Thursday, February 26, 2015

News Roundup, February 2014: CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Celgene, 340B, and more

Brrrr! This year’s ultra-cold winter is not done yet. (I blame Elsa.) To stay warm, please enjoy this month's look at noteworthy new stories from the Drug Channels universe. In this issue:
  • CVS Health prepares you for the next specialty drug war
  • Stefano Pessina shares his business philosophy and vision for Walgreens Boots Alliance
  • Celgene releases a useful letter on 340B and limited dispensing networks
Plus: A long time ago in a culture that seems far, far away, vaccinations weren't viewed as a government plot to give kids autism. Watch the video below for proof.

P.S. Follow @Drug Channels for my daily updates on noteworthy news and interesting analysis.

In The Debate About Cost And Efficacy, PCSK9 Inhibitors May Be The Biggest Challenge Yet, Health Affairs Blog
Did you enjoy the Hepatitis C price wars? CVS Health hopes so. It wants to rerun the HCV playbook with the forthcoming PCSK9 inhibitors, a new therapy class that is highly effective in reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). in this article, CVS Health attempts to scare payers—and presumably manufactures—about these drugs. Consider yourself warned.

Walgreens Alliance boss: Boots is part of the great heritage of the UK, The Telegraph
Why did Stefano Pessina put together the new Walgreen Boots Alliance (WBA)? According to the man himself: "It's a desire to build, to build something. I am engineer at the end of the day, I like building things." You should certainly check out this revealing interview, which provides a useful primer on Pessina’s background and rise to the top.

In the article, he repeatedly asserts that the deal is not a takeover of Walgreens. I guess that’s why all but one top Walgreens executive is gone, and the new WBA logo has no traces of the classic Walgreens red. Hmmm...

Notice Regarding Limited Distribution Network for Revlimid® (lenalidomide), Pomalyst® (pomalidomide), and Thalomid® (thalidomide), Celgene Corporation notice
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which oversees the 340B Drug Discount Program through its Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA), recently posted this letter from Celgene. It’s a valuable statement of purpose for manufacturers evaluating the specialty pharmacy network strategies described in section 3.7.1 of our 2014-15 Economic Report on Retail, Mail, and Specialty Pharmacies.

Celgene states that its “…selection criteria for accepting providers into the limited distribution networks is and has been based on factors unrelated to a pharmacy’s 340B status.” This is a good guideline given the specialty pharmacy boom.

Droids peddle their vaccine agenda in this vintage Star Wars PSA poster, AVClub
As this AVClub article notes: "A long time ago in a culture that seems far, far away, vaccinations weren’t viewed as a government plot to give kids autism." Here’s an unintentionally hilarious video of some random droids peddling their vaccine agenda. Click here if you can’t see the video.

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