Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Drug Channels News Roundup: July 2013

Ah, summer! Stay cool with these stories from the wonderful world of Drug Channels. In this issue:
  • Top Dollar—Why Humira will be bigger than Lipitor
  • Top Jobs—Pharmacists win again
  • Top Sleazeball—No jail time for Avastin counterfeit wholesaler?!?
Plus, a cute, yet highly misleading, cartoon explaining healthcare reform. Top spin?

The Best Selling Drugs Since 1996—Why AbbVie's Humira Is Set To Eclipse Pfizer's Lipitor
Here’s a very insightful analysis of top drugs’ cumulative sales. Early in a drug’s life cycle, specialty biologics have slower uptake than traditional drugs. However, in later stages of the product life cycle, specialty biologics do much better than traditional drugs. For instance, Humira is forecast to outperform Lipitor, based on cumulative revenue performance for years 11 to 15 on the market. Worthwhile article for thinking about our industry’s future.

U.S. News 100 Best Jobs of 2013
U.S. News & World Report, which is apparently still a real website or magazine or something, just released its list of the 100 best jobs. Pharmacists were #3, just behind dentists and nurses. It’s fluffy link bait, but still worth a glance. The news isn’t a surprise if you read my May article Pharmacist Salaries Hit $117K and Keep Climbing. Personally, I was disappointed that the top 100 list omits “management consultant,” “blogger,” and “smart aleck.” Oh well!

Montana Man Sentenced in Fake Cancer Drug Scheme
Remember the counterfeit Avastin story? Well, the owner of wholesaler Montana Health Care Solutions was finally convicted, but only got house arrest and no jail time. WTF?!? Another as-yet-unprosecuted crime was the unethical behavior of physicians who intentionally bought from the gray market instead of from an authorized distributor. These docs saved 25% on their cost of goods, but gave their patients counterfeit products. Oops? As I wrote in Greedy Physicians Invite Fake Avastin Into the Supply Chain when the story broke: “By looking for a ‘good deal’ outside of the legitimate channel, the physicians in charge of these practices were foolish, irresponsible, and unethical.” (See also What's Behind Counterfeit Drug Demand.)

The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare
Want an entertaining, but unrealistically positive, look at the Affordable Care Act? Then spend a few minutes watching this video. It all sounds so…reasonable. Alas, the video conveniently omits the law’s fundamentally unworkable structure, the unintended consequences for individual and small group insurance, and soon-to-be exploding costs. Don’t worry, be happy? (Click here if you can't see the video below.)

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