Thursday, April 27, 2017

Drug Channels News Roundup, April 2017: Teva, Diplomat Pharmacy, Oncology Practices, and Starbucks

Time for our monthly roundup of news stories that highlight key trends for U.S. drug channels. In this issue, get your claws into the following:
  • Teva launches an Advair competitor with a gross-to-net bubble busting strategy
  • A Diplomat Pharmacy exec gives us a great checklist for assessing specialty pharmacies
  • Wow! 60% of oncology practices are now owned by hospitals and health systems
Plus, Starbucks has some exciting news for insulin makers!

P.S. Stay up to date on the news and reports that I find intriguing by following @DrugChannels on Twitter.

Teva Launches AirDuo™ RespiClick® and its Authorized Generic, Two Inhalers Containing Fluticasone Propionate and Salmeterol, Business Wire

Teva’s AirDuo contains the same active ingredients as GlaxoSmithKline’s Advair, although the delivery device is different. Notably, Teva is simultaneously launching both the brand and authorized generic versions of the product. Here’s a look at the Wholesale Acquisition Cost (WAC) list prices for the product compared with Advair’s, courtesy of Umer Raffat at Evercore ISI:
[Click to Enlarge]

It’s a fascinating strategy. Payers and PBMs can choose from two versions of the same product:
  • A $285 AirDuo with rebates
  • A $90 AirDuo without rebates
As you may recall, Mylan is now following a similar dual-pricing approach with its EpiPen, as I describe in The Weird and Wild Gross-to-Net Adventures of EpiPen and Its Alternatives. Teva’s AirDuo strategy is another example of a pricing tactic that could pop the gross to-net bubble and create the scenario outlined in Scott Gottlieb’s Radical Idea for Disrupting U.S. Drug Channels.

As Auric Goldfinger once observed: "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action." Who’s next?

Seven Essential Points to Position Specialty Pharmacies for Limited-Distribution Agents, Specialty Pharmacy Times

Here’s a compelling article on specialty pharmacy strategy from Cheryl Allen, vice president of Industry Relations at Diplomat Pharmacy. Manufacturers can profitably use her checklist when assessing pharmacy participants for a specialty product’s limited dispensing network. Since Diplomat is the largest independent specialty pharmacy, Cheryl has a unique perspective on the issues.

Drug Channels insider’s tip: Be sure to tell Cheryl what you think about the article when you see her next week at Asembia’s 2017 Specialty Pharmacy Summit

Evaluating The Role Of Payment Policy In Driving Vertical Integration In The Oncology Market, Health Affairs

For some time, I have been tracking the evolution of the buy-and-bill system for provider-administered drugs. One well-known trend: higher-cost hospital outpatient settings have been crowding out lower-cost physician offices. See The Decline and Fall of Physician Buy-and-Bill For Specialty Drugs and Latest Data Show That Hospitals Are Still Specialty Drug Profiteers.

This Health Affairs study found that the share of oncology practices owned by hospitals and health systems has doubled in the past five years, from less than 30% in 2010 to nearly 60% in 2015.

[Click to Enlarge]

The article claims that the 340B Drug pricing program had no impact on this shift. (I’m skeptical about this conclusion.) But the above chart presents an unmistakable trend, regardless of its underlying cause.

Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino is a Colorful & Fun Way to Get Diabetes, Gomer Blog

Here’s a satirical (?) report from the offbeat Gomer Blog, which dispenses medically-related sarcasm.

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