A St. Louis physician who runs a start-up disease management company is offering to freeze rates for the next three years, based on higher use of prescriptions that have been found to be effective through gene-therapy research.
David Moskowitz, M.D., president of GenoMed, concedes that he has no contracts yet for the company's DM approach, which involves widespread use of ACE inhibitors and another drug for patients with a variety of chronic diseases.
He says he made his offer a few days ago at a meeting of a local grocery workers union who are striking over rising healthcare costs but was ejected from the meeting.
But Moskowitz, a practicing nephrologist, says his company can back up its promise to freeze healthcare costs.
He adds that Kent Boyer, a St. Louis-based disease management executive at Great-West Healthcare in Denver, is interested in adapting a plan. Boyer could not be reached in time for deadline.
Physicians have been awaiting the day when knowledge of the human genome will help pinpoint patients with a predilection to certain chronic conditions so they can be treated with preventive measures in advance.
Under co-called genomics-based medicine, costs could be kept down because only those patients who need the treatment would get it, and the preventive treatments would avert expensive hospitalizations. But so far, no one has successfully put this theory into practice.
Moskowitz says he can now do this for patients with kidney disease, cancer, heart conditions and autoimmune diseases by using ACE inhibitors or a related drug, the angiotensin II receptor blocker, also known as ARB.
Moskowitz says that a particular gene in the human genome, the ACE gene, has been linked to heart conditions for 50 years, but his own research--in two dozen trials over the past 10 years--has also linked it to other chronic conditions.
He says he has successfully prescribed the two drugs to patients with kidney disease, cancer, heart conditions and autoimmune conditions, such as West Nile virus. He says he has seen marked improvements in patients' conditions and much lower rates of hospitalization.