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, August 22, 2013

2013 Reader Survey Results and Site Traffic Update

Time for my annual update on Drug Channels readers and traffic.

Thanks to everyone who took time to complete the 2013 Drug Channels Reader Survey. And thank you for the outpouring of thoughtful and kind comments about my seven-year experiment in social media. Below, I highlight some key content and site suggestions.

The Drug Channels blog has about 7,000 subscribers (via email, twitter, or RSS). Thanks to social media, email forwarding, and search engine traffic, many more people read the site each month. Drug Channels traffic averages about 50,000 page views per month, marking another year of 30% growth. See the chart below.

I’ll be on vacation until Labor Day, so no more updates for August. Drug Channels will return in September!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Drug Channels News Roundup: August 2013

Sigh. Summer is almost over. Time to pack up our bathing suits and send the kids back to school. In the meantime, please enjoy this curated collection of curiosities, combed from the Drug Channels beach.

In this issue:
  • Look Who’s Talking—Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson explains his vision
  • Look Who’s Lobbying—A 340B vendor gets an unexpected ex-PhRMA ally
  • Look Who’s Disappointing—A post-mortem on ACOs' first year
Plus, The Onion examines America’s unquenchable thirst for prescription drugs.

Monday, August 19, 2013

GP and Commercial Contract Operations

Do you enjoy government pricing and commercial contract operations? Are you on the West Coast? Then attend CBI’s GP and Commercial Contract Operations: A Master Class on Bio/Pharma, which will be held at the Hilton San Francisco on October 22-23, 2013.

Companies on the agenda include CaptureRx, Eli Lilly, Horizon Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and more.

Drug Channels readers can register with promo code TEY723 and receive $300 off registration. (This discount cannot be combined with other offers or used towards a current registration). Thanks, CBI!

Friday, August 16, 2013

How GP Professionals Became Pharmaceutical Industry Change Agents

Today’s guest post is from Chris Cobourn, Senior Vice President, Commercial Compliance, at Compliance Implementation Services (CIS). In the article below, Chris outlines the pharma industry’s new government pricing (GP) challenges and the crucial role of GP professionals. He also summarizes today's crucial uncertainties.

Chris is a knowledgeable insider who speaks from deep experience. When I have a GP question, Chris is one of my go-to-experts. I’ve highlighted many of his articles over the years, most recently in AMP Final Rule Delayed to ... January 2014?

Chris and his colleagues will be at IIR’s Medicaid Drug Rebate Program (MDRP) Summit on September 9-11, 2013. Drug Channels readers can register for the conference with promo code XP1858DRC and save $400 off the standard registrations rates.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Meet the Top Ten Drugs of 2018

Professional prognosticator EvaluatePharma recently released its World Preview 2013, Outlook to 2018 report, which projects prescription drug sales and R&D activity in the U.S. and abroad. (The report is free with site registration.) You’ll find predictions for the 50 best-selling U.S. drug products on page 25.

Below is my handy summary chart comparing the 2018 list with 2012’s top sellers. Since I last looked at these projections (in Top Ten Drugs of 2016), the list has changed significantly. Highlights of the latest forecasts:
  • The number of specialty drugs in the top 10 has dropped vs. the 2016 projections. In 2018, 6 of the 10 best-selling drugs by revenue are projected to be specialty drugs, compared with 3 drugs in 2010 and 5 in 2012.
  • The 2018 top 10 U.S. drugs have projected total revenues of $39.7 billion, which will amount to only $2.1 billion more than the top 10 in 2012. Consequently, 2018’s top 10 will also account for a smaller industry share than that of their 2012 counterparts.
Tomorrow’s best-sellers are more likely to target smaller patient populations that have the blockbusters of the past, consistent with the market level projections that I discuss in More Drug Trend Forecasts. Regardless of EvaluatePharma’s ultimate accuracy, it’s clear that the world is changing, so your commercial and channel strategies should change, too. Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. (Sorry, I meant to tell you that yesterday.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fair Market Value and Bona Fide Service Fees

I want to let you know about CBI’s just-announced event: the Fair Market Value and Bona Fide Service Fees conference. The conference will be held in Philadelphia on October 7 and 8.

As I note in New AMP Rule Targets Bona Fide Service Fees, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing important changes to its interpretation of bona fide service fees. We won’t get clarity until at least January 2014, so this conference is great opportunity to anticipate and prepare for the coming Final Rule. In my consulting work, I find fair market value and bona fide service fees to be crucial topics for building sound specialty channel strategies.

Check out the agenda for more details. Drug Channels readers can register by October 7 with discount code BKA994 and save $300 off registration. Thanks, CBI!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

PBM Consolidation: The Feeding Frenzy Begins

It’s Shark Week! So, it’s appropriate that we take a look at two recent pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) acquisitions:
Below, I examine each transaction. The TPG/ EnvisionRx deal is more significant, because it signals major outside financial investment in restructuring the PBM industry.

With blood in the water, expect PBM consolidation to accelerate. Bigger PBMs have more bargaining power against manufacturers, pharmacies, and wholesalers. Chomp!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Join me at the Revitas Industry Summit: Life Sciences

I invite you to join me at the Revitas Industry Summit: Life Sciences, which will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in beautiful Philadelphia, PA, on November 5-6, 2013. Register before August 30, 2013, for special pricing.

I'll be delivering the keynote address, on key trends for pharmaceutical commerce. Last year's event was fun and informative, so I look forward to joining Revitas again.

Official event details below. The Summit will feature an engaging mix of thought leadership and hands-on best practice sessions. You certainly should attend if your job involves anything related to contract management, pricing execution and management, or compliance automation.

And while you're in Philly, be sure to check out one of our 38 essential restaurants!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Senator Grassley Grills Walgreens About Its 340B Profits

Yesterday, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Walgreen’s president and CEO, Greg Wasson. In the letter, Senator Grassley asks uncomfortable questions about the drugstore chain’s profits from the 340B drug discount program. Click here to read the full letter. Highlights below.

As I note in The Coming Battle Over 340B Contract Pharmacies, the 340B contract pharmacy market has exploded far beyond what was considered or intended in the drug discount program’s original legislation. It is rumored that a 340B super-regulation will be coming sometime next year. Let’s hope for substantial reform to the out-of-control contract pharmacy marketplace.

BTW, the letter will also make you double-check your LinkedIn profile. See the cautionary tale below.