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The sickle cell disease therapy will now be on the Preferred Drug List.
The Texas Health and Human Services (THHS) has removed the prior authorization requirement and added Endari (L-glutamine oral powder) to its Preferred Drug List for the Medicaid program effective July 29, 2021. Developed by Emmaus Life Sciences in Torrance, Calif., Endari is indicated to treat the complications of sickle cell disease in adults and children 5 years and older. The FDA approved Endari in July 2017.
Sickle cell disease is a rare, hereditary blood disorder that affects about 100,000 patients in the United States. It occurs in about one out of every 365 Black or African-American births, and about one out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births.
Sickle cell disease is caused by a genetic mutation in the beta-chain of hemoglobin that distorts red blood cells into crescent shapes, and can lower oxygen levels in the blood. Sickle cell crises can lead to organ damage, stroke, pulmonary complications, and can lead to potentially fatal complications.
“This change, based on review and input from the Texas Drug Utilization Review Board, will afford health care providers and their sickle cell disease patients direct access to Endari,” Yutaka Niihara, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Emmaus, said in a statement. “This is consistent with our goal is to make Endari readily available to patients throughout the country for whom it is indicated.”