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...

Friday, August 29, 2014

New OIG Report Confirms Our Worst Fears About 340B Contract Pharmacy Abuses (rerun)

I’m taking a break from blogging this week and rerunning some popular posts from the past 12 months. Click here to see the original post and comments from February 2014.

Moments after yesterday's post on the booming 340B contract pharmacy market, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released the first of its three planned reports on the 340B drug discount program: Contract Pharmacy Arrangements in the 340B Program.

OIG’s research confirms many long-suspected problems regarding oversight, diversion, and the mystery methodologies for identifying 340B-eligible prescriptions.

But here's what's most troubling: the neediest patients are not benefiting from 340B discounts. In OIG’s sample, two-thirds of the hospitals do not offer the 340B price to uninsured patients. Wow.

These 340B contract pharmacy shenanigans need to stop. Based on the OIG report, uninsured and indigent patients aren’t benefiting from 340B drug discounts. Hospitals should stop hiding behind vague language about “stretching scare federal resources” and come clean about who really gains from 340B contract pharmacies.

Read on for highlights from this depressing report on the out-of-control 340B program.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Which PBM Best Manages Drug Trend? Express Scripts vs. Caremark vs. Catamaran vs. Prime (rerun)

I’m taking a break from blogging this week and rerunning some of 2014's most popular posts. Click here to see the original post and comments from June 2014.

Four of the biggest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)—Catamaran, CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, and Prime Therapeutics—have now released their 2013 drug trend reports. The reports provide valuable marketplace insights. Just cite them with caution.

As the chart below shows, this year’s results are as mystifying as ever. Express Scripts had the highest overall drug trend, but the lowest specialty trend. Prime Therapeutics had a negative traditional trend, but the highest specialty trend. And so on.

Alas, the top-line figures don’t tell the full story, because of methodology and data presentation differences. As I noted last year, a PBM’s drug trend report is the bikini of pharmaceutical economics. What it reveals is interesting, but what it conceals is essential. Read on for the figure-hugging details.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Seven Trends For Specialty Pharmacy’s Future: Reflections on Armada 2014 (rerun)

I’m taking a break from blogging this week and rerunning some of 2014's popular posts. Click here to see the original post and comments from May 2014.
Last week, I attended the bigger-than-ever Armada Healthcare Specialty Pharmacy Summit & Expo, in Las Vegas.

Larry and Robert Irene outdid themselves with this 10th annual event, which had an astounding 3,000+ attendees. All facets of the industry were represented, making for top-quality networking and meetings. (Loved the lounge, BTW.) And the Wynn, my favorite Vegas hotel, never disappoints.

As usual, the meeting shed light on where the specialty market is heading. In violation of Vegas code, I'll tell you what happened there … or at least the part related to specialty pharmacy. Read on for my seven trends for specialty pharmacy's future, plus a bonus photo of me with two notable conference attendees.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

McKesson, Rite Aid, and the Changing Generic Channel (rerun)

I’m taking a break from blogging this week and rerunning some of 2014's popular posts. Click here to see the original post and comments from February 2014.

As predicted, McKesson and Rite Aid announced a new generic purchasing agreement. Click here to read the press release.

Once they get organized, McKesson-Celesio-Rite Aid will be the largest generics buyer in the world. (See table below.) The new relationship has some common elements with the Walgreens-AmerisourceBergen (ABC) tie-up, although McKesson gains a more valuable sourcing position compared to ABC.

More significantly, the deal continues a revolution in how wholesalers interact with their biggest retail customers. Below, I contrast the various wholesaler-customer deals and highlight implications for wholesalers’ channel role, generic buying, downstream speculative buying, AMP-based FULs, and more. Be prepared for more change.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Specialty Pharmacy and Distribution Networks

Specialty Pharmacy and Distribution Networks
October 28-29, 2014 | Philadelphia, PA
www.cbinet.com/specialtydistribution

Now in its fifth year, the Specialty Pharmacy Distribution Networks Conference uniquely addresses the complexity of commercialization and market access of specialty products. Key players come together to discuss the importance of creating an optimal distribution network in order to reach patients in need and provide the necessary specialized services. Hear perspectives from CVS Caremark, Depomed, Genzyme, Johnson & Johnson, Prime Therapeutics, Blue Fin Group, Raptor Pharmaceuticals, Sonexus Health, and more.

Can’t Miss Content Includes:
  • Evolution of Specialty Pharmacy Market and Dynamics of Marketplace Consolidation
  • Specialty Product Coverage and Reimbursement Challenges for Enhanced Patient Access
  • Channel Options to Achieve Optimal Product Uptake and Commercial Success
  • Next Generation Specialty Pharmacy Contracting Models and Approaches
  • Distribution Strategies that Meet REMS Requirements and Optimize Commercialization
  • Downstream Impact of COT Implications
  • Impact of Track and Trace Legislation on Distribution Strategies
  • Product-Specific Channel Nuances Based on Top Specialty Therapeutic Categories
Drug Channels readers will save $400 off of the standard registration rate when they use code RAU672.* Register today!

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Drug Channels News Roundup, August 2014: Walgreens, Compounding, 340B, AWP, and More Weird Al

Wow, hard to believe that summer is almost over. Pack up the beach chairs, send the kids back to school, and enjoy this curated collection of curiosities, combed from the Drug Channels beach.

In this issue:
  • Walgreen's Billion-Dollar Blunder (from the front page of today's Wall Street Journal)
  • Pharmacies’ Compounding Profits
  • A Useful Primer on 340B
  • Déjà Vu for Bad Medicare Part D Ideas
It’s late August, so please enjoy another fun Weird Al video as your bonus.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Real-Time Benefit Verification & ePrior Authorization

Real-Time Benefit Verification & ePrior Authorization
October 23-24, 2014 | San Francisco, CA
www.cbinet.com/eprior

As more patients become insured due to healthcare reform, many questions arise around how to best select health plans based on personal health needs, patient eligibility, coverage benefits and out-of-pocket projections. Delays in the benefit investigation/verification process and subsequent submission of paper-based prior authorization requests can lead to harmful delays in patient access to treatment and therapy drop-off.

CBI’s premier Real-Time Benefit Verification & ePrior Authorization Forum convenes key stakeholders to address these challenges and discuss the adoption of ePrior authorization (ePA) and other emerging electronic patient services/technologies to ultimately streamline patient access to medication.

Hear from manufacturers, payers, PBMs, prescribers, leading service providers and more on this evolving and critically important topic. Speakers come from such organizations as AssistRx, Avanir Pharmaceuticals, CoverMyMeds, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Express Scripts, Gilead Sciences, Lash Group, MedImmune, Medivation, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Pfizer, Point-of-Care Partners, Prime Therapeutics, Rhodes Pharmaceuticals, Sonexus Health, UBC, and more.

Register Today! Drug Channels subscribers will save $400 off of the standard registration rate when they use code YRK398.*

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Wall Street Journal Covers Our Generic Inflation Analysis

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal's Pharmalot blog covered our generic drug price inflation analysis. See How Much? Some Generic Drug Prices Are Skyrocketing: Analysis.

The article includes some additional quotes from yours truly, along with comments from Actavis and the GPhA. Highlights below.

In case you didn't know, Ed Silverman is now rocking his great Pharmalot blog over at the Wall Street Journal. You can follow the @Pharmalot twitter feed or subscribe via RSS.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Winners and Losers from Generic Drug Inflation

As I note in yesterday’s post Retail Generic Drug Inflation Reaches New Heights, half of all retail generic drugs became more expensive over the past 12 months.

Today, let’s discover who’s winning and who’s losing within the drug channel. I consider generic and brand-name drug manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacies, third-party payers, and consumers.

Let me know what you think by commenting below.