David Boone speaks with MD Magazine about bridging the gap in allergy care

What can primary care providers and companies like United Allergy Services do to address the allergy epidemic in this country? UAS's Chief Executive Officer, David Boone, recently discussed that and more in an interview with MD Magazine.

"It's a lifestyle issue, it's a productivity issue, it's a health issue that leads to a lot of bad complications," Boone said in an interview at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting.

You can read a full transcript of the interview by clicking here, or watch it below!


United Allergy Services' Hugh Spires on providing counsel in a time of growth and innovation

United Allergy Services' General Counsel and Vice President, Hugh Spires, recently spoke with Vanguard Law Magazine about the work we and the providers we work with are doing to improve lives, as well as the role he's played in helping UAS push new boundaries in allergy care. You can currently read the article by clicking here.

The article begins by noting our model, which looks to help primary care providers address the gap in allergy care around the United States:

"As Spires notes, more than 60 million Americans suffer from allergies—be they the result of food, animals, drugs, the environment or numerous other factors—and allowing people to receive treatment through their family doctor is more convenient and less costly. The company’s protocol is also safe enough to be administered at home, so patients don’t have to go to an allergist’s office every week. Because of this convenience, Spires notes, UAS patients complete treatment at a significantly higher rate than the national average, and they also have a significantly lower risk of an adverse reaction than if they received treatment from an allergist."

One area of growth that Spires and the article reference is a point of great excitement at UAS: Allergy Allay Drops, our company's imminent foray into providing sublingual immunotherapy drops. These orally administered drops, still in the pilot test phase as of mid-November, will offer a needle-free alternative to our core service line of subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots), allowing UAS and our providers to impact the lives of more allergy sufferers than ever. Of course, launching a new product line in the healthcare space requires a variety of considerations, including legal ones.

"To ease fears around needles—and to accommodate patients with hectic schedules—the company has developed a proprietary formula for sub-lingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, in which drops are placed under a patient’s tongue. Because these would be among the first branded allergy therapy drops for humans, Spires is immersed in branding and copyright law, while establishing relationships with pilot clinics and working to trademark the name Allergy Allay Drops."

As a member of our leadership team since 2016, Spires has been pivotal in providing legal direction while providing his daily guidance in all other matters to affect our company. We are proud of the work he does as our General Counsel and happy to see that effort highlighted by Vanguard.


United Allergy Services C.E.O. talks about redefining the allergy care industry

United Allergy Services' Chief Executive Officer David Boone recently wrote an article for D CEO Healthcare about the vital role that primary care providers can play in addressing the nationwide gap in allergy care.

Boone addresses the limitations in how the healthcare industry has traditionally treated allergy sufferers -- most of whom, as he points out, turn to over-the-counter medications that "provide only symptomatic relief."

Those who do seek out long-term help through allergen immunotherapy have typically needed to visit specialists, which poses its own problems. Boone highlights the scarcity of allergists around the country, especially in small towns. He adds that the amount of time and office visits required make this option prohibitively inconvenient for many allergy sufferers. With environmental changes extending allergy seasons, all signs point to seasonal allergies only growing as a national health issue in the years to come.

"As more people fall victim to seasonal allergies and other disorders brought on by environmental variables like warmer climates, the healthcare industry must do what it can to keep up with the growing demand for high-quality, convenient care," Boone says.

Fortunately, general practitioners can help. By working with ancillary companies like UAS, they're able to increase access to quality care to their allergy-suffering population. Patients benefit by remaining under the care of their primary care provider and from a treatment method that allows them to self-administer, safely, in the convenience of their own home. As Boone later states, maintaining continuity of care under the primary care provider is something that benefits all parties.

"The fact is, allergy care is primary care," he says. "Access through general practitioners is especially needed in small towns where specialists are often scarce. Within primary care practices, better accessibility will help exponentially more allergy sufferers than can be handled by relatively few specialists. And expanded ancillary services can have a significant impact on the financial health of a primary care doctor’s practice."

To read the entire D CEO Healthcare article, click here.


Press Release: Nation's Largest Allergy Care Provider Celebrates 10 years

San Antonio-based United Allergy Services continues to serve and expand.

SAN ANTONIO (October, 2019) – Since its founding in 2009, United Allergy Services has grown into the leading allergy diagnostic and immunotherapy services provider in the nation. Headquartered in San Antonio, the company has more patients currently on its protocol than any other allergy service provider. Over the past decade, UAS has provided allergy testing to more than 525,000 patients, nearly 350,000 of whom went on to treatment.

“We’re all so honored to have been able to provide life-changing treatment to allergy sufferers for as long as we have,” said Dr. Frederick Schaffer, UAS Chief Medical Officer. “With 10 years under our belt, we’re proud to be the leading organization in allergy testing and at-home allergy immunotherapy nationwide. We can’t wait to further expand our services and bring lifelong relief into even more homes.”

UAS offers patients a proprietary approach that effectively addresses the root causes of allergies instead of just the symptoms. Initial patient testing is easily conducted with a primary care physician, after which UAS helps create a provider-recommended protocol. Immunotherapy decreases a patient’s sensitivity to allergens by building tolerance in their immune system through gradual exposure over several months or years. Protocols are designed with consideration for each patient’s needs and can be conveniently administered at home.

At-home treatment has proved to be a main component in our continued growth and success in providing positive, long-lasting results. Patients complete our immunotherapy protocols at a significantly higher rate than the national average. Furthermore, patients who use our dedicated app, myAllergyPal, see an additional 36 percent increase in completion over those who do not.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and asthma every year, and UAS is working to provide convenient, comfortable testing and immunotherapy to as many as possible. With certified allergy specialists in over 500 locations across the United States, UAS has built relationships with nearly 3,000 practitioners and provided 33 million doses to patients, more than 80 percent of which were administered at home. UAS also provides practices with personnel, supplies, equipment, and marketing and patient materials needed for an integrated allergy center to function smoothly and efficiently.

“We owe our success at United Allergy Services to the compassion and vision of our employees and the physicians who use our services,” said CEO David Boone. “Those who are on the ground changing people’s lives are the true driving force of our company. And to the patients who have entrusted us with your care over the past 10 years, thank you for putting your health and comfort in our hands.”


United Allergy Services names new Vice President of Strategic Growth

United Allergy Services has announced the hiring of David Cheetham as the organization’s Vice President of Strategic Growth. Cheetham will drive the organization’s expansion efforts to provide allergy diagnostics and long-term relief in a growing number of markets moving forward.

A leader with proven results, Cheetham is a healthcare distribution executive with over 20 years of experience improving supply and access throughout the industry, from large companies to startups. Prior to joining the team at UAS, David was the President & General Manager of the Manufacturer Services division of AmerisourceBergen Corporation before he co-founded Sonexus Health, LLC. He went on to navigate a successful acquisition transition to Cardinal Health Corporation and subsequently ran the Specialty Pharmaceutical Services Division.

“Adding a seasoned expert like David to our team will allow us to keep expanding our reach as an organization,” said David Boone, CEO of United Allergy Services. “Thanks to his valuable and proven skill set, we look forward to providing long-term allergy relief to more people than ever in the coming years.”

Starting on the United Allergy Services team as a consultant in January 2019, Cheetham advised departments including operations, procurement and supply chain management, and payer relations. He currently manages UAS’ strategic growth, project management, implementation, and marketing teams, with an emphasis on strategic and sustainable growth through diversification.

As Vice President of Strategic Growth, Cheetham will oversee United Allergy Services’ expansion into new markets, physicians’ offices, and product lines.

“I’m honored to be a part of the team at United Allergy Services for this new stage in my career,” Cheetham said. “We’re leading the industry in helping allergy sufferers nationwide get the treatment they need. This organization has huge potential to expand its reach in the coming years, and I think we can do just that.”


Back to School is the time to get tested before Fall Allergy Season begins

As Americans return to work and school from summer vacation, the fall allergy season will begin to impact many of the nearly 50 million allergy sufferers across the country. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Americans lost more than 6 million work and school days in 2018, costing about $18 billion. While this is a busy time for many, we recommend that those suffering take control of their allergy symptoms by getting tested before symptoms are present.

A key step in understanding what triggers your symptoms is with an allergy test. Through a series of gentle skin pricks, a patient’s skin is exposed to geographically specific seasonal and perennial allergens plus common indoor allergy triggers. Evaluation of the skin’s reaction identifies the allergens to target for each individual.

“For almost any medical condition, early detection often yields the best results. Allergies should be treated no differently,” said Dr. Frederick M. Schaffer, chief medical officer of United Allergy Services. “As allergy sufferers know, a rise in allergy symptoms typically coincides with an increase in medication use. Because the presence of antihistamines can impact the accuracy of test results, we try to encourage people to get tested before their allergy triggers are in the air.”

While allergic triggers vary between regions and patients, the most common cause this time of year is ragweed, a common allergen that can travel for hundreds of miles and has a pollination season that continues to lengthen.

Once test results are analyzed, a patient has several options for treatment. The most effective option is immunotherapy, with up to 85% seeing improvement through the course of treatment. Through treatments like ours, patients can undergo immunotherapy at home while under the care of a general practitioner, taking control of their allergies and working towards long-term relief from their symptoms. While we recommend at least three years of treatment for patients to experience long-term results, many experience some symptom relief after the first 12 months, which could be good news for when fall allergy season comes around next year.

 

Sources:

CDC, Gateway to Health Communication and Social Marketing Practice, Allergies, 2018
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Fall Allergy Capitals report, 2018
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Climate Change Indicators: Ragweed Pollen Season, 2016
“Allergen-specific immunotherapy provides immediate, long-term and preventive clinical effects in children and adults,” Jacobsen et al. Clinical and Translational Allergy, 2012


San Antonio Express-News article looks at how UAS is moving forward

In July, the San Antonio Express-News published an article on United Allergy Services' history within the allergy space and how our company is moving forward from here. The story titled "San Antonio-based company shakes up allergy industry," touches on some of the bumps and industry pushback that UAS has faced on its way to establishing itself as a leader in the world of home-based immunotherapy.

While the piece also echoes our detractors' stance -- one that UAS has combated in previous litigation, also noted in the article -- featured quotes from UAS Chief Executive Officer David Boone and board-certified immunologist Dr. Edward Brooks reflect why we as a company continue to push forward. These reasons include the nationwide need for better access to allergy care, especially in rural communities, as well as the ability for allergen immunotherapy to improve lives and help reduce the economic impact that allergies have in America.

"'We really revolutionized allergy care, which made the allergists angry,' CEO David Boone said. I think it caught a lot of people off-guard.'

'There’s no doubt that there’s a need for it, especially in the small towns,' where allergists are often scarce, [Dr. Brooks] said. Despite more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies, he said, allergists make up a small specialty in medicine. 'Obviously, we can’t serve the entire population,' he said. Companies such as UAS, he added, could screen patients and refer the more complicated cases to specialists."

You can read the entire article, written by healthcare reporter Laura Garcia, on Express-News website by clicking here or as a PDF by clicking here.


MySA story highlights United Allergy Services' role in the allergy space

In July, United Allergy Services was featured in a story on mySA.com. The first section of the article, titled "How immunotherapy is changing lives for people with allergies", looks at the allergy epidemic in America:

"Allergies pose a genuine health risk beyond stuffy noses and itchy, watery eyes. Those with intense allergic symptoms find their quality of life drastically affected, leading to missed school and work days, or even emergency room visits. Severe allergy sufferers may experience intense congestion, sneezing, hives or eczema, plus difficulty breathing. Of the 26 million Americans who suffer from asthma, around 60% have allergic asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, meaning that the serious, life-threatening respiratory distress of asthma is triggered by allergic reactions to pollen and other substances."

The article goes on to explain the history of allergen immunotherapy and how it can still play a role in bridging the gap in allergy care:

"More than a century later, only 20% of allergy sufferers see an allergy specialist. And those that do must stick to a regimented schedule of frequent in-office visits for treatment for it to be effective. Now, innovation in allergy immunotherapy means patients can be tested by their general practitioner instead of seeking out a specialist, and then conduct their own treatment at home. That makes it more convenient to not only seek treatment but also stay committed to the immunotherapy protocol as it helps their bodies build up resistance to the allergens that impact their lives. At-home immunotherapy allows allergy sufferers to treat themselves over time."

The piece closes with a look at the efficacy of UAS's treatment program, including a quote from one patient whose quality of life has benefited from immunotherapy:

"Tiffany Conner of North Carolina says, 'I have lived with allergies my entire life and now I have almost no symptoms. Going through at-home immunotherapy treatment was the best decision I could have made.'"

You can read the entire story from mySA.com by clicking here.


2018 forecasts call for longer allergy seasons

2018 forecasts call for longer allergy seasons


March 12, 2018

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American allergy sufferers have come to know what to expect throughout the year – oak in spring; grass over the late spring and early summer months; ragweed in late summer through autumn; cedar in fall through winter – as their fluctuating symptoms follow the changing of the seasons.

Recent years, however, have seen significant shifts in allergy seasons, with some occurring earlier in the year and others lasting longer than normal. With global pollen counts also on the rise, these changes paint a slightly different picture for allergy sufferers around the country. Here’s what you need to know as you look ahead to the rest of 2018.

Earlier spring allergies

For several years, spring allergies have been occurring earlier. That means plants and trees, many of which bud when temperatures get warm enough, flowering weeks ahead of schedule and releasing more pollen into the air.

Punxsutawney Phil may have recently called for six more weeks of winter, but that will not likely apply to spring allergies in 2018. In Nevada, pollen monitors have already registered unseasonably high counts, signaling an early start to this spring allergy season. A February report in New Orleans highlighted a high number of hospitalizations due to allergies, while doctors in Orlando believe their city could be entering “one of the worst allergy seasons ever.”

Longer weed pollination seasons

Warmer temperatures don’t just mean earlier springs – they also mean milder autumns, which lead to longer pollination seasons for ragweed and other weeds.

Ragweed is an allergenic plant that pollinates in tropical and subtropical climates, typically the season lasts from August through October. It is one of the most common causes of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) for millions of Americans in the autumn months. Ragweed thrives in warmer temperatures and is dispersed by the wind, with each plant capable of producing up to one billion pollen grains. Its pollen has been found as far as 400 miles out to sea and 2 miles up in the atmosphere.

With longer autumns come longer ragweed seasons. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the EPA found a dramatic increase in ragweed seasonacross many parts of the United States and Canada, with select areas experiencing almost a month more of ragweed season.

Changes in climate have not only affected when ragweed season occurs; they may also be extending where it occurs. In Europe, the far-reaching weed is expected to become more prevalent in new geographical regions that are becoming more climatically hospitable to it. Such a development would impact millions of people in countries like Denmark, France, Germany and Russia who are not currently exposed to it.

Higher year-round pollen counts

Underlying these two seasonal shifts is an expectation in the scientific community that year-round pollen counts will only continue to rise in the coming decades. A 2012 report by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that pollen counts are expected to more than double by 2040.

“In the year 2000, pollen counts averaged 8,455. Fast forward to 2040, and these counts are anticipated to reach 21,735. Researchers predict counts in 20-year increments up to the year 2100 and are incorporating various climatic factors in their models including weather patterns, changes in precipitation and temperature.”

For allergy sufferers with allergic asthma, higher pollen counts inevitably leads to increased risk and severity of asthma attacks, along with worsened symptoms on a week-to-week basis.

What can you do to prepare?

With more intense allergy seasons on the future forecast, people with airborne allergies will benefit from preparing as best they can. The first step is knowing what their sensitivities are, ideally by undergoing an allergy test. By doing so, you will understand the times of year that you’re most at risk and be able to plan their avoidance accordingly.

There’s also a number of allergy treatment options you can explore, from over-the-counter medications to allergen immunotherapy. While the former can help you combat symptoms on a daily basis, the latter offers a long-term solution – one which may be all the more necessary given the changes in the air.


5 interesting cases of allergic cross-reactivity

5 interesting cases of allergic cross-reactivity


February 2, 2018

Allergy sufferers cope with their sensitivities in a number of ways, from over-the-counter medication and immunotherapy treatment to simple avoidance. Yet, even if a person was to employ every known method of avoidance, it’s still possible he or she would still experience an allergic reaction at a time when an allergen is nowhere to be seen.

The reason why is cross-reactivity, a phenomenon in which “the proteins in one substance are similar to the proteins found in another substance”. That means that a person allergic to a particular pollen may see a similar reaction after eating a nut, spice, or piece of fruit that is cross-reactive with that particular pollen.

When we consume a cross-reactive protein, the ensuing reaction is known as oral allergy syndrome, or pollen-food allergy syndrome. Oral allergy syndrome can be triggered by a variety of foods that many of us eat on a daily basis, resulting in mild to moderate symptoms that range from swelling and itching around the mouth to watery eyes and runny noses.

With that in mind, here are five cases of cross-reactivity to keep an eye out for the next time you’re at the grocery store.

1. Cypress pollen and peaches, citrus fruits

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A recently discovered cross-reactivity according to Science Daily, peaches and citrus fruits such as oranges have demonstrated a possibility for allergic reactions. For people with cypress allergies, that is an issue not only when eating raw citrus fruits but when eating fruit-based products such as jams and marmalades.

2. Ragweed and melons, bananas, cantaloupe

Weeds are cross-reactive with a number of foods, and the association between ragweed and these sweet fruits is among the most common. Ragweed season typically occurs between late summer through fall, but ragweed allergy sufferers may find themselves facing similar symptoms after biting into a banana or slice of melon or cantaloupe.

3. Grass and watermelon, melons, tomatoes and oranges

Grasses like Timothy and Johnson can wreak havoc on allergy sufferers. So, too, can their cross-reactive cousins in the produce aisle of your local supermarket.

4. Birch and peanuts, hazelnuts

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Many people suffer from common peanut allergies, while some may actually be allergic to birch tree pollen, which shares a similar protein to both peanuts and hazelnuts. According to PeanutAllergy.com, cooked and roasted nuts may also pose a threat, since their proteins are less sensitive to heat than others.

5. Mugwort and spices (anis, basil, chamomile, cilantro, dill, fennel, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, tarragon, thyme, and more)

Looking to spice up your life? It’s advised that you make sure you’re not allergic to mugwort, a weed that is cross-reactive with a number of spices you’ll find in your cupboard.

There are many other cross-reactive associations not listed here, which is why it’s important to understand both what your allergic sensitivities are, and what fruits, vegetables, nuts or spices they may be associated with.

Allergy awareness and avoidance are two positive steps you can take to combat allergies in your day-to-day life, but a better understanding of cross-reactivity is also important, helping ensure you know what to pick up – and what not to pick up – the next time you go grocery shopping.