Thursday, April 28, 2016

Drug Channels News Roundup, April 2016: Amgen, Biosimilars, Pharmacy Profits, Drug Pricing, and CVS

Spring has finally sprung here at the Drug Channels worldwide headquarters! Take your allergy meds and then enjoy this month’s selection of pollen-free news from the Drug Channels universe.

In this issue:
  • Amgen releases a nifty new report on biosimilars
  • My $0.02 on the outlook for chain drugstores
  • The New York Times delves into the complexities of drug pricing
Plus, Saturday Night Live mocks CVS drugstore’s employees and customers.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow @DrugChannels on Twitter for daily updates on news and commentary that I pluck from the interwebs.

2016 Report on Biosimilars, Amgen
Amgen quietly released this great report on biosimilars. Clear and well-organized, it covers every major issue. Key topics include: interchangeability; reimbursement, international comparisons, provider adoption, payer strategies, and more. Highly recommended.

Outlook: Transition time for drug chains, Chain Drug Review
Here’s an overview on the current competitive environment for chain drugstores. It includes comments from yours truly on prescription drug margins, specialty channels, and generic purchasing. The article concludes with my advice for smaller chains:
“[T]he smaller chains need to be mindful of the changes happening in the industry. They need to step back and position themselves according to how manufacturers and payers are changing the drug landscape,” he added. “It’s one of the most challenging transition times for the chain industry that I can recall.”
The Complex Math Behind Spiraling Prescription Drug Prices, The New York Times
The venerable New York Times bravely delves into our Rube Goldberg-like system for drug distribution and reimbursement. As I told the paper:
Part of what makes the issue so frustrating is that visiting a pharmacy to pick up a prescription seems simple. “If you go into a retail pharmacy, it looks like a retail transaction,” said Adam J. Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting, a management advisory and business research company. But it is not like buying a bottle of orange juice; most patients do not choose which drug they are picking up, nor are they paying for most of it, he said. “It’s part of this crazy system.”
For a refresher on why it's not like buying OJ, check out my flowchart in Follow the Dollar: The U.S. Pharmacy Distribution and Reimbursement System.

Who works here?, Saturday Night Live
Check out Julia Louis-Dreyfus in this mildly amusing Saturday Night Live sketch about a New York City CVS location. Click here if you can’t see the video.

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