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 nearly 100,000 subscribers and followers. Learn more...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Top 15 Pharmacies of 2015

Next week, Drug Channels Institute will release our updated, revised, and expanded 2016 Economic Report on Retail, Mail, and Specialty Pharmacies.

The exhibit below—one of 129 in our new report—provides a sneak peek at the largest pharmacies, ranked by total U.S. prescription dispensing revenues for calendar year 2015.

Read on for details—including a downloadable PDF that’s suitable for framing!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Seven Pharmacy and Channel Implications of the New AMP Final Rule

Well, pierce my ears and call me drafty! Late last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finally released its long-overdue final rule regarding Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since 2012, CMS has announced—and then delayed—the release of the final rule at least five times. Makes you proud to be a taxpayer, doesn’t it?

Savor all of the bureaucratese for yourself in the oh-so-brief 658-page rule, known to the cool kids as CMS-2345-FC. (Note: Not the name of a new Star Wars droid.)

The rule is effective April 1, 2016. (Seriously.) Below, I highlight what it could mean for drug channels, including observations on:
  • Prescription reimbursement
  • Pharmacy profits
  • Manufacturers’ channel strategies
  • Bona fide service fees
  • Manufacturer-retail direct distribution arrangements
  • And more!

Monday, January 25, 2016

GPO Membership, 340B and Class of Trade Management

CBI’s GPO Membership, 340B and Class of Trade Management
March 23-24, 2016 | Philadelphia, PA

CBI’s Summit on GPO Membership, 340B and Class of Trade Management debuted last year to rave reviews from manufacturers, GPOs, wholesalers, distributors, legal counsel and others. The March 2016 event promises to build on that momentum, advancing the conversation to provide strategic approaches to the operational challenges faced everyday – proper management of GPO data, mitigating membership risk, ensuring accuracy in COT designation, optimizing data processes and more.

Multistakeholder Perspectives and Innovative Insights From:

Amerinet • Apexus • AstraZeneca • Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals • Cardinal Health
Chiesi USA, Inc. • Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC • Healthcare Supply Chain Association
Managed Health Care Associates (MHA) • McKesson Corporation • Novation
Octapharma USA, Inc • Pfizer Inc • Sunovion Pharmaceuticals • And More!

For more information, please download the complete agenda or visit www.cbinet.com/GPOCOT. Drug Channels readers will save $200 off of the standard registration rate when they use discount code QHJ775.*

*Cannot be combined with other offers or used towards a current registration. Cannot be combined with special category 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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Medicare Part D 2016: 75% of Seniors in a Preferred Pharmacy Network (PLUS: Which Plans Won and Lost)

Narrow pharmacy networks—either preferred or limited models—are now a widely accepted element of benefit design.

Just released data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirms that preferred cost-sharing networks continue to dominate Medicare Part D. According to our exclusive analysis, 75% of seniors are enrolled in Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) with preferred cost sharing pharmacy networks for 2016.

The top two companies—Humana and UnitedHealthcare—will enroll almost half of Part D beneficiaries in PDPs. Meanwhile, CVS Health’s SilverScript enrolled almost 80% of beneficiaries in an open network plan.

Read on for our latest look at the biggest companies and plans. In a future post, I’ll examine how Part D plans are building performance-based pharmacy networks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Oncology Commercialization and Market Access

9th Annual Oncology Commercialization and Market Access 2016
March 22-23, 2016 | San Francisco, CA

Are you ready to tackle the market?

Commercializing oncology products is becoming much more complex due to the influx of innovative new therapies, combination therapies and the increased fragmentation of cancer types. With mounting pressures on the cost vs. value of these products from various stakeholders, it is now impacting the way bio/pharmaceutical companies are planning for the rising development costs, product reimbursement and market access hurdles as well as combating toxicity levels to ensure overall patient benefit. Within this high-risk, high-reward market, the development of a commercialization playbook is becoming one of the keys to success.

CBI’s 9th Annual Oncology Commercialization and Market Access meeting remains the go-to event to gain strategic insight from peers on the most pressing commercialization hurdles that executives face today. Join your industry colleagues for this in-depth and dynamic meeting to benchmark with all key stakeholders, gain best practices to successfully execute a global product launch and walk away with an actionable commercialization playbook to bring back to your organization!

Visit www.cbinet.com/oncology for more information.

Speakers Include Representatives from:
Celgene | Churchill Pharmaceuticals LLC | Eli Lilly & Co. | EMD Serono | Guard Dog Brand Development | Halozyme Therapeutics | Infinity Pharmaceuticals | Mayo Clinic | and more!

Drug Channels readers will save $400 off of the standard registration rate when they register with code NXP494.*

*Cannot be combined with other offers or used towards a current registration. Cannot be combined with special category 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.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Solving the Mystery of Employer-PBM Rebate Pass-Through

Manufacturers pay billions in rebates to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). How much of that money do PBMs share with their plan sponsor clients?

As far as I know, the only public answer comes from the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute’s (PBMI) new 2015-2016 Prescription Drug Benefit Cost and Plan Design Report. (Free download with registration.) Drug Channels again toasts Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America for having sponsored the research.

According to the PBMI’s survey data, only three-quarters of employers directly receive a piece of manufacturer rebates. Some employers get 100% of the rebates. Others get a portion, sometimes with a guaranteed minimum amount.

Below, I also highlight PBMI data about the prevalence of spread pricing (as opposed to pass-through pricing) as a means for employers to compensate PBMs. Despite what you may have heard, many employers still seem to prefer spread pricing models. Ruh roh!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Walgreens Boots Alliance Spins the Valeant Deal, Preps for Rite Aid, and Hints at a PBM Acquisition

Last week, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) held its latest quarterly earnings call. (See links below for materials.)

Its new Valeant deal was a hot topic for investors. Management took great care to assure Wall Street that it was not becoming Philidor RX V2.0 and dismissed any risks to its reputation. The top execs also highlighted the Valeant deal’s similarities to WBA’s European arrangements with generic manufacturers. So nothing to see here, move along?

WBA also gave a quick update on the Rite Aid deal, which it expects to complete by the second half of 2016, and made a few cryptic statements about “vertical integration.”

Below, I highlight and comment on intriguing comments from Stefano Pessina, WBA’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Alex Gourlay, Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance and President of Walgreens. Fun stuff.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Join Me at the sPCMA Business Forum for Specialty Pharmacy

sPCMA Business Forum
February 8 & 9
JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes | Orlando, FL

This February, I hope you will join me at the 2016 sPCMA Business Forum. More than a thousand executives will meet to discuss the rapidly-evolving specialty pharmacy industry.

I’ll be participating on a panel titled “Defining and Differentiating the Many Types of Specialty Pharmacies,” with Bill Martin, Vice President, Pharma Strategy and Account Management, Express Scripts, and Mike Zeglinski, Senior Vice President, Specialty Pharmacy, OptumRx. There will be many other interesting sessions, too. See the online agenda for full details on sessions and speakers.


Kicking off with a Super Bowl Party on Sunday evening, February 7 and ending with a Dessert Reception Tuesday evening February 9, the 2016 sPCMA Business Forum is designed to offer unparalleled business networking and invaluable specialty pharmacy education.

Register now and plan to be in sunny Orlando February 8 & 9

From an educational standpoint, the sPCMA’s speakers are among the industry's top thought leaders. When it comes to networking and conducting meetings, the Business Forum attracts the highest number of executives and decision makers from PBMs and the nation's largest specialty pharmacies of any industry conference.

Speakers include:
  • Michael Anderson, Chief Pharmacy Officer, Medicare and Retirement, UnitedHealthcare
  • Steve Avey, Vice President, Specialty Pharmacy, MedImpact
  • Chris Bradbury, Senior Vice President, Integrated Clinical Solutions and Specialty Pharmacy, Cigna Pharmacy Management
  • Mary Dorholt, Senior Director and Clinical Practice Lead, Specialty, Express Scripts
  • Adam Fein, President, Pembroke Consulting
  • Ronny Gal, Senior Analyst, Global Specialty Pharmaceuticals, Sanford Bernstein
  • David Galardi, Vice President, Worldwide Managing Director, Apogenics
  • Pat Gleason, Director, Health Outcomes, Prime Therapeutics
  • Brian Kelly, President, Optum Life Sciences
  • Mike Kolodziej, MD, National Medical Director, Oncology Solutions Office, Aetna
  • Doug Long, Vice President, Industry Relations, IMS Health
  • Bill Martin, Vice President, Pharma Strategy and Account Management, Express Scripts
  • Everett Neville, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain, Express Scripts
  • Lee Newcomer, Senior Vice President, Oncology, Genetics and Women's Health, UnitedHealthcare
  • Josh Ofman, MD, Senior Vice President, Global Value, Access and Policy, Amgen
  • George Paz, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Express Scripts, and PCMA Chairman of the Board
  • Steve Pearson, President, Institute for Clinical and Economic Review
  • Kent Rogers, Principal Consultant, Blue Fin Group
  • Jason Rucker, Director, Trade Research, Zitter Health Insights
  • Bill Sarraille, Partner, Sidley Austin
  • Brian Solow, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Optum Life Sciences
  • Debbie Stern, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, eviCore Healthcare
  • Farrah Wong, Manager, Drug Safety and Pipeline, OptumRx
  • Mike Zeglinski, Senior Vice President, Specialty Pharmacy, OptumRx
More than eight hours of CPE sessions will be offered as part of the program.

Contact PCMA | Conference Overview | Who Should Attend | Registration Information |
Hotel Information | Conference Agenda | Confirmed Speakers and CPE Information

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Grim Job Outlook for Retail Pharmacists, says BLS

The New Year is here—let’s kick it off with some good news/bad news for pharmacists.

According to our exclusive analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) new Occupational Outlook Handbook, drugstores are projected to employ about 7,000 fewer pharmacists in 2024 than they do today.

The good news? Pharmacists jobs in non-retail settings—hospitals, doctor’s office, and clinics—will add more jobs than the ones lost from retail.

Read on for our exclusive analysis of these data. And if you are a pharmacist: Plan accordingly! (Have you considered whether a career as a wind turbine service technician or commercial diver is right for you?)

Monday, January 04, 2016

Brand & Portfolio Management for Specialty Products Summit

Brand & Portfolio Management for Specialty Products Summit
February 25-26, 2016 | Philadelphia, PA

Based on industry feedback, ExL’s Brand & Portfolio Management for Specialty Products Summit is designed to help you manage products that require special storage, handling, monitoring and distribution from launch through maturation. Join ExL for beneficial presentations and interactive discussions led by executives from leading specialty manufacturers.

Hear from representatives of Actelion, BioBlast Pharma, Chiesi, Edge Therapeutics, Genentech, Kadmon Pharmaceuticals, Medac, Pacira, XenoPort and other organizations!

Join ExL for the following sessions:
  • Evaluate the Competitive Landscape to Determine the Ideal Launch Strategy
  • Educate Clinicians on the Benefits of Your Product over the Competition
  • Don’t Just Be Efficacy-Driven, Be Value-Driven: Understand What Your Customers Want from Your Product Beyond Effective Treatment
  • Leverage Analytical Insights to Strategically Expand Access
Plus, gain insights from a specialty pharmacy on how to create mutually beneficial partnerships based on their firsthand experience.

For more information, please download the brochure or visit the event homepage.

As a member of the Drug Channels community, register using discount code C796DC for a 15% discount.

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