Indianapolis-based health insurer WellPoint Inc. will start paying cancer doctors $350 per month more for every WellPoint patient they treat—if the doctors agree to follow WellPoint’s recommended treatment plans, according to the Wall Street Journal. The program aims to curb the 25-percent annual growth in spending on cancer care and to reduce the nearly one-third of chemotherapy patients who receive treatment conflicting with current medical evidence and best practices. The extra payments are also designed to make it easier financially for oncology practices to prescribe lower-cost drugs—because the revenue oncologists make from those drugs is less than more expensive drugs. Because oncologists not only prescribe, but also infuse many cancer drugs into their patients, the drugs often account for a substantial amount of their practice revenue. The program will be implemented July 1 in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Radiopharmaceuticals maker Zevacor Molecular plans to open a $40 million medical isotope-production facility in Noblesville, creating nearly 50 jobs within five years. Noblesville will provide an estimated $1.9 million—about 85 percent of the new property taxes the project should produce—in equipment and other necessities, according to a development deal the Common Council unanimously approved Tuesday. The agreement also calls for Zevacor to get a 95-percent abatement on personal property taxes for 10 years. Zevacor, which has eight employees and an office in Fishers, is a for-profit subsidiary of Decatur, Ill.-based not-for-profit Illinois Health & Science—also the parent of Decatur Memorial Hospital. It operates hospital cyclotrons and nuclear pharmacies in several states, said Kenneth Smithmier, Illinois Health’s president and CEO. A similar facility in Noblesville had been planned three years ago by Positron Corp., but the company failed to line up the necessary financial support.
The Indiana University School of Medicine will help oversee a three-year, $30 million concussion study being funded by the Indianapolis-based NCAA and the U.S. Defense Department, according to the Associated Press. The study, which will involve athletes from as many as 30 universities, will be led by IU's School of Medicine in collaboration with the University of Michigan and the Medical College of Wisconsin. IU researchers aim to collect data on 37,000 athletes.
Indianapolis-based OurHealth LLC plans to create a network of health care clinics serving employers across Indiana over the next four years and hire up to 450 people. The 5-year-old company has pledged to invest nearly $20 million, which would include the cost of doubling the size of its headquarters downtown. It currently leases about 10,000 square feet at OneAmerica Tower. OurHealth also plans to lease real estate for a series of 3,500-square-foot health clinics across the state. In June, OurHealth plans to begin hiring certified medical assistants, health coaches, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and doctors to staff its clinics. OurHealth’s website already has posted job openings in Kokomo, Logansport, Madison, Merrillville and Indianapolis. The firm employs more than 120 people and operates 15 clinics, most of which are dedicated to a single employer. The new clinics typically would serve multiple employers.
French drug company Sanofi will seek to sell Eli Lilly and Co.’s erectile dysfunction drug Cialis without a prescription, the companies announced last week, according to Bloomberg News. Sanofi will apply for approval of Cialis as an over-the-counter treatment in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia, and will market the drug after certain patents expire. The deal hinges on regulatory approval in each country—a big question mark, according to analysts. The plan gives Sanofi access to a drug that garnered $2.16 billion in sales last year and faces generic competition in 2017.