Lawrence Eichenfield, MD: On Verrica Receiving Permanent J-Code for Cantharidin Treatment of Molluscum

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This segment of Eichenfield’s interview features a discussion about the recent announcement of a J-Code for the molluscum contagiosum treatment cantharidin.

In July of 2023, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved Verrica Pharmaceuticals’ cantharidin topical solution 0.7% (Ycanth) for molluscum contagiosum, making the drug the first treatment for the viral-borne skin condition.1

The drug was previously known as VP-102, and was formulated for administration through a single-use applicator. It involved topical dosing and used a targeted delivery system.

Lawrence Eichenfield, MD, chief of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, spoke with HCPLive about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) permanent J-Code (J7354) for cantharidin.

Eichenfield was first asked about the impact of the J-Code designation from CMS as far as the accessibility and affordability of the drug for clinicians and patients.

“So, the J-Code is actually crucially important, as a way for the clinician is to be able to get the drug and process the drug so that patients can get it and then it can be reimbursed, so that there's an appropriate ability to utilize it,” Eichenfield explained. “And without the J-Code, it was just this indeterminate ‘how do you check off to get paid for the paid for the product?’ So I do think that there's different models, but the J-Code allows what we call the buy-and-bill model.”

Eichenfield noted that this model for billing involves buying the product, having it handy, and then dropping in the J-Code in as part of the billing so that the supply will then be reimbursed.

“Having that permanent J-Code shows that, from a CMS standpoint, they've acknowledged that this product is appropriately used,” Eichenfield said. “But there's just a practicality of getting it reimbursed, which will allow it easier for dermatologists to get it into their like get it into their offices and and use it regularly.”

Additionally, Eichenfield noted that he believes there will be a transformation of practice, as dermatologists will use this new product and get it into the hands of patients and get it reimbursed.

“There may be subsets of patients where it's not included in that in their coverage, and then we might have to go with prescriptions from a specialty pharmacy that gets sent to the doctor for administration,” Eichenfield said. “That'd be less efficient, clearly, than having it in the office. But the J-Code is one of those really practical aspects of necessity. I'm really excited to get that out. I think it'll help the uptake of the new cantharidin product.”

The J-Code is slated to be fully published on April 1, 2024. To find out more about Eichfield’s discussion on this topic, view the full interview above.

The quotes contained in this description were edited for clarity.

References

  1. T Smith. FDA Approves VP-102 for Molluscum Contagiosum. HCPLive. July 21, 2023. https://www.hcplive.com/view/fda-approves-vp-102-molluscum-contagiosum. Date accessed: February 5, 2024.
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