Drug Channels 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. Drug Channels reaches an engaged, loyal and growing audience of more than 18,000 subscribers. Learn more...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

CVS Bets Big: Our Exclusive Analysis of Pharmacy Chain Participation in 2018's Part D Preferred Pharmacy Networks

In a previous analysis (Preferred Pharmacy Networks Will Dominate 2018 Medicare Part D Plans, I highlighted how preferred pharmacy networks will dominate next year’s Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDP).

Today, I examine chain pharmacies’ participation in 22 major 2018 Part D preferred networks. Our analysis shows significant changes from last year:
  • CVS has changed strategy and will go all in as a preferred pharmacy in many 2018 networks. It's also the exclusive chain in some plans. 
  • Walgreens remains an active participant, but CVS has displaced it in some plans.
  • Kroger has raised its bet on being a preferred pharmacy. Walmart has held steady, maintaining a position similar to that of 2017.
  • Rite Aid continues to play a losing hand. It will be a preferred pharmacy only in the single plan offered by its EnvisionRx subsidiary.
Our 2018 Part D analysis demonstrates the pharmacy industry’s new period of hypercompetition. Seniors are willing to switch pharmacies to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Chains must therefore reduce their prescription profit margins to compete for a spot in narrow networks. Expect the dominance of preferred networks to the wild card for pharmacies’ 2018 profits.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Preferred Pharmacy Networks Will Dominate 2018 Medicare Part D Plans (Plus: We Review the Top Plan Sponsors)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just released the initial raw data on the 2018 Medicare Part D plans.

Our exclusive analysis of these data reveals that preferred cost sharing pharmacy networks have officially won. For 2018, 99% of Medicare Part D regional prescription drug plans (PDP) will have a preferred network. This figure exceeds those of the past four years. The three largest open network plans from 2017—CVS Health’s SilverScript Choice and WellCare’s Classic and Extra plans—have given up and will have preferred networks.

Below, I provide historical data on preferred networks’ growth and then discuss the top eight companies behind the 2018 plans. As I predicted many years ago, narrow pharmacy networks—whether preferred or limited models—have become an unstoppable force in benefit design.

Monday, October 16, 2017

CBI’s Specialty Product Data Strategies Summit

CBI’s Specialty Product Data Strategies Summit
December 12, 2017 | Philadelphia, PA

CBI is pleased to announce the agenda for the Specialty Product Data Strategies Summit. CBI hopes you can join them on December 12th in Philadelphia for cutting-edge case studies and forward-thinking presentations. Take a look at the sessions and speakers CBI has lined up!

Highlights include:
  • Assess the different data sources and look at the associated strengths and weaknesses
  • Discuss incentive compensation implications for buy-and-bill products
  • Implement a feedback loop between trade and data teams to enhance value, including ownership of data agreements
  • Discover key data insights that support product placement on formulary and enhance strategic contracting with stakeholders
  • Share strategies for a differentiated specialty patient experience
  • Gain key concepts for commercial strategies and operational improvements
  • Investigate the utilization, effectiveness and clinical outcomes of specialty drugs in real-world settings to foster evidence-based discussions
  • Utilize data to drive specialty therapy revenue
  • Hear innovative insights on the path forward toward interoperability
  • Discuss forward-thinking approaches for leveraging data across sales, marketing and managed care to drive business performance
  • Enhance compliance and ensure patient privacy
  • Hear best practices to enhance pharmacy network design and SP data utilization
Plus! Takeda Pharmaceuticals leads a session on Building a Specialty Data Culture to Optimize Operations.

Visit www.cbinet.com/specialtydata for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers will save $200 off of the standard rate when they use discount code DSU834.*

If you would like to upgrade your registration to include attendance at the Trade and Channel Strategies Summit, please contact Juliet Nelson at Juliet.Nelson@cbinet.com. You can download that particular agenda here.

CBI will see you there!

*Cannot be combined with other offers or used towards a current registration. Cannot be combined with special category rate or non-profit 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.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Thanks, California! SB17 Will Trigger Massive Speculative Buying, Windfall Pharmacy Profits, and Supply Chain Disruption

California governor Jerry Brown has just signed SB-17 – Drug Price Transparency into state law. Click here for the official summary.

This law is truly nutty. It won’t accomplish much of what it purports to do.

Below, I focus on the provision that requires manufacturers to provide 60 days’ advance notice of increases in a prescription drug’s Wholesale Acquisition Cost (WAC) list price.

As I explain, this requirement ignores crucial drug channel and supply chain economics. Consequently, mandating advance notice of price increases will benefit pharmacies and hospitals, not third-party payers. The new law also ignores what we’ve learned from the wholesale channel’s evolution more than a decade ago.

To mitigate some of the disruption, manufacturers should pay special attention to trade agreements with wholesalers and pharmacies. Everyone else should shake their head in wonder and despair for healthcare policy making in our country.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

CBI’s 3rd Annual Patient Registries Summit

CBI’s 3rd Annual Patient Registries Summit
December 5-6, 2017 | Philadelphia, PA

Exclusive Offer for Drug Channels Readers:
Register Now to SAVE $400* using discount code JXT535

CBI’s 3rd Annual Patient Registries Summit convenes registry experts representing bio/pharmaceutical, medical device and non-profit organizations in a multi-stakeholder forum, uniting all facets of the healthcare ecosystem. Discover critical methodologies to design new patient registry models and explore the future of these essential platforms.

Join us for Solutions-Oriented Sessions, Powerful Industry Insights and Illuminating Panels:
  • Global Regulatory Perspectives on Registries for Clinical Development and Post-Approval Assessment – Alexion Pharmaceuticals
  • Panel: Promoting and Executing Sustainable Registry Models through Collaborations between Public, Private and Industry Partners – Amicus Therapeutics, Immune Deficiency Foundation, AHRQ, PMSIR
  • Evolving Rare Disease Registries – One Company’s Experience – Actelion Pharmaceuticals
  • Paving the Way for Meaningful Outcomes and Better Treatment – Designing Patient-Centric Registry Models – The Life Raft Group
  • Fireside Chat: Getting It Right from the Get-Go – Best Practices for Starting a Registry – Merck, Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi Genzyme
  • Best Practices in Designing Sustainable Registry Models – Agios Pharmaceuticals
  • And more!
View the complete agenda then register today using discount code JXT535 for this exclusive savings of $400* off.

*Discount offer valid through 12/5/17; applies to standard rates only and may not be combined with other offers, category rates, promotions or applied to existing registration. Offer not valid on workshops only or academic/non-profit registration.

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

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

NEW: The 2017–18 Economic Report on Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Specialty Distributors

I am pleased to announce our new 2017–18 Economic Report on Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Specialty Distributors, available for purchase and immediate download.
We’re offering special discounted pricing if you order before October 15, 2017!

The 2017–18 Economic Report on Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Specialty Distributors—our eighth edition—remains the most comprehensive tool for analyzing the economic and business realities of U.S. pharmaceutical distribution.

This year's edition has been thoroughly updated, revised, and expanded. It contains the most current market and industry and data. The report is the only resource of its kind available anywhere.

See below for more info and some behind-the-scenes tidbits. Happy reading!

Monday, October 02, 2017

Join Me At CBI’s Trade and Channel Strategies 2017 Conference

CBI’s 13th Trade and Channel Strategies
December 11-12, 2017 | Philadelphia, PA

Are you ready for some channel strategy? Then join me at CBI’s 13th Trade and Channel Strategies Conference, being held this December in Philadelphia. CBI’s annual event has become our industry’s premier event focused on bio/pharma trade management.

I’ll be kicking things off with a keynote address titled Drug Channels Update – Things to Watch in 2018. I'll highlight the key trends for the year ahead.

Drug Channels readers can save $500 when you
register with discount code GDB273 by October 13th*

I hope you’ll join me in Philadelphia this December.



CBI is thrilled to announce the agenda for the Life Sciences Trade and Channel Strategies Conference! The theme for 2017 is "rewriting the playbook on product-specific network design, contracting and specialty distribution strategy." You can read all about it here.

Led by chairman Jeff Henderson, VP, Managed Markets, Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc., the 13th annual meeting features a broad range of perspectives:
  • Drug Channels Update – Things to Watch in 2018: Adam J. Fein, Ph.D., President, Pembroke Consulting, Inc.; Author, Drug Channels
  • Fragmentation and Customization Comes to Pharmaceutical Channels: William Roth, Founding Partner, Blue Fin Group
  • Payer Dynamics and Drug Utilization Management: Tracey McGuire, Specialty Services Directors, MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc.
  • Word on Wall Street Exchange: Goldman Sachs, Marathon Asset Management and RBC Capital Markets
  • IDN Partnerships Affecting Patient Journey and Outcomes: Jerry Buller, Director, Specialty Pharmacy Services, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
You’ll also benefit from three tailored content tracks:
  • Specialty Distribution and Channel Optimization
  • Serialization and Traceability
  • Specialty Product Data Strategies
Plus! Develop a playbook during the first-ever product specific strategic showcase. Navigate and optimize distribution strategy based on product type, reimbursement and site of care.

You’ll hear from such companies as Acorda • Apobiologix • Aralez Pharmaceuticals • Axendia • Blue Fin Group • BTG plc • Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions • CoverMyMeds • Eli Lilly • Ferring Pharmaceuticals • Goldman Sachs • Intarcia Therapeutics • IntegriChain • Mallinckrodt • Marathon Asset Management • MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc. • Pharma Logic Solutions, LLC • Prometrics • RBC Capital Markets • Takeda Pharmaceuticals • Therigy • ValueCentric • Vanderbilt University Medical Center and more!

Visit www.cbinet.com/trade for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers will save $500 off of the standard rate when you register with discount code GDB273 by October 13th.*

*Cannot be combined with other offers or used towards a current registration. Cannot be combined with special category rate or non-profit 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, September 28, 2017

Drug Channels News Roundup, September 2017: A Walgreens-Rite Aid Deal Postmortem, Impax Likes Amazon, Health Insurance History, and Gross-to-Net Bubble Emojis

Autumn is here! Curl up with your favorite pumpkin spiced blog and savor these stories plucked from the Drug Channels patch:
  • Stefano Pessina of Walgreens Boots Alliance reflects on the successful Rite Aid deal
  • A generic drug maker speculates on using Amazon as a direct-to-patient channel
  • A great history lesson on why the U.S. has employer-sponsored insurance
Plus, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) attacks pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)…with emojis!

P.S. For my daily cornucopia of interesting news stories, follow @DrugChannels on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Drug Wholesalers Struggle: Slower Revenue Growth and Lower Gross Margins for 2017

Next week, Drug Channels Institute will release our updated 2017–18 Economic Report on Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Specialty Distributors.

Below, we highlight the report’s revenue and gross margin trends for the U.S. drug distribution businesses of the Big Three wholesalers—AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson.

As you will see, we project that revenue growth in 2017 will be the slowest since 2013. We estimate that core U.S. drug distribution gross margins peaked in 2015 and have declined ever since.

For a sneak peek at the complete report and its content, download the free overview. Enjoy!