Introducing Baxalta!

When does a company change its name, especially when it’s got a good thing going on? 

We’ve seen change in our bleeding disorder community when one company buys another—called an acquisition. Some of the factor manufacturers have been acquired through the years, sometimes with a name change: can you think of any? Specialty pharmacies have seen a fast and furious amount of consolidation: your speciality pharmacy may have been one of them. It’s been going on for over 10 years now. So fast and often, you may have missed a few!
But when the biggest factor manufacturer changes its name, that’s worthy of a blog. And it’s not from aquisition—it hasn’t been bought. Baxter Healthcare International, as part of its strategic planning, has now become two separate companies. The company has long been a leader in hospital supplies—like dialysis equipment, IV pumps and solutions, and biologics—like factor. Baxter’s BioSciences division is where its factor products are made.
So Baxter has spun off the BioSciences division, which is now a completely separate company. Headquarters will remain in the Chicago area, but its R&D division will move to Cambridge, Massachusetts, about 30 minutes from my house, in fact! Cambridge is the center of the biotech universe. 
The new company is called Baxalta, a combination of the familiar name Baxter and “alta” which in Latin means “high” or “above.”
As a consumer, you’ll see eventually new packaging and a new name. But I think most of the people you know at Baxalta, like your local rep, will stay the same for now. 
Please check out the new website, and get to know Baxalta!

This post and images are sponsored by Baxalta 


Great Book I Just Read

Dr. Mutter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine [Kindle]

by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

An intriguing, ethical, compassionate physician and brilliant surgeon, who introduced plastic surgery to the US from Paris, Dr. Thomas Dent Mutter seemed destined to make history. Orphaned at an early age, impoverished, he nonetheless rose the ranks in the difficult and often snobbish Philadelphia medical community, becoming beloved by students and patients for his expertise as well as compassionate treatment of patients. At a time when the best surgeon was often the fastest (there was no anesthesia for a long time!), Mutter was highly regarded, especially for treating cases of “monsters,” those people scarred by horrific accidents, or having deformities. He dedicated his life especially to those deformed by disease, birth or accident, and his contributions are now in the macabre but utterly fascinating Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. I’ve been there and was amazed! It’s a legacy for a man who is admirable for his contributions, dedication and ethical manners. I couldn’t put this book down! Five/five stars.

Navigate Hemophilia with Nava!!

Here’s a great program offered by Baxter Healthcare Corporation.
Baxter’s “Nava” offers patients with hemophilia personalized support. Nava is a website available 24/7, with a Call Center/Live Chat available for more personal assistance. Nava offers:
·       Personalized support program that gives you personalized tools and resources to help you successfully manage school, career, family and other life situations. 
o    Connects you with insurance experts to help you navigate the maze of coverage issues. 
o    Connects you with mentors who can offer support and real understanding as someone who’s walked in your shoes. 
o    Schedules one-on-one coaching to help you set and achieve your life goals – career, education, relationships, a healthy lifestyle and more!

·       Open and free to anyone within the bleeding conditions community regardless of treatment

o    People with bleeding conditions
o    Parents of children with bleeding conditions
o    Supporters or other family members
o    Healthcare professionals

For more info:

This announcement is a public service, sponsored by Baxter Healthcare Corporation.

Great Book I Just Read

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl [Kindle]
Timothy Egan

The sobering story of the settling of the American prairies in the late 1890s, with the encouragement of government, and consequent stripping of the land by overfarming. The overfarming destroyed the trees and ground cover that would have protected from dust storms. In time, parts of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska were called the Dust Bowl as enormous walls of dust, thick enough to braise skin, barrelled down on inhabitants for years. Fine, powdery dust infiltrated every item in its path. Babies slept in filthy cribs, covered with dust. Cattle died as their bellies filled with dirt; children died, some before turning one from “dust pneumonia.” Crops failed, careers destroyed. The book chronicles several personal stories, and also reviews the government attempts to restore the land through Roosevelt’s New Deal. Be prepared to be staggered by the suffering, the history, the beautiful writing style, and learn deeply about a sad time in our country’s history. Four/five stars

Pulse on the Road in San Diego!

Pulse on the Road is our three-hour insurance symposium that updates families with bleeding disorders on insurance reform in their state, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and how to compare and research insurance policies. Sponsored by Baxter Healthcare, implemented by us, we bring expert speakers, like NHF policy expert Nicole Quinn-Gato, to families around the country.

This week, San Diego! We had a cozy gathering of about 40 family members at the San Diego Zoo, minus about 40 kids who went off with “Birdman” for the kids program. Seated in the Treetop Conference room, families listed to our speakers all morning, while Spanish translation was provided by specialists to our Latino families.

Elizabeth Stoltz, Senior Manager, Healthcare Economics & Reimbursement at Baxter Heathcare, presented an overview of the Affordable Care Act, including the many benefits and things to watch out for. It’s 2014, and about 8 million Americans have enrolled in the Marketplace—the on-line place to shop and compare insurance plans. Remember, it’s mandatory now that every American have health insurance or face a penalty.

Elizabeth Stoltz of Baxter Healthcare

I next spoke about the importance of choosing your own plan. While there is a lot of technically policy stuff to cover in these symposia, I aways stress to the audience we teach this to save you money, out of pocket expenses. And to emphasize this, I ask a question after each speaker, relevant to what they just presented on. Whoever gets the right answer gets $10! This wakes up our audience, creates a friendly competitive spirit, and is just plain fun!

Our audience got so into this game that even Robert, the man who set up the translator booths—and has nothing to do with hemophilia—answered one of our questions correctly first! Of course, he didn’t get the $10 as he is not related to hemophilia!

Laurie helps Taylor with the Marketplace
Mateo reads a My First Factor Book!

And lastly, Nicole gave a one hour live demonstration of “,” California’s marketplace. Wow, what a challenge! The exercise showed how complicated the California Marketplace is; it was a tough exercise, but I was proud at how families stuck with it, got the answers they needed, and ask us all for assistance in locating certain pages on the site. We had provided laptops for each table and they were all used well!

Lunch was served afterwards, where we got a chance to socialize with the families. This was then followed by goodbyes and a visit to the largest zoo in the world, compliments of Pulse on the Road!

Next stop? Houston in August!

Get the Education Advantage

Did you know that LA Kelley Communications had the very first on-line listing of national scholarships? We started this many years ago, and now update it yearly. Go to our scholarship page to learn more. But this week I want to highlight one right here.

For the fourth consecutive year, Baxter Healthcare Corporation is sponsoring the Education Advantage scholarship program for hemophilia A patients. Baxter has increased its funding of this program year after year.

To date, 104 scholarships have been awarded, totaling $565,000. Students working toward a bachelor’s degree are eligible for up to $15,000 per year. Students seeking an associate’s degree or pursuing a technical/vocational certificate program are eligible for up to $2,500 per year. Scholarships are renewable for up to three years or until the student finishes school.

The program is administered by Scholarship America, the nation’s leading non-profit scholarship administrator. Scholarship America is solely responsible for reviewing all scholarship applications, determining financial need and eligibility, and selecting scholarship recipients.

The Education Advantage program will start accepting new scholarship applications on February 1, 2013.  Completed applications are due
to Scholarship America and postmarked by April 1, 2013.
The program goes beyond financial aid with resources to help people with hemophilia A get more out of life, including education planning, career development, health management and community involvement.
For more information on the program, visit or call Scholarship America at 877-544-3018.
Interesting Book I Just Read
Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkum (Kindle)
Scott Berkun may be a professional public speaker, but speaking and writing are two different media. This book is a mixed bag. He shares his own career as a public speaker, trying to be part comic and part storyteller, but neither really works at first. The opening chapters are awkward and clumsy, with repeated references to aliens and spaceships for some reason. Lots of the information he shares is info you can get from much better written books. But midway through the book it does get more interesting. It becomes less about his direct experiences (which are kind of lame) and more about the psychology of presenting, listening and delivering. I found the chapter on TV and other media interesting (perhaps because I don’t do a whole lot of that and wanted to know more).
Know that at least one-third of the book is appendices. These contain good condensed information. I didn’t like his use of profanity,
and wondered what kind of a speaker teaches about what to beware of when he himself swears! Unless you know your audience intimately, unless you are on the level of a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, or unless you are a comedian, never use profanity for risk of alienating your audience. Two and a half out of five stars.

Recombinant VWD Product on the Horizon?

I just received word that Baxter has started Phase III of its recombinant VWD product. The investigational product is BAX 111, the first recombinant von Willebrand product in clinical development.

Currently, we have Humate-P (manufactured by CSL Behring) and wilate (manufactured by Octapharma), which are both plasma-derived. Wilate was the first product indicated for the treatment of bleeds in VWD patients. Humate-P has been the standard for years in the US. But don’t forget Alphanate (from Grifols), originally for treating hemophilia A bleeds, and now indicated for treatment of VWD patients (FDA-approved for surgical and/or invasive procedures in certain patients with VWD). Not FDA-indicated but sometimes effective is Koate-DVI (Grifols, distributed by Kedrion in US), because it has VWD in it, along with FVIII.

No one can say that America doesn’t have choice!

It’s always exciting when there are new products on the horizon. Please remember too that all US FDA-approved drugs are considered both safe and effective for treatment of bleeding for VWD patients.

The Baxter study will assess a minimum of 36 patients in trial sites in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan and India. Information about the trial including enrollment is available at or by calling 1-805-372-3322.

I am quite sure, that when and if the product hits the market, Baxter will think of a catchy name for BAX 111!

For more info, call Marie Kennedy, (805) 372-3543– I know her and she is a very trusted source and nice person!

Interesting Book I Just Read
The Nine Rooms of Happiness
by Lucy Danziger and Catherine Birndorf

This perky, feel-good book uses a clever metaphor for getting women to think about their life, stress level and aspirations: think of your life as a house, and each segment of your emotional life is a room. Basement (memories, childhood), Family room (family), living room (friends, relationships), bathroom (self-esteem, health) etc. In which room are you? Where do you have the most problems? Is your bathroom too close to your family room? In a sense, the authors are asking us to compartmentalize, ironically a task usually associated with men. The authors use real life vignettes from women of varying backgrounds and situations to reveal some universal anxieties women share, and then applying the “house” metaphor to show how they can get unstuck from their unhappy situation, and move into a different room, and therefore happiness.

Sound simplistic? It is. The book is okay for those new to the self-help genre and studying relationship and introspection; I think they will read it and come away feeling understood, optimistic and less alone with their unhappiness. But to someone who is well versed in more serious relationship books (Harriet Learner has excellent ones), this is psycho-lite. The book is based on many presuppositions: woman must have female friends, you must keep old friends in order to be happy (even if they drive you batty?), women are prone to anxieties, women are unhappy. I found the book putting much blame on women for their condition, which I am sure the authors didn’t intend! For example, why should a woman be made to feel in “denial” about getting older, or narcissistic because she tires of her long-time friends who are aging, speaking about grave plots, and do nothing to engage in life, while she is full of spirit and wants to take on life and adventures? Why is that a “problem,” as the authors clearly state? They insist she needs to keep these stick-in-the-mud friends while cultivating new friends. What is she doesn’t have time? What if some people really are just jerks and not just a result of a relationship problem stemming from “regression,” or “transference” or “denial”? The authors seem to have a psycho answer for everything, and not a street-smart, pragmatic way of viewing relationships.

A cookie cutter response to each vignette wears thin, as do the clichés, which run rampant (oops, there I just did it) in the book. “To have a relationship, you first have to relate” –really? The model is a clever idea, using a house, and no doubt some will feel helped by this book. It’s gotten pretty mixed reviews. Maybe good for novices, but when you finish this, move on to some serious relationship books, as this one is pop-psychology, cutesy and sends mixed messages. If you challenge the presuppositions, half the book is sunk. Two stars.

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