Drug Channels delivers timely analysis and provocative opinions from Adam J. Fein, Ph.D., the country's foremost expert on pharmaceutical economics and the drug distribution system. Drug Channels reaches an engaged, loyal and growing audience of more than 35,000 subscribers. Learn more...

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

17th Annual Life Sciences Accounting & Reporting Congress

17th Annual Life Sciences Accounting & Reporting Congress
March 16-18, 2021 | Virtual Event
www.informaconnect.com/accounting-reporting-congress

The 17th Annual Life Sciences Accounting & Reporting Congress, an important event for finance, accounting and business leaders within life sciences, provides in-depth CPE education and networking with nearly 600 professionals. Join us for a Spring Virtual Update on March 16-18, 2021 as we navigate regulatory reform, increased complexity, dynamic risk environment, COVID industry impacts and more.

Visit www.informaconnect.com/accounting-reporting-congress for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers will save $100 off the current lowest rate when they use code DRCH100 and register prior to February 12, 2021.*

With Expert Keynotes, In-Depth Workshops and Live Q&A Opportunities and other virtual features, you’ll end your week ready to advance your organization to stay ahead in 2021.

Here’s a snapshot of what to expect:

Valuable Virtual Networking, Career Development, and Educational Opportunities:
  • Pre-Congress Offerings including Technology Solution Summits, Controller’s Think Tank, 101 Foundational Course, Talent Acquisition and Team Optimization Summit
  • CEO Fireside Chat – A Candid Conversation on Key Business and Industry Priorities in 2021 and Beyond
  • CFO Keynote Panel – Leading in Finance and Navigating the Course of Change
  • CAO Panel and Q&A – Critical Issues in Technical Accounting and Financial Reporting
  • Healthcare Policy Fireside Chat – Pricing, Policy and Healthcare Outcomes
  • SEC Keynote Address – Oversight, Management and Performance
  • FASB Address – Standards Update and Initiatives
  • Advancement Course – Future Finance: Strategies to Empower the Team, Elevate Talent, Inspire Inclusion and Cultivate a Winning Culture
  • Plus – Hot Topic Workshops focusing on AI and Robotics Automation, IPO Readiness, Clinical Trials and Vendor Study Management, Divestiture Strategies, M&A Integration, New Product Commercialization, ESG Metrics and Disclosures, Cyber and Data Security, Corporate Tax Reform Implications
Visit www.informaconnect.com/accounting-reporting-congress for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers will save $100 off the current lowest rate when they use code DRCH100 and register prior to February 12, 2021.*

*Cannot be combined with other offers or used towards a current registration. Cannot be combined with special category rate or non-profit rates. Other restrictions may apply.


The content of Sponsored Posts does not necessarily reflect the views of Pembroke Consulting, Inc., Drug Channels, or any of its employees.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

U.S. Prescription Trends: 2020 Review and 2021 Outlook (video)

Below is a brief excerpt from my recent Drug Channels Outlook 2021 video webinar. I discuss:
  • How COVID-19 affected the retail and mail prescription market during 2020
  • What’s ahead for prescription market
This five minute video provides you with a quick and engaging review of a year that many of us would like to forget. You can purchase a replay of the full 75-minute event, which covered many other topics.

You can also sign up for my new Drug Channels 2021 Quarterly Video Webinar Series, which includes four video webinars during 2021 (including my Outlook 2022 webinar on December 17, 2021). Let's hope this year kicks off the roaring '20s!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Big Three PBMs Ramp Up Specialty Drug Exclusions for 2021

Once again, the three largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)—Caremark (CVS Health), Express Scripts (Cigna), and OptumRx (United Health Group)—have increased the number of drugs they have excluded from their standard formularies. 

Today, I update our annual tracking of the number of exclusions by each PBM. I also highlight the expansion of exclusions into major specialty therapy classes. The 2021 formulary exclusion lists are available below for your downloading pleasure.

The growth in excluded products shows how competitive many specialty therapy categories have become—and the undisclosed but presumably significant rebates generated by these products. Patient impact is also increasing, as products move on and off formularies.

Eight years ago, I outlined the inevitability of formulary exclusions. But I didn’t anticipate just how far PBMs would push this tool. Expect much more controversy as exclusions hit previously untouched but sensitive sole-source products in oncology, rheumatology, and beyond—and even start moving into Medicaid.

Monday, January 11, 2021

PAP Critical Update

PAP Critical Update
March 8-10, 2021 | Virtual Event
www.informaconnect.com/pap21

Set the tone and strategy for 2021 with PAP Critical Update taking place March 8-10 in a fully virtual format, and benefit from critical and timely updates addressing the upcoming challenges for patient access and assistance professionals. In a time of unprecedented need, join influential stakeholders as they come together for collaborative and meaningful discussion and dive into policy updates, COVID-19 impacts, election implications, technology advances and so much more affecting the patient access community.

Exclusive Offer – View the agenda at a glance and register today – Be sure to use your exclusive promo code PAP10 to save 10% off* of your registration.

PAP Critical Update serves as a three-day conference experience, featuring top experts ready to lead robust discussions on the changing legal environment, industry best practices, policy watch‑outs and more, including:
  • State of the Industry of Legislation and Pending Health Policy
  • The Intersection of Access and Affordability
  • Leading Perspectives from Regulatory, Foundations and Payers
  • Technology Advances Ensuring Access
  • COVID-19 and PAP Support
  • Accumulator and Maximizer Programs
Unparalleled Virtual Capabilities:
  • Interactive presentations and panels
  • Live Q&A and polling
  • Live and on-demand sessions, all available 30-days post-event to review at your leisure
  • 1-1 meeting opportunities and peer-to-peer engagement
  • Sophisticated and seamless scheduling tools
Exclusive Offer – View the agenda at a glance and register today – Be sure to use your exclusive promo code PAP10 to save 10% off* of your registration.

Informa Connect will see you there!

*Cannot be combined with other offers, promotions or applied to an existing registration. Other restrictions may apply.



The content of Sponsored Posts does not necessarily reflect the views of Pembroke Consulting, Inc., Drug Channels, or any of its employees.

Friday, January 08, 2021

Preserving Trusted Brand Prescribing Through the Patient Journey

Today’s guest post comes from Julia Phillips, VP of Pharma Accounts and Enablement at CoverMyMeds.

Julia discusses common patient access and affordability issues. She describes CoverMyMeds’ technology solutions that are designed to help patients access, afford, and adhere to their prescribed medications.

To learn more about CoverMyMeds’ medication access solutions, download their Technology Solutions Overview.

Read on for Julia’s insights.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Surprise! Brand-Name Drug Prices Fell (Again) in 2020

It was another year of unexpected drug price developments.

In 2020, brand-name drug net prices dropped for the third consecutive year. Meanwhile, brand-name drug list prices grew at their slowest rate in at least 20 years. See our updated analysis below.

I also review the factors behind declining brand-name drug prices. These factors are firmly in place for 2021.
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Our new Congress may try tackle drug prices in the new year. Let’s hope that their policy perceptions catch up to today’s realities.

Monday, January 04, 2021

16th Hub and SPP Model Optimization Spring Stakeholder Summit

16th Hub and SPP Model Optimization Spring Stakeholder Summit
March 3-5, 2021 | Virtual Event
www.informaconnect.com/hub-spp

This important event convenes key stakeholders to showcase innovative hub programs and patient-centric services to maximize access, reimbursement and adherence. Highlighting top-line regulatory actions, updates on the evolving affordability landscape, and industry perspectives on access strategy, this virtual program tackles immediate challenges and delivers actionable, cutting-edge strategies for a successful hub program.

Drug Channels readers will save 10% off the current registration rate when they use code HUBSDC10*.

Can’t Miss Content on Tap:
  • Delivering Value to Empower and Educate Patients to Enhance Medication Adherence
  • Navigate the Challenges and Complexities of Medical Benefit Products
  • Discover Best-in-Class Service for Streamlined Stakeholder Workflow and Access
  • Trailblazer Talk – Develop Innovative Models and Novel Strategies to Ensure Access
  • Explore eServices Management Strategies to Optimize Value
  • Strategy Insights and Metrics for Launch in a New Normal
Innovative Features:
  • Main Stage Keynotes, New Year Enforcement Updates from Regulatory Agencies, Industry Panels and Strategic Case Studies
  • Industry Only Rapid-Fire Solution Showcase Luncheon: In a series of short demonstrations and presentations by leading experts and solution providers, experience cutting-edge, innovative services and offerings, while enjoying a complimentary lunch during this invite-only showcase
  • Peer-to-Peer Exchange – Best Practice and Knowledge Sharing Table Talks: Benchmark pain points, share best practices and unpack challenges with peers around top of mind topic areas that are affecting the access world today in three interactive brainstorming sessions
  • Virtual Access to the Sponsorship Pavilion and VIP Matchmaking
  • Videos and Presentations Available On-Demand with Access for 30 Days Post Event
Featured Speakers:
  • Esther Langer, Head US Patient Services, Trade, and Distribution, Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Jourdan Russo, Director, Patient Services, Kyowa Kirin, Inc.
  • Dave MacLeod, Head of Patient Services and Specialty Pharmacy Operations, Amylyx Pharmaceuticals
  • Deepti Jaggi, Global Head of Patient Insights and Solutions, Astellas US
  • Marina Allen, Executive Director, Patient Access and Reimbursement, Coherus BioSciences
  • And more!
Drug Channels readers will save 10% off the current registration rate
 when they use code HUBSDC10*.

*Offer applies to standard rates only and may not be combined with other offers, category rates, promotions or applied to an existing registration. Offer not valid on workshop only or academic/non-profit registrations.



The content of Sponsored Posts does not necessarily reflect the views of Pembroke Consulting, Inc., Drug Channels, or any of its employees.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Specialty Pharmacy Keeps Disrupting Buy-and-Bill—and COVID-19 Will Accelerate It (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for today's video webinar: Drug Channels Outlook 2021.

Click here to see the original post and comments from September 2020.


Will COVID-19 trigger long-term share gains for specialty pharmacies as suppliers to hospitals and physician offices?

Before the pandemic, specialty pharmacies—via white, brown, and clear bagging—had already displaced buy-and-bill distribution channels for a substantial chunk of provider-administered specialty drugs. See below for detailed data on oncology and non-oncology products.

We estimate that in the first half of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic accelerated this shift. Some of the changes will likely be transitory, as patients return to their healthcare providers. But payers will try to retain some of these gains—especially if they also own a specialty pharmacy.

Read on and see if you agree.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Booming Biosimilar Market of 2020 (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for this Friday’s video webinar: Drug Channels Outlook 2021.

Drug pricing perceptions always seem to lag reality. Consider HHS's "Most Favored Nation" model for Medicare Part B. HHS relied in part on a highly misleading ASPE study of 2018 data. Conveniently for HHS, ASPE's analysis stopped before the biosimilar boom began.

Click here to see the original post and comments from October 2020.


The biosimilar market is finally beginning to fulfill its promise.

The latest data show that provider-administered biosimilar drugs are successfully displacing their reference biological products. As I predicted last year, newer biosimilars are being adopted quickly, and their prices are declining rapidly. What’s more, manufacturers of reference products are cutting drug prices to defend their market shares.

Last year, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner, argued that we shouldn’t give up on biosimilars and prematurely regulate prices. As you will see below, Dr. Gottlieb was right.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

My Wall Street Journal Op-Ed about the 340B Program (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for this Friday’s video webinar: Drug Channels Outlook 2021.

The 340B program will be a major issue in 2021. I expect manufacturers to escalate their challenges to the contract pharmacy elements of the program. Meanwhile, covered entities will be battling manufacturers, state Medicaid programs, their contract pharmacy partners, and perhaps even HRSA itself. I'll share my thoughts on the latest developments during this Friday's webinar.

In the meantime, please enjoy my op-ed from September, which focuses on how 340B warps *prescription* prices (not drug list prices) and patient out-of-pocket costs. ICYMI, here are some clarifying comments on federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs).

Click here to see the original post and comments from September 2020.


Last Friday, The Wall Street Journal published my opinion piece: The Federal Program That Keeps Insulin Prices High. The article text is pasted below for those who don't subscribe.

I summarize issues with the role of contract pharmacies in the 340B Drug Pricing Program. My arguments will be familiar to regular readers of Drug Channels. I wrote this piece for a general business audience, so it's highly readable and omits industry insider terminology. To help you get the most from the article, I have included additional links to source materials in the text.

Note that my commentary focuses primarily on hospitals, which account for the vast majority of 340B program sales. Federal grantees are more likely to pass discounted 340B prices to needy patients. However, grantees should consider my warning from 2014: The good apples—the 340B entities that require additional financial support to support needy patients—should be worried that the bad ones could rot away the program for everyone.

Please share your comments below and I'll respond where appropriate.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

How GoodRx Profits from Our Broken Pharmacy Pricing System (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for this Friday’s video webinar: Drug Channels Outlook 2021.

GoodRx went public in September. Its current market cap is an astounding $17.6 billion. Amazon is now copying the GoodRx discount card model.

Click here to see the original post and comments from August 2020.


On Friday, GoodRx filed its Form S-1 in preparation for going public. Link below.

The company is insanely profitable. Its adjusted net income—earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA)—is an astonishing 40%.

Below, I provide my overview of how our crazy drug channel system enables GoodRx’s good fortune. You will admire the GoodRx management team’s business savvy in building a company that lowers out-of-pocket costs for consumers. But you will also wonder whether this business perpetuates a broken pharmacy drug pricing model.

P.S. This article updates and expands on the comments I posted to @DrugChannels on Friday evening.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Prime Therapeutics Deepens Its Reliance on Express Scripts: Our Four Takeaways From Their New Pharmacy Relationship (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for this Friday’s video webinar: Drug Channels Outlook 2021.

Click here to see the original post and comments from October 2020.


Last week, news broke that Prime Therapeutics is expanding its relationship with Cigna’s Express Scripts to include mail and specialty pharmacy dispensing. So far, there's been very little written about this transaction.

Below, I share my thoughts on the following topics arising from the deal:
  • The mail and specialty pharmacy market
  • The future of AllianceRx Walgreens Prime
  • The emerging Express Scripts industry platform
  • A reminder about why the Federal Trade Commission won’t challenge the relationship
Prime is becoming increasingly dependent on outsourcing to Cigna’s Express Scripts business. This new pharmacy contract furthers the industry’s move toward vertical consolidation and the disappearance of the independent PBM industry. 

Once again, channel intermediaries continue to gain power and extract profits. More to come.