Honoring Rare Disease Day: How Industry Developments, Partnerships and Community Support Could Lead to Cures

Rare disease is a battle that one in 20 people will fight in their lifetime, and most rare diseases do not have a cure. EURORDIS and its Council of National Alliances have established the last day of February as Rare Disease Day to bring awareness to the rare disease community and shed light on progress health organizations are making towards the development of medications and therapeutics:

Progress in Partnerships

Cure Rare Disease is partnering with the University of Massachusetts Medical School to gather additional knowledge about neutralizing antibodies and their impact on AAV virus therapeutic treatment for rare disease. Antibodies help fight off foreign pathogens, and they are found in varying levels in the body. Complications for the rare disease therapeutic treatment arise when the body has significant levels of the antibodies that fight the AAV virus.  

Diving into Drug Development

Your Community Cares Rx membership cards grants you access to a plethora of medications at a competitive price. Research professionals are diligently working to grant rare disease patients easy access to treatment medications. In September 2019, the FDA initiated numerous efforts to assist with drug development research, including a data analytics platform for secure sharing of patient-level data and a clinical outcome assessment program.

Raising Awareness

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) established the RareAction Network, aimed at improving the lives of the 30 million Americans diagnosed with rare diseases. This organization provides a network for members to connect with people, utilize educational resources, stay up to date on industry news and communicate with various opinion leaders. Members of this organization initiate meaningful action and depend on the strength of their community.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit http://www.paramountrx.com/.  

Paramount Rx Saves Patients $750 Million on Prescriptions in 2020 with Community Cares Rx Program

Prescription Benefits Manager Paramount Rx saved U.S. customers $750 million on their prescriptions in 2020 through its Community Cares Rx prescription discount program, providing immediate savings to millions of underinsured and uninsured American families.

“In a year marked by uncertainty and unanticipated medical expenses, prescription savings programs became more important than ever for our customers,” said Ron Richmond, senior vice president of provider relations at Paramount Rx. “By eliminating the high fees typically associated with prescription discount cards, families and individuals were able to focus on staying healthy at home while keeping prescription costs down.”

Data collected from the Community Cares Rx discount program also illustrated several trends for prescriptions filled in 2020:

  • Paramount Rx saw a significant 47% increase in the number of prescriptions filled for respiratory medications compared to 2019. This spike could be the result of increased respiratory health challenges seen in those who contracted COVID-19 last year, and patients likely also stocked up on their respiratory medications in early 2020 out of concern for possible shortages.
  • Paramount Rx saw a nearly 20% drop in prescriptions for cough and cold medications compared to 2019, likely due to the reduced spread of seasonal ailments from social distancing measures and mask wearing.
  • Prescriptions filled for the most popular medication used to treat influenza dropped an astonishing 95% compared to Paramount Rx’s pre-pandemic volume. This decrease aligns with the broader trend of seasonal illnesses presenting at much lower levels compared to historic norms.

Public health officials continue to advise those with chronic medical conditions like asthma to maintain a 30, 60 or 90-day supply of prescriptions to limit trips to the pharmacy and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is a moving target that continues to challenge our healthcare system. We are grateful to all of our pharmacy partners for the critical role they are playing to provide testing and administer vaccines to help us overcome this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Richmond.

About Paramount Rx Inc.
Paramount Rx is a full-service prescription benefits manager (PBM) focused on consumer-driven health care to help clients provide services for consumers to save money on prescription drugs. The company has tailored programs to help their customers and consumers achieve significant savings with discount prescriptions through a national network of over 57,000 participating pharmacies. For more information, visit www.paramountrx.com. Print out your free Community Cares Rx prescription discount card at www.communitycaresrx.com. A digital version of the card is also available via text or email.

Don’t Miss a Beat – Fast Facts for a Healthy Heart

‘Self care’ may be a popular buzzword, but it’s true that taking care of yourself goes a long way toward a healthier lifestyle and a healthier heart. Staying active, preparing nutritious meals, getting quality sleep, and taking a moment to de-stress are all small steps you can take to improve your heart health. In honor of American Heart Month, check out these heart health facts and tips:

Heart Fast Facts –

  • The average human heart is the size of two fists.
  • Heart disease accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths worldwide
  • On average, the resting heart rate fluctuates between 60 and 100 beats per minute. That means over the course of a year, your heart beats more than 40 million times.
  • A woman’s average heartbeat is faster than a man’s by almost eight beats per minute.
  • Each minute, your heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood – that’s 2,000 gallons every day!

Healthy Heart Quick Tips –

  • Eat your greens. Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are high in vitamin K and nitrates, which can help reduce blood pressure and improve arterial function. Studies show that a higher intake of leafy greens is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
  • Laugh out loud. The American Heart Association suggests that laughing can lower stress hormones and decrease inflammation in your arteries.
  • Quit Smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of heart attacks and heart disease, and your blood pressure and heart rate lower almost immediately after kicking the habit.
  • Keep moving. Getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week is linked to improved sleep, memory and balance!

These small changes can help you start 2021 off right with a healthier heart. While you’re on your journey to better health, Paramount Rx can provide great savings on the prescriptions that you and your family use every day.


For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com

Three Things to Keep in Mind Before Filling Your Prescriptions

The average American household spends almost $500 out-of-pocket on prescriptions each year. But how do you know if your prescription is right for you? Have you asked your doctor about other options on the market? Are you paying the lowest price? Here are three tips to ensure you get the right treatment without breaking the bank.

Generic vs. brand-name medication

When it comes to your health, you are your own best advocate. Your doctor’s preferences, and the success of a particular drug with their other patients, can influence what they prescribe to you. This is why it’s important to ask your doctor specific questions about your medications, and why they are recommending them for you. In some cases, the generic version of a drug might be just as effective as its brand-name equivalent, but cost up to 85% less. The Food and Drug Administration also ensures that generic drugs are just as safe and effective.

 Find the best price

Buying a prescription is like buying gas for your car: the key is finding the best price in town. Your doctor will typically know which pharmacy in your area offers the best pricing, and online tools like Community Cares Rx’s pharmacy pricing tool can help you find the pharmacy offering your specific medication as the best price. The Community Cares Rx prescription discount card saves customers an average of 20% off brand names and 70% off generic drugs.

Consider a 60- or 90-day supply

For a reduced price and an added convenience, a 60- or 90-day supply of medication may be the right fit. According to the AARP, healthcare professionals are advising their patients who are at a high risk of contracting COVID-19 to have additional refills on-hand. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises that you have at least one month’s worth of refills, but preferably two.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2021

In 2020, mental health awareness and virtual care topped the list of emerging healthcare industry trends. What can patients expect in 2021? Forbes previewed the top healthcare trends to keep an eye out for in the new year:

  • The race for COVID-19 therapies and vaccines will dominate the first part of the year. It is estimated that healthy adults under 65 and children may not receive the vaccine until late spring or early summer 2021.
  • There will be an influx of individuals look to reestablish routine care who were unable to receive care at the height of the pandemic.
  • Virtual healthcare will become more balanced and widely used. As soon as it was safe to do so, we’ll move back into in-person visits in addition to virtual visits.
  • Prescription prices will continue to rise as more high-cost procedures and medicines hit the market in 2021.

The past year has given us time to reflect and reset our priorities when it comes to health and wellness. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced our resilient healthcare systems and workers to rapidly adopt new healthcare solutions around the world. As modern medicine and technology continue to evolve in 2021, we will continue to adopt new approaches to improve care quality.

Paramount Rx is working to help ease the burden of rising prescription costs, with programs like Community Cares Rx that could help you save an average of 50 percent on your prescriptions. Online tools are also available to help you find the best possible price on your medications. Print out a free prescription discount card at www.communitycaresrx.com. A digital version of the card is also available via text or email.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

 

Set up for Success: Start the New Year with these Healthy Habits

With the new year right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about your 2021 resolutions. But who says we can’t start the healthy habits now? After all, cold turkey methods are one of the main reasons people struggle to keep their resolutions.

By incorporating small steps now, we can gradually transition into healthier versions of ourselves before we flip the calendar to 2021. Here are a few simple habits to help kickstart your New Year’s resolution success:

  1. Drink more water – The average body is 60% water. That’s why it’s crucial to stay hydrated and drink water throughout the day. In general, health experts recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but this can vary depending on your height, age and health history. Hydration is key for improving your memory and mood, reducing headaches and flushing waste out of the body. If increasing your daily intake seems like a struggle, try filling a smart water bottle that tracks intake before you go to bed, that way you’ll have it first thing in the morning!
  1. Create a daily routine – Humans are creatures of habit, so routines are the perfect way to promote health and wellness in an organized and structured manner. From eating times to exercise, having a daily routine reduces stress levels and allows us to prioritize important tasks like rest, relaxation and fun. According to the National Sleep Foundation, going to bed at the same time every night can help regulate the body’s internal clock. With a solid sleep schedule, it should be easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
  1. Add up the small savings – Money continues to be a top cause of stress for Americans, and stress negatively impacts our overall health. There are plenty of ways to save on the things you frequently buy, like gas, groceries, clothes and prescriptions. If you’re taking prescription drugs for common ailments like blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease, participating in a program like Community Cares Rx could help you keep costs down on medications. The program allows you to print a free, pre-activated discount card and use it at your local pharmacy to save up to 70 percent off generic drugs and 20 percent off brand-name medications.

These resolution tips will keep your mind, body and wallet fit all year long. For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

 

Ask a Pharmacist: Flu Season and COVID-19

Ronald Richmond, R.Ph., MPH, Senior Vice President of Provider Relations, Paramount Rx

Why is getting a flu vaccine more important than ever this year?

Getting a flu shot this year is very important as we struggle through the current COVID-19 pandemic. Both Flu and COVID-19 are viruses that attack the respiratory tract. While we don’t currently have a lot of experience with co-infections of these viruses, we do know it is possible to contract both at the same time. Having Flu and COVID-19 simultaneously could result in much more severe illness, especially for those with underlying diseases or vulnerable populations, like the elderly.

Is the pharmacy industry preparing for flu season differently this year? If so, how?
Pharmacies in general have anticipated an increased demand for flu shots this year. The benefits of immunizations have been highlighted much more this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coupled with the potential for Flu co-infection with COVID-19 and more severe illness, it is thought that many people may seek out a flu shot this year, even if they haven’t routinely done so in the past. Pharmacies have been preparing for this increased demand by ensuring they have adequate supplies of flu vaccine on hand.

Are there special precautions pharmacists are taking this flu season to safely administer vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Pharmacists are keenly aware of the importance of social distancing. However, the administration of the vaccines does require close contact between the patient and the pharmacist. To minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread during immunizations, the pharmacist wears a mask and gloves, and the patient is required to wear a mask. Social distancing is maintained while the pharmacist is not administering the vaccine.

What would you tell an at-risk person about getting a flu vaccine this season?

While everyone should get a flu shot this year to lower their risk of co-infection with COVID-19, getting a flu shot is even more critical for those with underlying disease states and the elderly. These individuals are already at greater risk for more severe illness with a flu infection. Flu vaccines for the current year usually become available well in advance of flu season, and flu shots are readily available at most retail pharmacies and doctor’s offices. In short, lack of access is really not an excuse for not getting your flu shot. For those aged 65 and above, who have poorer immune responses to flu vaccines than younger people, a “high dose” or “adjuvanted” version of the flu shot may be used to achieve a better immune response, and better protection against flu.

What about children? Can they get a flu shot at the Pharmacy? How about a COVID-19 shot when the vaccine becomes available?

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) issued an amendment under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) that allows licensed pharmacists meeting specific requirements to order and administer approved or licensed vaccines to children ages three and above. Further guidance under the amendment expands the authorization to administer these vaccines to qualified pharmacy technicians and interns working under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. The amendment was considered an important step in ensuring adequate access to immunizations for children during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many pharmacies have moved ahead with the training programs required for their staff to administer flu and other approved vaccines to children ages three and above. Check with your local pharmacy to verify they can provide flu immunizations to your children.

When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, your local pharmacy may provide the most convenient access to receive this immunization. However, current vaccine trials in the United States do not include children under the age of 12. Therefore, additional information is needed before we can further discuss COVID-19 immunizations in children. Nonetheless, once an approved COVID-19 vaccine is determined to be safe in children, it will likely become available for the immunization of children at pharmacies whose qualified staff meet the requirements established by the amendment to the PREP Act.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

 

How to Safely Celebrate the Holidays: Tips from Health Experts

The holiday season is usually a time to reconnect with friends and family, but with the ongoing pandemic, celebrating the holidays may look a little different this year. However, you can still safely enjoy the company of your loved ones this holiday season.

Here are a few tips to celebrate safely!

Tip #1: Gather outdoors

While the winter months are bringing cooler temperatures around the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommend trying to host gatherings outdoors rather than indoors. Setting up tents with properly ventilated sidewalls can help protect you from the elements. Going for a stroll to look at festive decorations or organizing a distanced neighborhood caroling night will get everyone in the holiday spirit! If you have to host an event indoors, the CDC has outlined ways to best prepare your home for socially distant gatherings.

Tip #2: Keep your company small

Holiday dinner is not off the table – health experts are simply recommending that you host a meal for those that live in your immediate household. Keeping your gatherings small helps to limit direct contact with those who do not live in your home. If you’re hosting, stock up on supplies to keep everyone healthy, like extra masks, hand sanitizer and disposable hand towels in the bathroom. Using single-use dishware, encouraging guests to bring their own food and setting up designated spaces are among the CDC’s recommendations for gatherings.

Tip #3: Get creative

There are plenty of new and creative ways to celebrate the holidays that do not necessarily involve face-to-face interaction. Activities like shopping online can replace the traditional Black Friday rush. You can host virtual watch parties for Thanksgiving football and holiday parades. Try dropping off a home cooked meal to a neighbor or relative – that way you can continue to safely share your favorite family recipes this holiday season!

Staying up to date on your medications is important this holiday season, and prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx can help you find the best prices. For more information on Community Cares Rx and other cost-saving programs, please visit www.communitycaresrx.com. 

Brush up on the Basics of Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene Awareness Month is the perfect reminder to prioritize your dental health. Practicing good dental care from infancy to adulthood has benefits beyond keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Research has shown that there’s an association between a person’s dental health and their overall health. Check out these tips to keep your smile healthy and bright:

Tip #1 Brush, Floss, Rinse, Repeat!

Brushing is one of the most important steps in your daily dental routine. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day, with a soft-bristled brush. Timed toothbrushes make it easy to brush for the recommended amount of time, and you can also listen to your favorite song while brushing!

Did you know your teeth make up less than half of your mouth? It’s easy to miss hard-to-reach areas, which can allow harmful bacteria to build up on your gums and tongue. That’s why flossing is a great addition to your daily routine. Flossing removes plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, where a toothbrush is unable to reach. It can also help prevent bad breath by removing debris and trapped food.

Tip #2: Consider the Effects of your Diet

When possible, limit your consumption of sugary and acidic foods like sour candies, carbonated drinks and crunchy snacks. Sugar breaks down into acid inside your mouth, which can erode the enamel on your teeth and cause cavities. And after indulging in these foods, be sure to drink water to help offset some of the negative effects in between brushes. The ADA also recommends eating plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products without added sugar.

Tip #3: Visit the Dentist Regularly  

Although you’re keeping up with your daily dental habits, be sure to visit the dentist at least every six months for routine cleanings and checkups. Not only will your dentist give you a deep clean, but they’ll also be able to spot potential issues like cavities, gum disease and gingivitis and offer treatment solutions. If you’ve noticed any potential concerns, like bleeding gums, sensitivity or jaw pain come prepared with questions you'd like to ask your dentist or hygienist. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some dentists are able to provide teledentistry appointments for certain issues.

Making the best health decisions also includes finding the best deals on medications. Participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx can help you get the best prices. For more information on Community Cares Rx and other programs that can help you save money, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Celebrating Health Literacy Month: How to Stay Informed About Your Health Decisions

The world of medicine is complicated, and healthcare literacy is a stressful issue for most Americans. It is important for your doctor to help make healthcare easier to understand, and for you to take a proactive role in your care. Here are some tips to keep in mind during Health Literacy Month:  

Tip #1 Find the Right Doctor for You

Establishing a strong relationship with your doctor is a key step in making smart decisions about your health, but it can be challenging to find the right fit. Communication plays a key role – you should feel comfortable speaking freely, and find an active listener who makes you feel heard. If you find yourself leaving an appointment with questions, or are unsure about the next steps to take, getting a second opinion can help guide you toward an more informed health decision.

Tip #2: Take an Active Role in Your Health Care

By taking an active role in your own health care, you are setting yourself up for success. Being open with your physician, asking questions proactively at check-ups and scheduling regular appointments are all ways to take charge. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification in conversations that confuse you – HealthLink says this is one of the best ways to make the most of your appointments! Being active in your health care goes beyond conversations in the doctor’s office. A simple task like organizing your medical records at home is a smart way to stay prepared when the time comes to make a health decision.

Tip #3: Use Reliable Outlets for Online Health Information

Searching the Internet for health information can be a quick and easy way to educate yourself, but it is easy to go down a rabbit hole of misinformation if you are not looking in the right places. Start with The National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s website or health websites sponsored by government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Remember, your pharmacist is also a trusted resource for questions on alternative medications, immunizations and healthscreenings.

Making the best health decisions also includes finding the best deals on medications. Participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx can help you get the best prices. For more information on Community Cares Rx and other programs that can help you save money, please visit www.paramountrx.com.