ senior vice president of global commercialization. “We look forward to working with our strategic partners on this important project.”

Telehealth allows patients to talk to a doctor via video rather than physically going to a hospital, physician’s office, or clinic. By using computers and mobile devices, it provides remote healthcare to patients. Prescriptions then can be delivered to patients, or picked up at a local pharmacy.

Advocates note that telehealth helps avoid unnecessary trips and lowers the risk of infections that accompany hospital visits. Also, it is particularly useful for patients with limited mobility and for those living in rural areas.

“Our solution will allow patients to see a doctor without leaving home, thereby eliminating unnecessary travel time and expense and the risk of infection that can occur with hospital visits,” said Niihara.

“As the telehealth solution grows, we are optimistic that it will help us to reach new patients and add meaningful revenue for Emmaus,” he added.

Endari is an oral therapy designed to raise the levels of the amino acid glutamine in the blood. Of note, amino acids are protein building blocks.

Sickle cells take up glutamine to generate antioxidant molecules, which are important to halt the damaging effects of oxidative stress — a form of cellular damage resulting from an imbalance between the production of harmful oxidant molecules and the body’s antioxidant defense mechanisms.

The oral therapy was approved in the U.S. in 2017 for people with SCD ages 5 and older. It became available to Medicaid patients in Texas last year, and more recently, to those in Florida.

Endari was also approved in March for the treatment of SCD in the United Arab Emirates. Emmaus also has also submitted applications seeking the approval of the medication in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.