Thursday, March 03, 2011

Drug Channels News Roundup: March 2011

Time for a post-Oscars rundown of noteworthy news stories from the Drug Channels universe. In this issue:
  • True Grit: GPOs question Medtronic’s recent move
  • The Fighter: Hal Rosenbluth departs Walgreens
  • Inception: NCPA tries to implant a bogus idea about generic dispensing rates
  • Toy Story: A sneak peek at Apple’s next major product release—the iHand!
Profits over Patients: Medtronic Makes Its Move
The Health Industry Group Purchasing Association (HIGPA), which represents Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs), takes on Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) in this rebuttal to the events described in Medtronic Dumps Novation: Why GPOs Should Worry. They ask: “So how does the country save money on healthcare costs through a move designed to help Medtronic make more money?” You can also read this letter to Medtronic from 16 Novation member hospitals.

Walgreens Health and Wellness President Hal F. Rosenbluth to Retire In April
It appears that the Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) host body has rejected the Rosenbluth innovator virus. Look for the spin-off of their PBM business soon (per For Sale by Walgreens: One PBM, Slight Used). I presume that they will also be pulling back from any direct-to-payer deals a la Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) or the once-rumored Toyota deal. As I wrote in Walgreens and Omnicare Play Switcheroo: “Walgreens has an amazing set of puzzle pieces, but has not been able to assemble them into a coherent future vision.” Back to business as typical.

NCPA Twisting Reality Again
Recently, the National Community Pharmacy Association’s (NCPA) has started claiming that the generic dispensing rate (GDR) at independent pharmacies is 11 percentage points higher than mail pharmacies. The problem? It’s not true. As George Van Antwerp explains, they can’t compare the GDRs without significant adjustment for acute medications and seasonal medications that aren’t appropriate for mail order. The Federal Trade Commission reached a similar conclusion in its 240-page report on the PBM industry. (source) Reality is so much duller than a dream!

Apple Fans Lining Up For iHand
Finally, here's a special video for all the Apple fanboys who are still drooling over yesterday's iPad2 announcement. (Be patient because there's a 15-second ad before the story.)

1 comment:

  1. Agree in regards to your comments on WAG.

    Reactive culture versus Proactive. Simple strategy, as reimbursements and profitability head lower, keep cutting!


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