The Drug Channels blog delivers timely analysis and provocative opinions on pharmaceutical economics and the drug distribution system. It is written by Adam J. Fein, Ph.D., one of the country's foremost experts on pharmaceutical economics and channel strategy. Learn more...

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Profits in the 2016 Fortune 500: Manufacturers vs. Wholesalers, PBMs, and Pharmacies (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts, so I finish the forthcoming 2016-17 Economic Report on Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Specialty Distributors. Click here to see the original post and comments from June 2016. It's another timely rerun given the past week's discussions over drug channel profits.

Time for my annual review of the new Fortune 500 list. Every year, this is one of my favorite posts, because its helps us to “follow the dollar” and understand how drug channel intermediaries make money.

The 2016 list contains seven drug channels companies—AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, CVS Health, Express Scripts, McKesson, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. Assuming the Rite Aid-Walgreens deal happens, it will be six companies next year.

Using the Fortune data, I explore the profitability and shareholder returns of the largest public drug wholesalers, chain pharmacies, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). I compare these companies with the Fortune 500’s 11 pharmaceutical manufacturers and a separate survey of independent pharmacies.

It’s politically fashionable to bash drug makers. These data remind us that many other multi-billion dollar businesses make some gold as drugs move through the U.S. reimbursement and distribution system.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Key Insights on Drug Prices and Manufacturer Rebates from the New 2015 IMS Report (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts, so I can finish the forthcoming 2016-17 Economic Report on Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Specialty Distributors. Click here to see the original post and comments from April 2016

It's a timely rerun given the controversy and confusion about EpiPen and PBM rebates. Check out the great discussion in the comments below Thursday’s post. See also my $0.02 in The New York Times: Mylan Tries Again to Quell Pricing Outrage by Offering Generic EpiPen.

Last week, IMS Health’s IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics released Medicines Use and Spending in the U.S.–A Review of 2015 and Outlook to 2020. (Free download with registration.)

For the first time, IMS has reported net spending after rebates and discounts, which totaled more than $115 billion in 2015. List prices for brand-name drugs grew by 12.4% while net prices grew by a mere 2.8%. Kudos to IMS for having published these new data, which I hope will advance our national dialogue on drug spending.

Below, I highlight the report’s two most significant charts. Both make me wonder how much longer the industry’s gross-to-net status quo will last.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Real World Evidence & Market Access USA 2016

Eyeforpharma’s Real World Evidence & Market Access USA 2016 Summit
November 9-10, 2016 | Philadelphia

Innovative drugs, with ever-improving outcomes, are the future of any pharma company.

But for most of us, our ability to form partnerships and develop new value propositions in a patient-centric world are now just as important – if not more so. With external stakeholder pressures building, the focus has shifted to developing key partnerships in a patient-centric world.

The transition from volume to value is well underway. Eyeforpharma’s Real World Evidence & Market Access USA 2016 Summit is designed around this transition. Companies seek to find, create, and deliver value so that pharma, payers, providers and ultimately patients can benefit. Of course, it all starts with good leadership, and good evidence – the two pillars of Eyeforpharma’s Real World Evidence & Market Access USA 2016 Summit, now in its 6th year.

With two targeted tracks – dedicated to high-level managed markets, pricing & HEOR strategy, and next-generation real world data technologies – this annual gathering aims to give experts a platform to shape the future of access in pharma, bringing everyone to the table from patients to payers and providers. Exclusive panel debates will bring pharma face-to-face with its key stakeholders, while insightful case studies from Lilly, Novartis, GSK, Pfizer and BMS will ensure attendees go back to their jobs with a deeper, more intelligent understanding of the solutions to the industry’s biggest challenges.

Save a place at this unmissable summit for you and your team today. Use discount code 4639CHANNELS for a $300 discount on registration.

Eyeforpharma looks forward to seeing you in Philly this November!

The content of Sponsored Posts does not necessarily reflect the views of Pembroke Consulting, Inc., Drug Channels, or any of its employees.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How Payers Contributed to the EpiPen Pricing Controversy

Ronny Gal, Ph.D., a senior analyst at the investment bank Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., just published a great client note on the Mylan EpiPen pricing brouhaha. Ronny graciously agreed to let me share his viewpoints below.

As a contrast to the mainstream media coverage, Ronny offers a grounded, industry-informed perspective. As he notes, payers responded to Mylan’s price actions by shifting costs to consumers. It’s a useful lesson on how drug prices to consumers are really determined.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Drug Channels News Roundup, August 2016: Rite Aid, Teva, Anda, AmerisourceBergen, Specialty Pharmacies, and Walmart

Sigh. Summer is almost over. Time to pack away your bathing suit, send the kids back to school, and savor this curated collection of curiosities, combed from the Drug Channels beach.

In this issue:
  • Mini me! Rite Aid finally launches a 90-day program with its PBM
  • A warning for big wholesalers? Teva and Perrigo both buy distributors
  • Unusual: Specialty Pharmacies’ Fraud Risks with U&C
  • Steady On: An enlightening interview with Peyton Howell of AmerisourceBergen
Plus, Walmart demonstrates its true commitment to health and wellness with a bold new food innovation. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

P.S. Check out @DrugChannels on Twitter for my daily links to stuff you should be reading.

Monday, August 22, 2016

7th Specialty Product Distribution and Channel Optimization Summit

7th Specialty Product Distribution and Channel Optimization Summit
October 26-27, 2016 | Princeton, NJ

This October, navigate evolving trends, models and strategies to propel commercial success and ensure patient access at the 7th Specialty Product Distribution and Channel Optimization Summit. Key stakeholders within the supply chain continuum representing manufacturers, GPOs, wholesalers, PBMs, hubs, specialty pharmacies and health plans unite to address the complexity and evolving need to effectively customize channel strategies.

Perspectives and Innovative Insights Representing:

AHIP • Avella Specialty Pharmacy • Biogen • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan • Blue Fin Group • Center for Pharmacy Practice Accreditation • Cleveland Clinic • DHL • D2 Pharma Consulting • Depomed • Fairview Pharmacy Services • Gentry Health Services • Incyte Corporation • Intarcia Therapeutics • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals • Managed Health Care Associates • MAXOR • McKesson • Mylan • New Era Alliance • Onco360 • Orsini Healthcare • Polaris • Raptor Pharmaceuticals • Theratechnologies • UCB

For more information, please download the complete agenda or visit

Drug Channels readers will save $400 off of the standard registration rate when they use discount code ZSA458.*

*Cannot be combined with other offers or used towards a current registration. Cannot be combined with special category rates. Other restrictions may apply.

The content of Sponsored Posts does not necessarily reflect the views of Pembroke Consulting, Inc., Drug Channels, or any of its employees.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Retail Pharmacist Salary Growth Stalls, while Hospital Pharmacists’ Salaries Rise

There’s some bad news in our latest exclusive annual analysis of pharmacist salaries, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) recently released Occupational Employment Statistics (OES).

In 2015, the average gross base salary for a pharmacist at a retail, mail, and specialty pharmacy was $119,517—up a paltry 0.1% from 2014. Retail employment grew slowly, with slightly fewer pharmacists working at drugstores and mass merchants.

Meanwhile, employment at mail pharmacies and hospitals grew. Pharmacists who work at hospitals also got some good paycheck news: Their salaries rose by 1.6%. The share of pharmacists who work at hospitals grew, too.

My $0.02? The pharmacy industry’s ongoing shift from traditional to specialty drugs is altering long-standing pharmacist employment patterns. Pay attention.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Catching Up with Valeant and Walgreens—and Their New Best Friend

Attention, trainers! Time for an update on Valeant and its relationship with Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), the biggest and most difficult to catch Pokémon.

Last week, Valeant revealed that in the first six months of 2016, its sales via Walgreens were about $150 million. That’s almost half of Valeant’s entire dermatology business.

Valeant also stated that prescriptions dispensed by Walgreens are now profitable. This evolution is due largely to the company’s new relationship with CoverMyMeds, which will try to catch all of the scripts that require prior authorization.

Grab your Poké Ball and battle with my analysis and commentary below. Let’s go!

Monday, August 15, 2016

AMP Final Rule: Your First Chance to Discuss the Application, Implementation, and Impact at MDRP

Medicaid Drug Rebate Program Summit 2016 is a platform to connect with 550+ MDRP executives and 100+ industry experts and deep dive into the most critical elements of the rule and provide you with instruction on how to manage them. Roll up your sleeves and work with colleagues to best embrace the adjustments you need to make.

Get a Front Row Seat Today and Participate LIVE at the Event!

Register Now to SAVE $200 off the Current Rate.
Use Code XP2158DRUG

See how MDRP 2016 will facilitate industry comments to CMS across all three days of the conference:
  • Deconstructing the Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) Final Rule: A Step by Step Analysis of the Key Implications of the Final Rule—Celgene Corporation, Eli Lilly, & Amgen
  • Identification & Alternate Rebate Formula for Line Extensions—Hogan Lovells US LLC
  • Bundling—IMS Health
  • 5 i AMP: Eligibility, Calculations & Implications—King & Spalding
  • Retail Communities Pharmacies: Identification and Impact of The Final Rule—National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS)
  • Impact of The Final Rule on COT—Model N
  • Service Fees: Bona Fide or Constructive Price Concessions—Hogan Lovells US LLP
  • Revenue optimization: What Should Manufacturers be Doing in this Period of Change?

PLUS! Get 340B Updates directly from HRSA during the main conference from Krista M. Pedley, Director, Office of Pharmacy Affairs, HRSA and Michelle Herzog, Deputy Director, Office of Pharmacy Affairs, HRSA.

Register Now to SAVE $200 off the Current Rate! Use Code XP2158DRUG

This is your opportunity to benchmark best practices and gain solutions to overcome new operational challenges brought on by AMP Final Rule, 340B, Medicaid Expansion, Class of Trade, Fair Market Value, FSS, VA, OIG, and other critical government programs.

The content of Sponsored Posts does not necessarily reflect the views of Pembroke Consulting, Inc., Drug Channels, or any of its employees.