Thursday, January 20, 2011

Drug Channels News Roundup: January 2011

Time for a rundown of noteworthy Drug Channels news stories from cold and snowy January. Here are four items for your consideration:
  • What, me worry? No PBM price war according to David Snow
  • The Church of Pharmacy: CVS battles to convert a Memphis church
  • Post-Valentine’s Track-and-Trace Bash! The FDA announces a February 15-16 workshop
  • What, me adhere? A worthwhile new white paper on innovative ways that PBMs are connecting with consumers
Plus, a fun way to visualize what a trillion dollars looks like. Ka-CHING!

Medco CEO: Drug-Benefit Industry Pricing To Stay 'Responsible'
This article summarizes some insightful comments on Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) competitive dynamics by Medco Health Solutions (NYSE:MHS) Chairman and Chief Executive David B. Snow Jr. Quotes that caught my eye:
  • On PBM pricing: “There is no reward for irresponsibility on the pricing side, investors will hammer a company that is irresponsible relative to its pricing. You cannot win in a marketplace by pricing yourself out of profitability.”
  • On UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) contract renewal: “I believe that we have a very good chance of renewal.”
  • On buying generic drugs: "...extremely stable and extremely competitive, which is very good for us.”
From Pews to Prescriptions
The Wall Street Journal reports on CVS Caremark’s plans to plans to bulldoze a church and erect a pharmacy. Now, here’s some intrepid reporting: “Walgreen Co. recently built stores on former church sites in New York and Kentucky. Rite Aid Corp. opened a location in 2008 at the site of a former Protestant church in Pennsylvania.” Who keeps track of such things?

FDA Workshop on Track and Trace
The FDA’s most recently published Strategic Priorities FY2011-2015 don’t include anything about track-and-trace, which is why I wondered: Is Track-and-Trace a priority for the FDA? Well, the FDA is getting back in the game with this post-Valentine’s Day meeting. Read the official announcement in all its Federal Registeriness: Determination of System Attributes for The Tracking and Tracing of Prescription Drugs. Participants will “provide their individual perspectives” rather than “develop consensus opinions,” so expect spin from all stakeholders. Seats are limited, but check StubHub if you need to buy a ticket on the secondary market.

Innovate or Be Commoditized
George van Antwerp, who writes a nice blog at Enabling Healthy Decisions and runs the Pharmacy Solutions business for Silverlink Communications, has just released an interesting new white paper titled Innovate or Be Commoditized: The PBM and Pharmacy Challenge For 2011. (Free download, but you may be forced to register at Silverlink’s site.) The paper has worthwhile and thought-provoking ideas on consumer to consumer engagement and patient-centric solutions. Bonus: The title echoes Geddy Lee's timeless advice Conform or Be Cast Out.

What does one TRILLION dollars look like?
U.S. National Health Expenditures were $2.5 trillion in 2009, so perhaps you are wondering, too. Very cool graphic.

1 comment:

  1. I would be pleased if you would give me more idea about Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) competitive dynamics by Medco Health Solutions (NYSE:MHS.