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 22,000 subscribers. Learn more...

Monday, December 10, 2018

sPCMA Business Forum

sPCMA Business Forum
March 11 & 12, 2019
Hilton Bonnet Creek | Orlando, FL
Register Today!

The sPCMA Business Forum will return to the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, FL on March 11 & 12.

Senior executives and decision makers from PBMs, health plans and their affiliate specialty pharmacies will come together at the 2019 Business Forum to collaborate with drug makers and their other important business partners. The event offers invaluable networking and education for individuals and companies involved in the specialty drug supply chain. Registration for the conference is now open online.

Contact PCMA

Please contact Jenny Bradham (jbradham@pcmanet.org) with questions or to request further information.


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

Friday, December 07, 2018

Delivering Care Beyond Prescriptions: A Marketplace Opportunity for Independent Pharmacies

Today’s guest post comes from Brian Nightengale, President, Good Neighbor Pharmacy at AmerisourceBergen.

Brian discusses the challenges facing independent pharmacies. He outlines an intriguing growth vision for pharmacies that provide medication therapy management and other patient care services.

For more on how pharmacies can enhance care and lower medical expenses, see Delivering Care Beyond Prescriptions: A Marketplace Opportunity for Independent Pharmacies.

Read on for Brian’s insights.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Five Industry Trends for U.S. Drug Wholesalers in 2019

Modern Distribution Management recently published my article 2018 MDM Market Leaders | Top Pharmaceuticals Distributors. It is an excerpt from our 2018–19 Economic Report on Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Specialty Distributors.

Below, I republish the section of the article highlighting five significant industry trends affecting the U.S. drug wholesaling industry. I think Drug Channels readers will enjoy this summary as we look toward 2019. Click here to download a free overview of the full 2018-19 report.

P.S. I’ll be discussing these and other topics next week in my keynote address at CBI's 14th Life Sciences Trade and Channel Strategies. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

CMS Considers Point-of-Sale Pharmacy DIR: Another Prelude to a World Without Rebates?

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new rule for Medicare Parts B and D. It proposes changes to protected classes, e-prescribing, and other issues. Links and background below.

Notably for the Drug Channels audience, CMS also announced that it is considering—but not yet formally proposing—changes to how pharmacy price concessions are handled within Medicare Part D. These payments currently function like pharmacy rebates to Part D plans. They are therefore considered to be direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) and often called “DIR fees.”

Thanks to new CMS disclosures, we can now see why pharmacy owners hate these payments. Pharmacy DIR was $4 billion in 2017—about 1.5% of the retail pharmacy industry’s prescription revenues.

As I explain below, pharmacy DIR negatively affects the Medicare program and its beneficiaries in a manner similar to the impact of the rebates that manufacturers pay to plans. CMS wants the pharmacy DIR passed through to beneficiaries at the point of sale, i.e., when a prescription is dispensed.

Below, I explain this proposal, provide DCI's new analysis of DIR, and review the financial impact on drug channel participants. Keep in mind that the CMS proposal would *not* eliminate DIR fees or alter the financial impact of these payments on pharmacy profits. However, it’s clear that CMS wants plans and PBMs to change how these fees are computed and levied.

Pharmacy DIR is an important issue, because CMS is sharing some its views for a world without Part D rebates. The tough political question: Should taxpayers spend more to fix this problem?

Monday, December 03, 2018

PBMI 2019 Annual National Conference

PBMI 2019 Annual National Conference
March 4-6, 2019 │Palm Springs, CA

PBMI invites you to join more than 400 healthcare stakeholders in sunny Palm Springs, California at The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa Hotel, March 4-6, 2019 for its 24th Annual Conference.

As a special offer to Drug Channels readers, PBMI is offering a $200 savings discount on conference registration fees. Enter discount code PEM19 when you register online – code expires February 15, 2019.

The conference will open with a keynote presentation from Thomas E. Price, MD, an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Price most recently served as the 23rd Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). During his presentation, Dr. Price will talk about the ever-evolving and transforming role innovation has on healthcare and how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change our system.

Attendees will also hear from thought leaders at the forefront of what's happening in the industry and the patient perspective. See a list of confirmed speakers here.

As a special offer to Drug Channel subscribers, PBMI is offering a $200 savings discount on conference registration fees. Enter discount code PEM19 when you register online – code expires February 15, 2019.

For more conference information, visit the conference website.


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

Friday, November 30, 2018

The NDC Shortage: What the FDA Could (and Should) Do to Address It

Today’s guest post comes from Patricia Milazzo, Senior Director, Embedded Content with Clinical Effectiveness at Wolters Kluwer, Health.

As Patty explains, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will run out of 5-digit National Drug Code (NDC) codes within the next ten to fifteen years. She describes how the FDA can minimize the negative effects of the inevitable change in NDC format.

To learn more about the debates and best practice recommendations, download the complete paper, The NDC Shortage: What the FDA Could (and Should) Do to Address It.

Read on for Patty’s insights.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Drug Channels News Roundup, November 2018: Amazon/PillPack Update, Fake News from BCBSA, Drug List Prices in Ads, Part D Plans, and Dan Best

Hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday! I remain ever-thankful for your support and readership.

Now that you’ve stretched your stomach, stretch your mind with some food for thought. In this issue:
  • Amazon starts to expand PillPack's dispensing capabilities
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield misrepresents drug spending data
  • An excellent analysis of the CMS proposal for advertising drug list prices
  • The patient’s perspective on choosing a Medicare Part D plan
Plus, please consider making a donation to the Dan Best Memorial Fund. Details below.

P.S. For daily updates on stuff that I am reading, join the more than 6,500 people who follow @DrugChannels on Twitter.

P.S.2 Today, I’m at the Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York. I’ll be participating in a panel discussion about drug pricing with Steve Miller from Express Scripts. Please say hello if you’re attending!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Pharmacist Salaries Keep Rising: Hospitals Continue to Lead in Wage and Employment Growth

Time to update our exclusive annual analysis of pharmacist salaries. We again rely on the latest Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

For 2017, the average gross base salary for a pharmacist at a retail, mail, long-term care, and specialty pharmacy reached nearly $122,000—up slightly from the 2016 figure. Meanwhile, the share of pharmacists who work at hospitals reached a new high. Pharmacists who work at hospitals also had higher salaries and greater salary increases than those of pharmacists in outpatient dispensing formats.

Some people have predicted doom and gloom for pharmacists. These latest data show otherwise, though the ongoing shift to specialty drugs is altering long-standing employment patterns. Below, I profile pharmacist employment and salaries. I also offer a few controversial thoughts on U.S. healthcare spending and the industry’s salaries.

Monday, November 26, 2018

CBI’s 12th Hub and SPP Model Optimization

CBI’s 12th Hub and SPP Model Optimization
February 26-27, 2019 | Philadelphia, PA
www.cbinet.com/hubs

As the industry’s acclaimed event for hub and SPP model optimization, CBI’s 12th Hub and SPP Model Optimization conference brings together perspectives from manufacturers, payers, specialty pharmacies, hubs, PBMs, technology providers and more. You can't miss this timely meeting as you prepare to launch, transition or reboot your corporate or product approach to hub services!

Visit www.cbinet.com/hubs for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers will save $400 off the standard rate when they use promo code TJR752 and register prior to December 21st.*

CBI’s 12th Hub and SPP Model Optimization provides next-generation insights and strategies for service model design and enhancement to improve access and outcomes. By way of case studies, master classes and panels on stakeholder collaboration, compliance risks, technology advancements, auditing third-parties, nurse educator programs, contracting, data reporting, hub enrollment and more, you’ll return to the office ready to advance your organization to stay ahead in 2019.

You can sign up to see the agenda here.

Here’s an inside look at what you can expect:
  • Navigate the Complexities of Reimbursement and Access to Propel Adherence and Outcomes
  • Down Wall Street — Examine Revolutionary Deals, Breakthroughs and E-Commerce Players Impacting the Life Science Marketplace
  • Uncover Emerging Enforcement Trends and Top Risk Areas for 2019 and Beyond
  • Collaborate with Compliance—From Program Development to Monitoring and Auditing Third-Party Providers
  • Assess Powerful Partnership for Clinics and Patients—Aligning Manufactures, Hubs and SPPs to Minimize Duplication and Streamline Access
  • Discuss How Patient Support Is Driving Meaningful Outcomes for Value-Based Reimbursement
  • Evaluate Industry’s Leading Hub and SPP Models
  • Hear What’s on the Horizon for Hubs—A Look into the Continued Evolution and Advancement of Services Accelerating Access
  • Enhance Electronic Benefit Verification and Prior Authorizations to Decrease Time to Fill and Optimize HCP Workflow
PLUS! New this year – benefit from the Master Class Series:
  • Copay Accumulator Download—Forecast and Manage the Impact on Patients and Manufacturers
  • Elevate Efficiency and Value of the Hub while Reducing Costs
  • Nurse Educator Programs—Compliant Program Design and
  • Align Distribution Channel Strategies with Hub and SPP Model Design
  • Optimize Compliant Quick Start and Bridge Programs
  • Revamp and Restructure Contracting Agreements for Specialty Data to Create Operational Efficiencies
Visit www.cbinet.com/hubs for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers will save $400 off the standard rate when they use code TJR752 and register prior to December 21st.*

CBI will see you there!

*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.

Monday, November 19, 2018

CBI’s 14th Life Sciences Trade and Channel Strategies

CBI’s 14th Life Sciences Trade and Channel Strategies
December 11-12, 2018 | Philadelphia, PA
www.cbinet.com/trade

Don’t miss the life science industry’s favorite event where the experts will share how to expand the playbook on product-specific network design, contracting and specialty distribution strategy.

Visit www.cbinet.com/trade for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers will save $200 off the standard rate when they use promo code FPH346 and register prior to November 30th.*

Gain critical insights on industry trends, political impact, market dynamics and product-specific channel strategies. Key stakeholders come together to navigate the complex distribution and contracting landscape and discuss ways to optimize channel strategies in order to reach patients in need and provide the necessary services based on product type, site of care and reimbursement.

You can read all about it here.
  • Hear from Adam J. Fein, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Drug Channels Institute as he provides a Drug Channels Update—Things to Watch in 2019
  • Gain insight from William Roth, Founding Partner Blue Fin Group as he addresses the Fragmentation and Customization Coming to Pharmaceutical Channels
  • Walk down Wall Street as industry analysts sound off on the Cigna-Express Scripts deal and the CVS-Aetna deal as well as Amazon’s entrance into the marketplace
  • Navigate the evolving managed care landscape and identify emerging models in utilization management to enhance product access and network design
  • Discover leading distribution models based on product type (specialty pharmacy benefit, specialty medical benefit, orphan/rare, gene therapies, complex generics)
  • Measure the impact of Copay Accumulator Programs on patients and manufacturers
  • Customize your experience through a master class series:
    • Integrating pharmacy and medical benefits
    • Specialty pharmacy strategy design for biosimiliars and on-market brands
    • Navigate limited and closed pharmacy network models
    • Patient support programs and hub services
    • Advanced SP contracting
    • Managed markets compliance
Visit www.cbinet.com/trade for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers will save $200 off the standard rate when they use promo code FPH346 and register prior to November 30th.*

See you there!

*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.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Commercializing Cell and Gene Therapies with High-Touch Services

Today’s guest post comes from Layne Martin, VP/GM, Specialty Distribution and Third-Party Logistics at McKesson Life Sciences.

Companies commercializing cell and gene therapies face many novel challenges, including: supply chain logistics, patient access, adherence, outcomes collection, and data analysis. Layne reviews the crucial issues and explains the services needed for success.

McKesson Life Sciences has developed a portfolio of patient-centric solutions to help cell and gene therapy companies. To learn more, download their new white paper: The Key to Commercializing Revolutionary Gene Therapies and Other Orphan Drugs.

Read on for Layne’s insights.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Express Scripts Launches a New Formulary for a World Without Rebates. Will Plan Sponsors and Drug Makers Play Along?

Express Scripts has just announced its National Preferred Flex Formulary, a new option that favors drugs with lower list prices over the high-list/high-rebate versions of these products. Click here to read the press release.

This new formulary signals that Express Scripts is trying to prepare its plan sponsor clients for a world without rebates. The formulary also provides a way for Express Scripts to prepare itself for such a world.

As I explain below, many plan sponsors embrace the warped incentives of the gross-to-net bubble—the ever-growing pile of money between a manufacturer’s list price for a drug and the net price after rebates and other reductions. I outline two crucial payer and PBM factors that make it difficult for manufacturers to cut list prices and pop the gross-to-net bubble.

Express Scripts’ new formulary challenges plan sponsors that are addicted to rebate dollars. Let’s see how many plan sponsors will prefer a low list-price over a high-list/high-rebate product—and how many more manufacturers will respond with lower list prices.