Thursday, July 27, 2017

Drug Channels News Roundup, July 2017: CVS, Anthem, Specialty Pharmacy, INSYS, and Big Box Pharmacy

Cut through the steamy summer haze with our refreshing selection of articles and insights. In this issue:
  • CVS drugstores aim for a healthier look
  • Anthem dissects specialty pharmacy management
  • Takeaways from an Insys employee’s guilty plea over prior authorization
  • Profiling pharmacies inside supermarkets and mass merchants
Plus, The Onion reports on the launch of generic internets following patent loss. Scary!

P.S. Follow @DrugChannels on Twitter for my daily curated selection of news and commentary.

Why Your Local CVS Is Hiding the Candy and Tanning Oil, The Wall Street Journal

CVS Health continues to retool its businesses around the health theme. As this article explains, CVS drugstores will now make it harder to buy Snickers, Mountain Dew, Doritos, and other delectable temptations that will one day make you need prescription pharmaceuticals. Our April 2015 news roundup highlighted CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo and his thoughtful TEDx talk on the company’s decision to stop selling tobacco.

Walgreens retail pharmacies, however, continue to sell tobacco, because that’s what people want to buy. I guess it likes being at the Corner of Happy and Hacking®.

How Employers Are Looking at Specialty Pharmacy Today, Benefits Quarterly

Here’s a summary of an Anthem-sponsored survey of a large group employers. The article is co-authored by the pharmacy program director at Anthem and a senior director from a market research company. The results provide a useful review of the benefit management strategies that employers are using. Here’s a helpful chart from the piece:

[Click to Enlarge]

One caveat: the survey was conducted more than 18 months ago.

Reimbursement Manager Pleads Guilty for Prior Authorization Process Issues, Bass, Berry + Sims

The law firm of Bass Berry + Sims breaks down the guilty plea of an Insys Therapeutics employee who was involved in the company’s "reimbursement unit." The lawyers write:
”Insys allegedly set up its phone system to block the origin of its calls, encouraged employees to adopt practices that mislead insurers to believe they were calling from a doctor's office, and mislead insurers about the diagnosis of patients and whether patients had tried and failed other preferred medications…The Insys case joins a lengthening line of government investigations into pharmacy or manufacturer malfeasance to encourage prior authorizations.”
Big-Box Pharmacy on the Rise, Drug Topics

Drug Topics delves into the pharmacy businesses of supermarkets and mass merchants. Examples includes Walmart, Costco, Albertsons, and Kroger. The article features Drug Channels Institute market data.

Dozens Of Knockoff Internets Flood Market After Patent Expires, The Onion

According to The Onion, drug makers are not the only ones who face less-expensive knockoffs!

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