Time is never on the side of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America (MTPA), which makes ALS treatment Radicava, wanted to speed up the process of finding healthcare and infusion centers, so it created (PDF) an open database for patients dubbed the ALS Care Locator.
Radicava is an infused drug the FDA approved two years ago to slow the decline of physical function in patients with ALS. A previous version of the ALS care database was available to physicians and healthcare providers to guide patients, but the new platform allows anyone to access the information directly from the Radicava website.
MTPA maintains the database, in which each healthcare or infusion center reports specific details about the sites such as contact information, hours, amenities offered and insurance coverage. When requests from centers to be added to the locator come in to MTPA, employees visit each one to make sure the centers or providers are who and what they say, said Kevin O’Brien, vice president of market access at MTPA.
The goal of the locator is “to empower the patient and give them the choice—do they want home infusion or do they want to go to an infusion center? If they go to an infusion center, what are the amenities? Do they have Wi-Fi? What’s the best site of care for their insurance?” he said.
In just the first few weeks of testing, the website received 30,000 hits. With the official announcement of the locator last week, O’Brien said he expects that momentum to continue. There are currently about 700 providers in the database, but with the expanded direct-contact platform and publicity, he also expects growth there as well becoming “several times larger” in the coming months. MTPA plans to use its field reimbursement managers to spread the word, along with patient advocacy group engagement and social media posts.