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, July 31, 2015

Cardinal Health CEO George Barrett is a Rock God

Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and…George Barrett?

Not convinced? Check out the video below, which shows Cardinal Health Chairman and CEO George Barrett onstage at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Roadshow concert.

Highlights include:
  • Barrett's harmonizing on CSNY's Woodstock at 1:46
  • Barrett's solo (!) cover version of John Mayer’s Gravity at 3:00
Well, at least we know he has the drugs and rock n’ roll covered!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

News Roundup, July 2015: CVS Health, Allergan, Specialty Pharmacies, and Amy Schumer

The hot and hazy days of summer are here. Cool off with my refreshing selection of articles that cut through the steamy haze. In this issue:
  • A handy primer on CVS Health’s history and strategy
  • Allergan’s CEO explains how channel consolidation led to the Teva deal
  • The New York Times attacks specialty pharmacies!

Plus, a sizzling update on The Amy Schumer Disappointing Lap Dance $5,000 Matching Challenge for Multiple Sclerosis. Please help me hit our goal by making a tax-deductible donation, and I will make my own donation of $5,000. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pharma’s Bright Future: Meet The Top 10 Drugs of 2020

Let’s review the latest edition of EvaluatePharma’s World Preview 2015, Outlook to 2020. (The document is free with site registration.) This annual report projects for prescription drug sales and R&D activity in the U.S. and abroad.

Below you'll find my handy summary table comparing 2020’s best-selling U.S. drug products with the top sellers of 2014. The report projects that, in 2020, 9 of the 10 best-selling drugs by revenue will be specialty drugs, compared with 3 drugs in 2010 and 7 in 2014.

EvaluatePharma’s predictions seem to downplay biosimilar competition. It still projects that AbbVie’s Humira will stay on top, although Humira's sales are expected to peak in 2017. You may also be surprised by the PCSK9 inhibitor forecasts.

The overall EvaluatePharma projections suggest that net sales of brand-name drugs will grow by almost 8% annually over the next six years. $400 billion will buy a lot of beer.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Value-Based Pricing and Contracting for Biopharmaceuticals

Value-Based Pricing and Contracting for Biopharmaceuticals
October 8-9, 2015 | Philadelphia, PA

The most successful biopharmaceutical pricing strategies are built to accommodate the changes occurring in healthcare today including price pressure from PBMs and payers, new launches of brilliant innovative therapies, lessons learned from the Sovaldi case study and payer restructuring as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

CBI’s groundbreaking Value-Based Pricing and Contracting for Biopharmaceuticals conference covers the evolution of focusing solely on “price” to focusing on the “cost-value” proposition. You won’t want to miss it.

Drug Channels readers will save $400 off the standard registration rate with code ZJP399.*

Leverage Key Conference Takeaways:
  • Value-based pricing — How do you focus development to support price?
  • Understand the real reasons why Sovaldi® triggered a firestorm — Looking at the evidence
  • Consider product success in the post-Sovaldi® world — Demonstrating real value
  • Brainstorm strategies for global price optimization
  • Tips for conducting and applying cost effectiveness studies
  • Ruminate the “new” health economics — Managing uncertainty at product launch
  • Absorb case studies in successfully incorporating market access into the product plan early in development
  • Analyze the risk versus reward for key market access investments in your brand
  • Prepare for the launch of biosimilars
  • Understand the pressure for plans to offer restricted formularies
Join a leading speaking faculty to discuss the issues most critical for success in pricing biopharmaceuticals in a value-based market.

Visit for more information. Drug Channels readers will save $400 off the standard registration rate with code ZJP399.*

 *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.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Developing a Meaningful Value Proposition for Your Specialty Product

Today’s guest post comes from Gary Rice, RPh, MS, MBA, CSP, Vice President of Clinical Services at Diplomat Pharmacy. Gary provides insights on ways that sales teams can understand and convey a product’s value,not simply its cost. He offers strategies one can use to better understand, measure, and increase a specialty product’s value.

On August 6th at 12 P.M. (EDT), Gary Rice and other experts are coming together for CMR Institute’s webinar, Navigating and Selling in Today’s Specialty Market. They will discuss recent changes in the specialty pharmaceutical market and explore how healthcare sales teams can benefit from these opportunities.

The standard registration fee for the webinar is $149. CMR Institute is offering Drug Channels readers an exclusive opportunity to register for $75 via THIS LINK ONLY. (Please note that registration via the CMRI website requires a $149 registration fee.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Amy Schumer Gave Me a Lap Dance to Fight MS: Please Help Drug Channels Continue the Fight

Strange but true: I won Universal's TrainWreck Premiere Experience contest benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. Really.

I got to walk the red carpet with my wife Paula at the New York movie premiere. Amy Schumer, the film's writer and star, also foolishly promised a “disappointing lap dance” to the contest winner.

Well, Ms. Schumer delivered on the dance, as you can see in the photos below. It was as great as you might imagine and not at all disappointing.

To celebrate this experience, I'm raising more money for MS. To make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit THE AMY SCHUMER DISAPPOINTING LAP DANCE $5,000 MATCHING CHALLENGE FOR MS. I will match the first $5,000 with my own personal donation. Thank you for helping me support this worthwhile cause. (Bonus: There's a short video of Amy and me on the donation site!)

Read on for more photos from my surreal visit to a Hollywood movie premiere.

Monday, July 20, 2015

National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) Annual Meeting & Expo

National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) Annual Meeting & Expo
Gaylord National Harbor Resort & Convention Center
National Harbor, MD | September 29 – October 1, 2015

The NASP Annual Meeting & Expo is the one, comprehensive national meeting for all stakeholders in the specialty pharmacy industry. Join the leaders of specialty pharmacy as they gather for the 2015 NASP Annual Meeting, September 29-October 1, at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort & Convention Center ten miles outside Washington, DC.

This year’s NASP meeting includes 22 education sessions in a compact, two-day format, over eight hours of exhibit and networking time, social events, and updates on national policy issues facing specialty pharmacy.

Adam J. Fein, Ph.D., will lead the opening plenary session with his keynote The State of Specialty Pharmacy 2015, followed by an expert reactor panel.

Register before August 28 for special pricing!

Management Sessions at NASP 2015 include:
  • The Payer-Manufacturer Interface
  • Wall Street View of Specialty Pharmacy
  • Setting the Proper Expectations: What Health Plans and Employers Want from Specialty Pharmacy
  • Data Building Blocks—HUB Building & Real World Data with Hepatitis C Outcomes
  • Accreditation in Specialty Pharmacy—Critical First Steps Towards Quality
  • Fair Market Value—The OIG’s Perspective and Setting Policy
  • Rengenerative Medicine: New Opportunities for Specialty Pharmacy
Clinical Sessions include:
  • Oral Oncology—Agents in Specialty Practice and Patient Management Considerations
  • HIV—Agents in Specialty Practice and Patient Management Considerations
  • Hepatitis C—A Clinical Review with a Focus on Patient Management
  • PD-1s: Clinical Information and Patient Management
The meeting closes with a capstone session titled “Biosimilars: The Marketing is Open.”

Don’t forget to make your hotel reservations. Discounted room rates are available to NASP attendees on the NASP website.

Interested in visibility opportunities for your company at the NASP Annual Meeting?

NASP Annual Meeting Attendees are CEOs, pharmacy directors, and executives from the nation’s leading specialty pharmacies as well as pharmacy directors and executives from PBMs, health plans, health system pharmacies, GPOs, distributors, and more.

Sponsorship gives your company visibility to those influential audiences. For additional information about sponsorship or exhibiting, see the NASP website or contact NASP staffers Virginia Sweeter ( or Robert Fulcher (

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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How 2015’s Payer and Pharmacy Consolidation Will Affect Drug Wholesalers

It has been a record year for corporate mergers and acquisitions. Aetna’s recently-announced acquisition of Humana is just the latest of the many mega deals reshaping U.S. drug channels

Today, I examine how six major 2015 transactions could impact pharmaceutical wholesalers. As you will see below, both McKesson and Cardinal Health could experience revenue shifts. Consolidation and acquisitions, however, generally hurt wholesalers’ margins, because the acquired companies consolidate their buying power.

Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip Dilbert, once opined: “There is no idea so bad that it cannot be made to look brilliant with the proper application of fonts and color.” Sound advice for evaluating deals in this consolidating marketplace.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

More than One in Four U.S. Pharmacies is Now a 340B Contract Pharmacy; Walgreens Still Dominates

The pharmacy industry’s 340B Drug Pricing Program cash grab continues.

Our latest analysis finds that 17,000 pharmacy locations contract with a 340B-eligible covered entity (usually a hospital). Walgreens remains the biggest player, although Walmart, CVS, and Rite Aid collectively now account for about one-quarter of contract pharmacy locations.

Since we first deeply examined contract pharmacies, two years ago, they have grown by 4,600 locations (+37%). Specialty pharmacies’ participation also is up sharply.

These relationships threaten to disrupt third-party payers’ pharmacy networks and confound manufacturers’ channel strategies. The new GAO report provides further evidence of problems. Let’s hope that the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) upcoming mega-guidance finally enacts some rules to govern this out-of-control expansion.