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...

Monday, February 29, 2016

Join me at the 2016 Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit

Please join me at 2016 Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit, which will take place on May 2-6, 2016, at the wonderful Wynn & Encore Las Vegas.

Based on personal experience, I can tell you that the Summit attracts an impressive diversity of pharmacies, manufacturers, health plans, wholesalers, hospital systems, pharmacy benefit managers, patient advocacy groups, and others. View the agenda and check out the list of speakers.

Below, watch a fun video review of last year's Summit. You can read my review of the 2015 summit in Specialty Pharmacy’s Bright but Complex Future: Seven Reflections on #Armada15.

Read on for more details about this great specialty pharmacy event, or just register now. See you in Vegas!


Join thousands of industry stakeholders who will be attending the upcoming 2016 Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit in Las Vegas. Don’t Miss the Nation’s Largest Specialty Pharmacy Conference!

The Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit returns to Wynn & Encore Las Vegas on May 2-6, 2016. This annual event is the largest U.S. healthcare conference focused on specialty pharmacy. It welcomes a blended mix of executives and professionals from a variety of pharmacy providers, pharma/biotech manufacturers, payers, drug wholesalers and other healthcare organizations.

During the four-day conference, participants will gain an in-depth understanding of all aspects of specialty pharmacy from renowned industry speakers. Over 100 hours of seminars, educational sessions and business workshops are scheduled (including more than 14 live CE credits for pharmacists). Additional agenda items include celebrity keynote speakers at the general session, vendor exhibits, expert panel discussions, networking receptions and other high-energy events.

Hotel rooms at Wynn and Encore are limited. Registration is a click away. Join thousands of industry stakeholders and confirm your participation today!

Please enjoy this video. Click here if you can’t see it.

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

Friday, February 26, 2016

Inside McKesson’s Acquisition of Biologics Specialty Pharmacy

Yesterday, McKesson announced its acquisition of two significant oncology businesses: Vantage Oncology and Biologics. Click here to read the press release.

McKesson provided only general statements about its motivations behind the $1.2 billion deals. Fear not, dear reader. Below, I offer two key hypotheses about McKesson’s strategic considerations in purchasing the Biologics specialty pharmacy.

This much is certain: For manufacturers, the deals further illustrate the emergence of organized customers that cross traditional commercial and channel boundaries.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Drug Channels News Roundup, February 2016: Walgreens Boots Alliance (x2), Express Scripts, Valeant, and CVS Health

Brrr. This winter has felt like February since December. But winter is almost over. To celebrate and stay warm, please enjoy this month's hand-picked selection of noteworthy Drug Channels news stories. In this issue:
  • Learn about WBA’s Stefano Pessina and the behind-the-scenes details of his Walgreens takeover
  • Watch Pessina hype vertical integration
  • Hear Express Scripts talk tough about Valeant (and wonder if it's just talk)
Plus, an exclusive report from a CVS Health cashier during cold and cough season.

P.S. For daily updates on news and articles that I think are cool and/or interesting, join the more than 2,500 people who follow @DrugChannels on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

340B Purchases Hit $12 Billion in 2015—and Almost Half of the Hospital Market

According to new data that Apexus has made available to Drug Channels, discounted purchases made under the 340B Drug Pricing Program hit $12 billion in 2015. That’s a whopping 67% higher than the 2013 figure. I estimate that the undiscounted value of these purchases exceeds $17 billion.

Most 340B purchases are made by hospitals. My exclusive number-crunching below reveals that hospitals now receive 340B discounts on more than 44% of their drug purchases. As I predicted two years ago, the 340B program is taking over the hospital market.

How much of this money goes to uninsured and needy patients? No one knows, and the hospitals aren’t saying much. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) expects to finalize its Omnibus Guidance in the fall. Unfortunately, HRSA doesn’t seem keen on requiring that any financial savings be directed to the neediest patients. Maybe it just doesn’t want to get a blister on its little finger.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Pharmacy Owner’s View of Preferred Networks

Today’s guest post comes from Michael Deninger, a pharmacy owner in Iowa who writes The Thriving Pharmacist blog. Preferred and limited networks have become a prominent feature of pharmacy benefit plans. Mike provides a fascinating, first-person perspective on this crucial trend by describing his experience living with the pros and cons of preferred pharmacy networks.

Given the importance of narrow networks, I devote all of Chapter 7 of my new 2016 Economic Report on Retail, Mail, and Specialty Pharmacies to an analysis of the trends and its impact on pharmacies, payers, and manufacturers.

As I see it, many interrelated factors support the continued adoption of narrow networks. Mike’s views complement the broader industry economics in my report and highlight why pharmacy owners generally dislike narrow networks. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Retail Pharmacy Clinics: Top Players and the Coming 2016 Pause

As low-cost generics come to dominate retail dispensing activity, clinics have emerged as a way for drugstores and other retail pharmacy outlets to diversify into non-dispensing revenues.

There are now about 2,000 retail clinics. Below, I examine the chains with the biggest market share: CVS Health, HEB, Kroger, Rite Aid, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart.

In 2015, the number of clinics grew slowly. In 2016, I project another year of slow growth as the big players retrench. While clinics sound like an exciting strategy, revenues from in-store clinics are—and will likely remain—a very small share of pharmacy chains’ prescription revenues.

Monday, February 15, 2016

CBI’s Formulary, Co-Pay and Access Summit

CBI’s Formulary, Co-Pay and Access Summit
April 5-6, 2016 | Philadelphia, PA

From the company that brought you the Coupon and Co-Pay Off-Set Strategies Series, CBI’s Formulary, Co-Pay and Access Summit provides a forum for industry to learn how to strategically navigate new access challenges, such as formulary exclusions, high deductible plans, NDC blocks and step therapy programs, while still providing valuable patient services and support, including coupons, co-pays or bridge programs.

Stakeholders providing expert insight include representatives from Acorda Therapeutics, Bayer, Biogen, Celldex Therapeutics, eMAX Health, Insys Therapeutics, Janssen, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, PSKW and TrialCard.

Don’t miss this timely meeting designed to provide critical insights and solutions to the biggest obstacles in patient access and offer design.

For more information, please download the complete agenda or visit www.cbinet.com/formulary. Drug Channels readers will save $200 off of the standard registration rate when they use code DYQ363.*

*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.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Medicaid Drug Reimbursement Changes—The Move Toward Cost-Based Reimbursement

Today’s guest post comes from George Kitchens, president of Artia Solutions, on behalf of Elsevier.

George provides another view on the Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) final rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). He describes different cost-based price estimation approaches and proposes Predictive Acquisition Cost (PAC) as an alternative way to calculate a pharmacy’s drug acquisition cost.

Click here to download Elsevier's free case study that describes how Oklahoma’s state Medicaid program used PAC to reduce generic price spending while maintaining a satisfied pharmacy network.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The FDA Is Finally Ending Generic Inflation—and Hurting Wholesaler Profits

Is the generic drug inflation story over?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finally starting to clear the backlog of new generic drug applications. And right on cue, wholesaler executives have confirmed that generic inflation is slowing down or ending, reducing their profits.

As I told NPR’s Marketplace radio show: “The real solution is the solution that always works, which is introduce more competition in the market.” The lesson: Every so often, economics gets it right.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Roundup of AMP Final Rule Analyses (Plus Two New CMS Webinars)

In Seven Pharmacy and Channel Implications of the New AMP Final Rule, I gave you my $0.02 on the Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) final rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Want to know more? Below, I highlight six useful reviews and articles about the rule.

I also provide info on two official (and free) CMS webinars happening later this week:
  • For manufacturers on Wednesday, Feb. 10
  • For pharmacies on Thursday, Feb. 11
Hope you enjoy this extra dose of disampbiguation!

Monday, February 08, 2016

AMP Final Rule Forum

CBI’s Final Rule Forum
February 22, 2016 | Philadelphia, PA

The Final Rule Forum is the definitive meeting for GP professionals to prepare to implement the CMS Final Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) Rule. Nearly 100 executives are already registered to attend, where the nation’s top experts present critical insight and interpretation on the new regulation.

A Manufacturer Town Hall dives into the nuances of operationalizing the rule, providing a valuable opportunity to benchmark progress and key milestones in advance of the April 1 effective date. CMS provides a Keynote Address which provides insight on the rulemaking process, the key drivers of policy change, considerations that contributed to the final regulation and the path forward.

CBI is pleased to share the Final Rule Forum agenda for your review.  Please reserve your registration soon to secure your seat before the event reaches capacity. Visit www.cbinet.com/finalrule for more information. Drug Channels readers will save $200 off of the standard registration rate when they use code UBQ943.*

*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, February 03, 2016

Follow the Dollar: The U.S. Pharmacy Distribution and Reimbursement System

I received a bunch of emails asking about the channel flows chart that appears in yesterday’s blog post. That version had numbers corresponding to chapters in our new 2016 Economic Report on Retail, Mail, and Specialty Pharmacies.

Below is the full version of the chart without the chapter numbers. I also provide a PDF version and some additional background. Feel free to use this chart to help others understand how money and product flow in the U.S. pharmacy distribution and reimbursement system for patient-administered, outpatient prescription drugs.

And tip your hat to Mr. Goldberg for dreaming up this system. Details below.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

NEW: 2016 Economic Report on Retail, Mail, and Specialty Pharmacies

I am pleased to announce the availability of our new 2016 Economic Report on Retail, Mail, and Specialty Pharmacies. We’re offering special discounts if you order before February 19, 2016.
The report is the most up-to-date, comprehensive, fact-based analysis of pharmacy and PBM channels. It's chock full o'data on prescription economics, reimbursement models, market structure, benefit designs, growth rates, payers, forces of change, and the U.S. healthcare system.

To better reflect a changing industry, I completely updated, reorganized, and expanded this year’s edition. There are now three major sections, comprising ten chapters. The first two chapters examine market structure, key trends, the largest industry participants, differences among dispensing formats, and more. In Chapter 3, I do a deep dive into specialty drugs and specialty pharmacies. The remaining seven chapters are organized around key channel flows, as illustrated in the chart below.

[Click to Enlarge]

Some other fun facts:
  • For the first time, we are offering the option to download a PowerPoint file with images of all 129 exhibits. Thanks to everyone who suggested this idea.
  • The chapters are self-contained and do not need to be read in order. (Really!) There are loads of internal hyperlinks to help you navigate the document and customize it to your specific needs. 
  • There are a staggering 394 endnotes, most of which have hyperlinks to original source materials. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) Hope you find them useful.
  • Once again, I have reluctantly stripped out the corny jokes and pop culture references. You can decide for yourself whether such omissions are value-enhancing or not.
If you have any questions (before or after reading the report), please email me. Enjoy!

P.S. If you’ve purchased DCI reports in the past, you may notice a slight change to the download process. As always, you will receive an email with a link to your personal download page.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Bio/Pharmaceutical Pricing and Contracting

Bio/Pharmaceutical Pricing and Contracting
March 15-16, 2016 | Silver Spring, MD

Join CBI for their Bio/Pharmaceutical Pricing and Contracting conference, dedicated to exploring innovative commercial pricing trends, examining relationships between payers and pharmaceuticals, and evaluating strategies to improve your company’s pricing program.

Value-based initiatives are coming to the forefront of market trends in pricing and contracting. This comprehensive event will give you an opportunity to examine the benefits and challenges associated with value-based pricing and determine how your company can best strategize for a changing commercial landscape.

With the recent attention being given to pharmaceutical pricing in the media, how will future pricing and contracting evolve?

Key Benefits of Attending:
  • Discuss value-based initiatives and understand how risk-sharing agreements are coming to the forefront of market trends
  • Identify strategies for the conceptualization and construction of risk-sharing agreements
  • Understand best practices for contracting productively and collaboratively with health insurance and specialty pharmacies
  • Strategize ways to combat negative media attention when facing public concerns about pricing initiatives
  • Utilization of real-world evidence, outcomes and population-based data to support a value-based pricing system
  • Learn about the creation of a sustainable strategy for the uptake of biosimilars in the U.S. marketplace
Join industry leaders from Pfizer, Eli Lilly, BCBS, Alnylam and more to discuss the most critical issues for success in pricing and contracting in a value-based market.

Visit www.cbinet.com/pharmpricing for more information. Drug Channels readers will save $200 off the standard registration rate when they use code BNB955.*

*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.