Patent Application Titled “Predilution Sets For Distributing Antigens” Published Online (USPTO 20220218819): Patent Application
Insurance Daily News
2022 JUL 28 (NewsRx) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Insurance Daily News -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by NewsRx journalists, a patent application by the inventors Pulitzer, Jovan Hutton (Frisco, Tx, Us); Strader, James (Austin, Tx, Us), filed on March 8, 2022, was made available online on July 14, 2022.
No assignee for this patent application has been made.
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: “Immunotherapy (IT) is recognized as one of the most curative treatment for allergies. By exposing the immune system to slowly increasing concentrations of immunomodulators such as an allergen or antigen, it will eventually stabilize and regain control the portion that is hypersensitive to the allergen or antigen. In general, immunotherapy is the “treatment of disease by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response.” Immunotherapies designed to elicit or amplify an immune response are classified as activation immunotherapies, while immunotherapies that reduce or suppress are classified as suppression immunotherapies. The active agents of immunotherapy are collectively called immunomodulators. They are a diverse array of recombinant, synthetic and natural preparations, often cytokines.
“Immunotherapy involved in the treatment of allergies is a type of suppression immunotherapy, often termed desensitization or hypo-sensitization. This is compared with allergy treatments such as antihistamines or corticosteroids which treat only the symptoms of allergic disease. Immunotherapy is the only available treatment that can modify the natural course of the allergies, by reducing sensitivity to the immunomodulators such as antigens or allergens. An antigen and an allergen can both cause one’s immune system to respond. An allergen is an antigen, but not all antigens are allergens. An antigen is any substance that is capable of causing one’s immune system to produce antibodies. They are typically organic, or living, produced proteins. An allergen is any antigen that causes an allergic reaction. A non-allergen antigen could be a bacteria, virus, parasite, or fungus that causes an infection. This could also be something else that causes antibody immune system response, like toxins, chemicals, tissue cells involved in transplants or blood cells from a blood transfusion. An allergen is an environmentally produced substance that causes an allergic reaction, although the substance may not be harmful. Allergens cause no reactions in some individuals, while possibly causing a hypersensitive reaction in others. Common allergens include such things as pollen, plants, smoke, feathers, perfumes, dust mites, toxic mold, food, drugs, animal dander, and insect bites and stings.
“The exact mechanisms of how IT works are not fully understood, but they involve shifting a patient’s immune response from a predominantly “allergic” T-lymphocyte response to a “non-allergic” T-lymphocyte response.
“Current accepted processes for performing allergy immunotherapy include injecting immunomodulator matter in the form of antigen material into patient subjects. This is referred to as subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT), requiring a patient to visit a doctor’s office for weekly injections. It’s is very expensive and time-consuming. A second technique, sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), involves the application of allergy extracts (antigens), and allergens placed into a pill form and swallowed by the patient or disposed in “allergy drops” which are placed under the tongue for the allergens/antigens to be absorbed into the oral mucosa. Transdermal patches may have been used without much success and mostly were used for patch testing to see if a patient reacts to various chemicals or allergens.
“Of the people who start traditional subcutaneous injected immunotherapy (SCIT), 90% fail to complete their therapy due to needle fatigue and not being able to see a doctor in their office once or more per week for several years. Further, doctors charge for every one of those visits. Further, doctors trained to give injections for allergy are concentrated in high population and upper middle class places. People in rural areas and people who do not live in upper middle class areas cannot get to an allergist for shots. Consider an inner city kid having to ride public transportation and pay a high copay just to get a high risk injection if an alternative therapy were available!
“Allergies are also linked to depression and suicide and are among the top ten reasons for missed work and lost productivity. Lastly, allergies and asthma result in billions of dollars in lost productivity and healthcare costs among the 90% of allergy patients that either never get immunotherapy or fail immunotherapy delivered under its current administration methods.
“Currently, allergens are not readily reimbursed when received from a pharmacist for the simple reason that the National Drug Code (NDC) code is not included in the database to which the pharmacist has access. Without an NDC code in the database, the pharmacist cannot access that information. By not being able to access information, the pharmacist cannot interface with a benefits provider for reimbursements nor can they have access to the Average Wholesale Price (AWP), which is the benchmark that has been used for many years for pricing and reimbursement of prescription drugs for both government and private payers. Initially, this AWP was intended to represent the average price that wholesalers used to sell medications to providers, such as physicians, pharmacies, and other customers. However, the AWP is not a true representation of actual market prices for either generic or brand drug products. AWP has often been compared to the “list price” or “sticker price”, meaning it is an elevated drug price that is rarely what is actually paid. AWP is not a government-regulated figure, does not include buyer volume discounts or rebates often involved in prescription drug sales, and is subject to fraudulent manipulation by manufacturers or even wholesalers. As such, the AWP, while used throughout the industry, is a controversial pricing benchmark.
“The AWP may be determined by several different methods. The drug manufacturer may report the AWP to the individual publisher of drug pricing data, such as Medi-Span. The AWP may also be calculated by the publisher based upon a mark-up specified by the manufacturer that is applied to the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) or direct price (DIRP). The WAC is the manufacturer’s list price of the drug when sold to the wholesaler, while the DIRP is the manufacturer’s list price when sold to non-wholesalers. Typically a 20% mark-up is applied to the manufacturer-supplied WAC or DIRP, which results in the AWP figure.
“The publishers then in turn sell these published AWPs to government, private insurance, and other buyers of prescription drugs, who use these data tables to determine reimbursement and retail prices. Because AWP is a component of the formulas used to determine reimbursement, elevated AWP numbers can drastically increase the dollar amount that government, private insurance programs, and consumers with coinsurance must pay.
“Pharmacies typically buy drugs from a wholesaler and then sell them to the public. Many patients have coinsurance or copayments, where they only pay for a portion of their prescription cost. The insurance company then pays the rest of the cost (the reimbursement) to the pharmacy. Insurance companies include prescription benefit manager (PBM), health maintenance organization (HMO) or government programs, such as Medicaid or Medicare Part B or D. In addition, the pharmacy receives a dispensing fee for filling the prescription. Fees are, for example, set between $3 to $5 per prescription, but may vary by state.
“Reimbursements are based on AWPs. However, pharmacies purchase drugs based on the WAC. The difference between the WAC (what the pharmacy actually paid for the drug) and the reimbursement from insurance (based on AWP) is known as the spread, and equates to the profit that the pharmacy receives.
“Market pricing on brand drugs tend to be about 16.6 percent less than the AWP. However, the relation of AWP to generic pricing is not clear. Older generics tend to have a large spread between the AWP and WAC, which in turn gives a large spread, and higher profit margins for the pharmacy or other provider of the drug. Many payers, such as PBMS or HMOs, will determine a maximum allowable cost (MAC) pricing on generics to avoid being overcharged. Newer generic products, compared to older generics, may not have as favorable of a spread, thus the need for MAC.
“Collusion between AWP publishers and wholesalers to artificially inflate the AWP, and in turn increase the spread, has led to court cases in the U.S. In these cases, it was alleged that increasing the spread benefited the wholesaler because customers (pharmacies and large institutions) were more likely to buy from them than a competing wholesaler where the spread was not as desirable. The publisher of AWPs profited because pharmacies were more likely to buy the pricing lists from the publisher that noted the higher AWPs used in calculating the spread, than to buy them from other publishers with lower AWPs. Due to this pricing fraud, many payers, including government payers, are no longer using AWP for pricing, and are switching to other more transparent pricing benchmarks, such as WAC or AMP (average manufacturers price). However, AWP may still be found in use in the U.S. because it has been the standard for decades.
“However, in order for a pharmacist to access the AWP and to be able to interface with benefits providers, the product associated with an NDC must be in the database. Currently, allergens are on item that does not exist in the database.”
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, NewsRx editors also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent application: “In one embodiment, a method for delivering allergens to a pharmacist in a pre-diluted kit form is provided. The method comprises providing a bulk container of base concentrate antigen containing at least one antigen at a predetermined concentrated level, providing a plurality of sequential bulk containers each containing a fixed amount of a carrier solution for diluting antigens. The method further comprises creating a sequential and more diluted sequence of antigens by the steps of a) dispensing from the bowl container a fixed amount of the base concentrate antigen containing at least one the antigen at the predetermined concentrated level to a first of the sequential bulk containers for being diluted in the carrier contained therein, b) dispensing a fixed amount of the contents of the first of the sequential bulk containers to a next of the sequential bulk containers for being diluted in the carrier contained therein, and c) sequentially repeating step b dispensing a fixed amount of the contents of a previous one of the sequential bulk containers to the next of the sequential bulk containers for being diluted in the carrier contained therein until the last of the sequential bulk containers has contents dispense therein from the previous of the sequential bulk containers. The method further comprises providing a plurality of end-use sealable containers that can receive a finite end amount of diluted antigens, dispensing from each of the sequential bulk containers a finite end amount of diluted antigens into one of the plurality of end-use sealable containers, where in the end-use seal containers filled from each of the sequential bulk containers comprises a group of end-use sealable containers associated with each of the sequential bulk containers, sealing each of the end-use containers after diluted antigens are disposed therein, and disposing a select number of the sealed end-use sealable containers from each of the groups of end-use sealable containers into a container comprising a kit to provide a plurality of kits for dispensing to a patient.”
The claims supplied by the inventors are:
“1. A prediluted kit including a range of prediluted doses of allergens for dispensing to a patient, comprising: a plurality of end-use sealable containers of prediluted antigens, wherein each one of the plurality of end-use sealable containers includes: an insert to fill space within the end-use sealable container; and an insert bottle disposed within the insert, wherein the insert bottle provides an elongated interior in the end-use sealable container, the elongated interior having a volume corresponding to at least a dose and to dispose a prediluted antigen at an elevated level in the end-use sealable container for extraction.
“2. The prediluted kit of claim 1, further comprising a container having a plurality of receiving pockets, each being associated with one of a plurality of sequential diluted allergen levels all based on a base concentrate antigen.
“3. The prediluted kit of claim 2, wherein a National Drug Code (NDC) of the base concentrate antigen is indicated on the container.
“4. The prediluted kit of claim 2, wherein each of the plurality of end-use sealable containers includes only a single diluted antigen.
“5. The prediluted kit of claim 2, wherein each one of the plurality of end-use sealable containers is at a defined level and disposed in one of the plurality of receiving pockets.
“6. The prediluted kit of claim 5, wherein each of the end-use sealable containers contains only a single dose of diluted allergen, as defined by a medical professional.
“7. The prediluted kit of claim 5, wherein each of the plurality of end-use sealable containers includes more than one diluted antigen.
“8. The prediluted kit of claim 7, wherein a plurality of National Drug Codes (NDC) is indicated on the container, wherein each of the plurality of NDCs is associated with a base concentrate antigen of each of the more than one diluted antigen.
“9. The prediluted kit of claim 5, further comprising an indicator disposed in association with each of the plurality of receiving pockets indicating a dilution level of the associated one of the end-use sealable containers included therein.
“10. The prediluted kit of claim 9, wherein the indicator comprises a color code, there being a separate color code associated with each dilution level and wherein each of the end-use sealable containers associated with each of the dilution levels has a corresponding color code disposed there on.
“11. The prediluted kit of claim 10, wherein each one of the plurality of end-use sealable containers is prepackaged as already including the base concentrate antigen at a sequential dilution level diluted in accordance with a predetermined sequential dilution process to provide sequentially lower dilution levels for use in an allergy desensitization regimen.
“12. The prediluted kit of claim 11, wherein the base concentrate antigen includes at least one specific antigen.
“13. The prediluted kit of claim 2, wherein the base concentrate antigen includes at least one specific antigen.
“14. The prediluted kit of claim 13, wherein each one of the plurality of end-use sealable containers is prepackaged as already including the base concentrate antigen at a sequential dilution level diluted in accordance with a predetermined sequential dilution process to provide sequentially lower dilution levels for use in an allergy desensitization regimen.
“15. The prediluted kit of claim 14, wherein the plurality of end-use sealable containers are sterile.
“16. The prediluted kit of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of end-use sealable containers includes only a single diluted antigen.
“17. The prediluted kit of claim 1, wherein each of the end-use sealable containers contains only a single dose of diluted allergen, as defined by a medical professional.
“18. The prediluted kit of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of end-use sealable containers includes more than one diluted antigen.
“19. The prediluted kit of claim 18, further comprising a container housing the plurality of end-use sealable containers, wherein a plurality of National Drug Codes (NDC) is indicated on the container, wherein each of the plurality of NDCs is associated with a base concentrate antigen of each of the more than one diluted antigen.
“20. The prediluted kit of claim 1, wherein the plurality of end-use sealable containers are sterile.”