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...

Friday, April 16, 2021

Choosing the Optimal Pharmacy Model for Retail and Specialty-Lite Products

Today’s guest post comes from Jeff Spafford, President and CEO at AssistRx.

Jeff discusses aspects of our drug pricing system that lead to decreased new and refill prescription volume, higher out-of-pocket costs for patients, and therapy abandonment.

To learn more about AssistRx’s technology solutions register for their Optimizing Program Performance: An Innovative Approach for Retail and Specialty Products webinar series.

Read on for Jeff’s insights.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Gross-to-Net Bubble Update: Net Prices Drop (Again) at Six Top Drugmakers

Time for Drug Channels' annual update on pricing at six of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers—Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, and Sanofi. You can find links to each company’s data below.

When rebates and discounts were factored in, brand-name drug prices declined—or grew slowly—in 2020. Consistent with our previous analyses, rebates and discounts reduced the selling prices of brand-name drugs to less than half of their list prices. What’s more, net drug prices have declined for the past four years.

Alas, many pharma industry perma-critics refuse to accept that brand-name drug prices are falling—or that they remain the only part of U.S. healthcare where prices have been declining. That’s why they are drug pricing flat earthers (DPFE.) Consider today’s data deluge as my small contribution to making the world a slightly smarter and more fact-based place.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Informa Connect’s Patient Support Services Congress

Informa Connect’s Patient Support Services Congress
June 15-17, 2021 | VIRTUAL EVENT (All-Digital Format)

Patient Support Services is a dialogue driven meeting that arms the industry with trends and next-generation approaches to patient services for optimal performance. Showcasing innovative discussions on access strategy, patient interactions, case management, compliance practices and more, this two-and-a-half-day event navigates a myriad and mounting level of compliance hurdles while strengthening and innovating patient-oriented programs.

Drug Channels readers save 10% off the current registration rate with promo code 21PSSDC10.* Register today.

In-Depth Discussions and Actionable Takeaways on Critical Topics:
  • Keep a Pulse on Emerging Trends for 2021 — Update on Drug Pricing Pressures, Patient Assistance Programs, Evolving Copay Card Legislation and Formulary Transformations
  • Enforcement Update — Oversight and High Priority Risk Areas for Patient Services
  • Industry Playbook for Risk Mitigation — Leading Frameworks to Enhance your Compliance Strategy
  • Enhance the Stakeholder Experience — Operational Insights on Specialty Patient Connectivity
  • Capture and Optimize Patient Data to Create an Integrated Experience
Customizable Experience with Two Tailored Tracks:
  • Legal and Compliance
  • Innovation and Operations
Featured Faculty Driving the Conversation:
  • Esther Langer, Head of US Patient Services, Trade and Distribution, Apellis Pharmaceuticals
  • Paul J. Koob, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Jolie Apicella, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Chief, Health Care Fraud, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York
  • Rahul Khara, Pharm.D., Vice President, Legal and Chief Compliance Officer, Acceleron Pharma Inc.
  • Amy Wilson, Head, U.S. Compliance, Morphosys
  • Karen Tenenbaum, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, Head of Legal, Salix
  • Liam Moy, Senior Director, Patient Services, Neurology, Alexion Pharmaceuticals
  • Katherine Chaurette, Vice President Healthcare Law and Compliance, Blueprint Medicines
  • Dave MacLeod, Head of Patient Services and Specialty Pharmacy Operations, Amylyx Pharmaceuticals
  • Robert Britting, Director, Patient Services and Strategic Solutions, Teva Pharmaceuticals
  • And so many more!
Comprehensive Content and Dynamic Features Include:
  • 3 days of live content from industry thought-leaders
  • 10+ on-demand sessions, tailored to both access and compliance
  • Over 4 hours of live speaker Q&A
  • AI-powered virtual networking with colleagues and counterparts
  • Private meeting and chat rooms
  • Access to live and on-demand content for 30 days post-event
Drug Channels readers save 10% off the current registration rate with promo code 21PSSDC10. Register today.

*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, April 09, 2021

A Framework to Optimize Patient Access And Drive Value in the Care Continuum

Today’s guest post comes from William Dupere, Practice Lead and Vice President of Market Access at TrialCard.

Bill discusses specific barriers to access, affordability, and adherence in the specialty pharmacy patient journey. To learn more about TrialCard’s patient access solutions, please visit their Resources page. You can also contact them at sales@trialcard.com.

Read on for Bill’s insights.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

The Top Pharmacy Benefit Managers of 2020: Vertical Integration Drives Consolidation

The drug channel is consolidating, both vertically and horizontally.

For evidence, look no further than Drug Channels Institute's estimates of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) market share, which are shown in the chart below. For 2020, DCI estimates that the three biggest PBMs accounted for more than three-quarters of total equivalent prescription claims.

To help you make sense of recent market changes, I also include a brief video explaining how various transactions and partnerships have concentrated and shifted PBM share among the vertically integrated companies. The video is excerpted from my recent Patients, Payers, and PBMs webinar.

Depending on your role in the drug channel, you may or may not find these data terrifying.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Streamlining the Specialty Therapy Prescribing and Enrollment Experience

Today’s guest post comes from Megan Marchal, CoverMyMeds Specialty Pharmacy’s pharmacist in charge.

Megan discusses a recent enhancement to AMP: Access for More Patients™ (AMP), a tech-enabled hub and patient access service from CoverMyMeds and RxCrossroads by McKesson. Read more about technology and patient access in CoverMyMeds’ 2021 Medication Access Report.

Read on for Megan’s insights.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Drug Channels News Roundup, March 2021: Sanofi’s Gross-to-Net Bubble, Express Scripts Rebates, Health Insurance Hustle, and Vertical Integration Illustrated

Spring has finally reached our worldwide headquarters here in lovely downtown Philadelphia. (See photo at right.) Before your allergies kick in, please inhale this month’s selection of noteworthy news stories:
  • Sanofi: Drug prices drop, but patient costs increase
  • A new rebate disclosure from Express Scripts
  • The health insurance hustle
Plus, a 2021 update to my infamous chart of the seven biggest vertically integrated organizations that combine insurers, PBMs, specialty pharmacies, and healthcare providers.

P.S. Join the more than 11,400 followers of my daily links to neat stuff at @DrugChannels on Twitter. You can also join my more than 16,000 followers on LinkedIn.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Informa Connect's Medicaid and Government Pricing Congress

Medicaid and Government Pricing Congress
June 8-11, 2021 | Virtual Event

Register today using the exclusive Drug Channels discount code 21MDGP10 to receive 10% off!

The Medicaid and Government Pricing Congress, an important event dedicated to critical policy updates and approaches to effectively contract, report and comply with state and federal healthcare programs, returns June 8-11, 2021.

Hear from GP Experts on MDRP trends and strategies and the impacts from the change to a new administration. The 2021 event has a content-rich agenda, providing the most up-to-date content and topics based on the ever-changing political and regulatory environment, fresh perspectives from small to big pharma and more interaction in the virtual environment.

Up-To-Date Content
We’ve got all of the key legal and consultant perspectives on topics like 340B (including contract pharmacy arrangements), State Price Transparency, CMS current and final rules, Most Favored Nations, and more!

Fresh Perspectives
Along with many of the well-respected experts typically on the program from companies like Gilead, Sandoz, CMS, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Regeneron, we’ve added new speakers form Amgen, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Novartis and more!

More Interaction
In addition to our select Panel Discussions and the insightful Fireside Chat with Outside Counsel, we’ve added interactive working groups led by expert Facilitators from manufacturers, law firms, and consulting groups to discuss everything from Product Launch, Divestiture and Acquisition Challenges to State Dispute Resolution and Collaboration during the pandemic, to State Price Transparency and Reporting.

PLUS our world-class content including topics like the in-depth GP 101 Bootcamp, operational effectiveness sessions, updates from OIG and more! Register today using the exclusive Drug Channels discount code 21MDGP10 to receive 10% off!

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

Friday, March 26, 2021

What I told Congress about the 340B Program (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for today's live video webinar: Drug Channels Quarterly Update: Patients, Payers, and PBMs.

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

ICYMI, House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) recently asked for input on how to improve the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Comments were due last Friday (October 30).

Your friendly neighborhood blogger submitted an 11-page letter, which you can read below. I shared my $0.02 on the overall market, explained channel distortions from 340B contract pharmacies, and offered some policy recommendations.

For your reference, I also include links to published comments from the American Hospital Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

The new Congress has an ambitious agenda. Let’s hope modernizing 340B gets on the do list.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Drug Pricing Policy in 2021: Four Crucial Consequences of Pharmacy Benefits Today (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for tomorrow's live video webinar: Drug Channels Quarterly Update: Patients, Payers, and PBMs.

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

When Americans complain about “drug prices,” most are actually complaining about the share of costs they pay—and how those costs are computed. Addressing patient affordability issues therefore requires a deep understanding of the U.S. drug channel.

Today, I review four crucial issues that the new Congress could tackle to address affordability, patients' out-of-pocket obligations, and prescription prices. I also highlight some of the existing and proposed legislative efforts. 

Our complex channel cannot be fixed with simplistic solutions. It may seem unlikely that we will get bipartisan legislation that sensibly addresses the distortions and challenges in our drug pricing system. But I can dream, can’t I?

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Disruption Delayed: Making Sense of Amazon’s Latest Pharmacy Moves (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for this Friday’s live video webinar: Drug Channels Quarterly Update: Patients, Payers, and PBMs.

Amazon Care, the company's virtual primary care offering, has announced a major expansion since the article below was published. However, I've read few overwrought predictions of doom for current telehealth and payer competitors—a welcome and notable difference from the 2017-18 mania about Amazon's imminent (and still unfulfilled) "disruption" of the pharmacy and PBM industries. 

Click here to see the original post and comments November 2020.

Amazon is getting more serious about pharmacy. ICYMI: Introducing Amazon Pharmacy: Prescription Medications Delivered.

This announcement is much less disruptive than it appears to be. Amazon is copying the GoodRx discount card model—including GoodRx’s partnership with Express Scripts. At the same time, Amazon is launching a mail pharmacy that will accept insurance and be in PBM pharmacy networks.

Amazon’s actions are another negative headwind for retail pharmacies, but not a fatal blow to the system. Perhaps Amazon will one day become a true disrupter. For now, Amazon is choosing to join the drug channel, not fundamentally change it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

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

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for this Friday’s live video webinar: Drug Channels Quarterly Update: Patients, Payers, and PBMs.

Click here to see the original post and comments from January 2021.

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.
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.