Tuesday, April 28, 2015

News Roundup, April 2015: CVS Health, Express Scripts, 340B, Generic Inflation, and More

Spring has finally reached Drug Channels' worldwide headquarters! Before your allergies start acting up, please enjoy this month’s selection of news stories from the Drug Channels universe.

In this issue:
  • What happens when CVS Health Larry Merlo gives a TED talk?
  • Has the 340B Drug Pricing Program Lost Its Way?
  • Are Express Scripts’ formulary deals anticompetitive?
  • Will generic drug inflation slow?
Plus, a very clever video spoof of every TV news report on the economy. Awesome!

P.S. Help me impress my teenage children by following @Drug Channels on Twitter. As a bonus, you'll get my hand-selected daily updates on notable news and analysis.

The Good and The Growth in Quitting | Larry Merlo, TEDxWakeForestU
CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo delivered a thoughtful TEDx talk on the company’s decision to stop selling tobacco. Merlo pitches the talk to millennials. So, if you see Merlo at the NACDS annual meeting, tell him that his talk was on fleek. (Ask a teenager what that means.) Click here if you can’t see the video.

Has the 340B Program Lost Its Way? Managed Care
Here’s a timely update on the controversial 340B Drug Pricing Program. 2016 could be a significant year of change for the 340B program. In June, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is expected to release some sort of “mega-guidance” on the program. Meanwhile, Congress is showing renewed interest in the 340B program’s operations.

For deeper industry context, see “Pharmacy Participation in the 340B Drug Pricing Program” (page 160) of my 2014-15 Economic Report on Retail, Mail, and Specialty Pharmacies.

Pharma Distribution Deals Raise Concerns, Pharmaceutical Executive
As regular readers know, Express Scripts and other pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have been getting extra rebates in exchange for preferred (or exclusive) formulary position. (Background in What Gilead’s Big Hepatitis C Discounts Mean for Biosimilar Pricing.) In this Pharmaceutical Executive article, the author speculates about possible antitrust implications of these deals. Good food for thought.

Generic Drug Prices Keep Rising, but is a Slowdown Coming? The Wall Street Journal/Pharmalot
Pharmalot’s indefatigable Ed Silverman reviews recent research reports on generic drug prices (including this one by yours truly). Worth reading.

Every TV news report on the economy in one, Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe
Here's a very witty takedown of all-too-familiar TV business news tropes. Click here if you can't see the video.

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