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...

Friday, April 29, 2016

Digital Patient Adherence Strategies for Specialty Pharmacy

Today’s guest post comes from Scott Pribyl, CEO, mRx Ventures. Scott provides a useful primer on how patient care can be improved using coordinated, cloud-based technology. He explains how SamplifyRx, an innovative technology solution for specialty pharmacy, can increase adherence and streamline the patient experience for all stakeholders.

Next week, Scott will be at the 2016 Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit in Las Vegas. Email him at scott@samplifyrx.com to learn more about SamplifyRx’s technology and set up an in-person meeting.

Visit www.parxio.com for a cool demo that was created using the SamplifyRx API. (Free registration)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Drug Channels News Roundup, April 2016: Amgen, Biosimilars, Pharmacy Profits, Drug Pricing, and CVS

Spring has finally sprung here at the Drug Channels worldwide headquarters! Take your allergy meds and then enjoy this month’s selection of pollen-free news from the Drug Channels universe.

In this issue:
  • Amgen releases a nifty new report on biosimilars
  • My $0.02 on the outlook for chain drugstores
  • The New York Times delves into the complexities of drug pricing
Plus, Saturday Night Live mocks CVS drugstore’s employees and customers.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow @DrugChannels on Twitter for daily updates on news and commentary that I pluck from the interwebs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why European Pharmacy Markets Are Less Efficient Than the U.S. Market

The Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU), a trade association that represents community pharmacies throughout the EU, recently released its 2015 Annual Report. (Free download) The report is filled with loads of interesting data about the EU pharmacy industry, which shares many issues with the U.S. market.

One significant difference, however, is the greater efficiency of the U.S. pharmacy market.

Below, I crunch the PGEU data and compare the five biggest EU countries with the United States. As you can see, the U.S. has a much more competitive marketplace.

Extensive regulatory barriers may make the EU look like a paradise for independent pharmacies. Alas, such protections inconvenience consumers and raise drug costs. C’est la vie!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Commercial Contract & Chargeback Excellence

CBI’s 12th Commercial Contract & Chargeback Excellence
June 16-17, 2016 | Philadelphia, PA

CBI’s annual meeting on Commercial Contract & Chargeback Excellence focuses on ways to improve the wholesaler chargeback, navigate class of trade schema complexities, streamline membership management and optimize contract administration and operations. By illustrating software solutions, case studies and perspectives from leading distribution partners, this conference is a comprehensive forum for pharmaceutical professionals to learn best practices and gain strategies to streamline communication and processes.

Benefit from robust workshops, interactive discussions and invaluable learning on generic pricing, 340B evolution, GPO consolidation, AMP Rule impacts, membership validation, class of trade designation, chargeback processes and much more.

Speakers include representatives from AmerisourceBergen, Aurobindo Pharma, Chiesi USA, Deloitte, Depomed, Dr. Reddy’s, Fresenius Kabi, H.D. Smith, Managed Health Care Associates (MHA), McKesson, Valeant, West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, Zydus Pharmaceuticals and more.

For more information, please download the complete agenda or visit www.cbinet.com/chargebacks. Drug Channels readers will save $400 off of the standard registration rate when they use discount code CES453.*

*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, April 22, 2016

It's Time for Pharmacies to Show Their Strengths Through Accreditation

Today’s guest post comes from Lynnae M. Mahaney, Executive Director at the Center for Pharmacy Practice Accreditation (CPPA).

Lynnae discusses the benefits and importance of a rigorous pharmacy accreditation. She also offers Drug Channels readers a glimpse into the history and practices of CPPA.

To obtain more information about the accreditation programs offered by CPPA, including standards, a self-assessment tool, and application materials, visit the CPPA website or email Lynnae at lmahaney@pharmacypracticeaccredit.org.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Our 2020 Outlook for Specialty Pharmacy Revenues

It’s no secret that over the next few years, the pharmacy Industry’s revenues will continue shifting from traditional brand-name drugs to specialty drugs. The next-generation pharmaceutical blockbusters will primarily be specialty products that are aimed at smaller patient populations than were the mass-market blockbusters of yesteryear.

Let’s quantify how this change will occur.

We project that the pharmacy industry’s revenues will exceed $483 billion in 2020. Almost all of the growth will come from specialty drugs. Meanwhile, pharmacy revenues from traditional drugs will be almost flat, despite higher demand.

You’ll find our forecasts for pharmacy revenues from traditional and specialty drugs below. Be sure to check back in five years and see how close we came!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Key Insights on Drug Prices and Manufacturer Rebates from the New 2015 IMS Report

Last week, IMS Health’s IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics released Medicines Use and Spending in the U.S.–A Review of 2015 and Outlook to 2020. (Free download with registration.)

For the first time, IMS has reported net spending after rebates and discounts, which totaled more than $115 billion in 2015. List prices for brand-name drugs grew by 12.4% while net prices grew by a mere 2.8%. Kudos to IMS for having published these new data, which I hope will advance our national dialogue on drug spending.

Below, I highlight the report’s two most significant charts. Both make me wonder how much longer the industry’s gross-to-net status quo will last.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Meet with Drug Channels at #Armada16

In two weeks, Drug Channels Institute and Pembroke Consulting will hit Las Vegas for the 2016 Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit (now known as the Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit).

To learn how you can reach the more than 13,000 pharma professionals in the Drug Channels audience, you can speak personally with Paula Fein, MS.Ed., Drug Channels Institute’s VP of Business Development. (And, yes, also my wife.) Email her at paula@drugchannelsinstitute.com and she’ll be happy to meet with you. (Hint: In the picture, Paula is on the far left.)

Meanwhile, be sure to check out our 2016 Drug Channels Media Kit for more on what's swinging with the site.

And when you see me at the craps table, wish me luck—but perhaps reduce your bet.

P.S. To get ready for Armada, you may also want to peruse Chapter 3 (“Specialty Drugs and Specialty Pharmacies”) in The 2016 Economic Report on Retail, Mail, and Specialty Pharmacies.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Nominate a Pharma Hero

Today’s guest post comes from Patrick Lindsay, President of United BioSource Corp. (UBC).

Patrick is using this guest post to inform Drug Channels readers about UBC’s Pharma Heroes℠ program. This program recognizes and honors people who go above and beyond the call of duty in whatever they do that either directly or indirectly impacts patients’ lives.

Read on for the full story—and take a moment to nominate a Pharma Hero today!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Decline and Fall of Physician Buy-and-Bill For Specialty Drugs

A fascinating new report sheds light on the changing sites of cancer treatment: Cost Drivers of Cancer Care: A Retrospective Analysis of Medicare and Commercially Insured Population Claim Data 2004-2014 (free download). It was commissioned by the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) and conducted by researchers at Milliman, an actuarial firm.

The report, which includes both Medicare and commercial claims data, confirms that the administration of chemotherapy infusion has shifted dramatically from lower-cost physician offices to higher-cost hospital outpatient settings. From 2004 to 2014, the buy-and-bill market share at physician offices dropped from about 90% to about 50%. See the chart below.

Commercial payers’ reimbursement approaches, combined with the 340B Drug Pricing Program, will continue to shrink buy-and-bill volume in physician offices. Unfortunately, these same factors also suggest that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) crazy Medicare Part B experiment will accelerate the shift of drug administration to hospital outpatient facilities.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Data: How Outrageous Hospital Markups Hike Drug Spending

On Drug Channels, I highlight the two primary reasons pharmaceutical manufacturers’ list prices don’t represent what third-party payers actually spend for drugs: (1) channel intermediaries add markups that account for the costs, profits, and value of the channel's services, and (2) manufacturers provide rebates and discounts to third-party payers.

The new 2015 Medical Pharmacy Trend Report (free download), from Magellan Rx Management, documents just how outrageous a channel’s markups can be.

As I show below, the reimbursement approaches that commercial payers use permit hospitals to get paid two to three times as much as physician offices—and to inflate drug costs by thousands of dollars per claim. Naturally, the 340B program plays a part in this sordid tale.

A few prominent hospital-based physicians have become very public critics of pharmaceutical list prices. It may come as no surprise that these physicians neglect the pricing behavior of their own employers, ignore the hospital-related factors affecting payers’ spending, and fail to examine drugs’ true net costs. I guess that when the media spotlight is shining, it’s better to take the money and run than be intellectually honest.

Monday, April 11, 2016

eyeforpharma Oncology Market Access & Pricing Summit: Early Registration Deadline This Week

eyeforpharma Oncology Market Access & Pricing
June 23-24, 2016 | Philadelphia, PA

You know it and have heard and read it here before: Market access in oncology is no longer guaranteed. It means that innovative manufacturers need to collaborate with managed care to provide real value. There are few occasions where pharma leaders meet the key stakeholders – eyeforpharma’s 7th Annual Oncology Leadership Summit on June 16-17 is the Number One out there , and here’s why:


These are just a few program highlights to help you succeed in the shifting market:
  • William Hinshaw, EVP, US Oncology, Novartis, shows how to adopt new business strategies that will help you prepare for stakeholders demands.
  • Michael Ryan, SVP, US Value, Access & Policy, Bristol-Myers Squibb, guides us through steps to mastering a stronger market access trajectory by demonstrating your products’ value.
  • Richard Schilsky, CMOASCO, guides us through ASCO’s Value Framework.
  • Michael Kolodziej, National Medical Director, Aetna, leads the discussion on the various value-based pricing metrics and their importance in the future.
  • Anil Kapur, VP & Global Head, Oncology Commercialization, Baxalta, discusses the newest trends in immuno-oncology commercialization to optimize your positioning on the market.


Attendees learn as much from the world-class speaking faculty as they learn from their peers. Recent registrants include:
  • VP, HEOR & Pricing – Baxalta
  • VP, Market Access - R-Pharma US
  • Senior Director – Janssen
  • Executive Director, Health Policy - Novartis
  • Director, Market Research – Celgene
  • Director, Market Access & Reimbursement - Eisai
  • Director, Market Access – GSK
  • Director, Advocacy & Policy- Eli Lilly

We’ve already confirmed dozens senior participants from: Aetna / American Society of Clinical Oncology/ AstraZeneca/ Bayer / Baxalta / Bristol-Myers Squibb / Cancerlinq / Celgene / Dana Farber / Eisai / Eli Lilly / GSK / Health Strategies Group / ICER / Janssen/ Merck / Novartis / Precision for Value / RAND / Roche / Takeda….

For those who like to stay ahead of the curve in Oncology Market Access & Pricing, this is a must-attend.


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

Friday, April 08, 2016

Armada Health Care Changes Company Name to Asembia

Today’s sponsored guest post has  exciting news from our friends at Armada Health Care. Read on to learn more...and be sure to register for the 2016 Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit (formerly the Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit), happening in less than four weeks!

Armada Health Care Changes Company Name to Asembia
By Armada Health Care

Rebrand to Focus on Enhanced Collaboration with Member Pharmacies, Manufacturers, Payers and other Industry Stakeholders to Develop Complete Solutions for Specialty Pharmaceuticals

Florham Park, NJ, April 7, 2016 – Armada Health Care, the nation’s leading specialty pharmaceutical channel management organization, announced today the launch of a new brand identity that includes a company name change. Armada Health Care’s new name will become Asembia.

Under the new Asembia name, the company will continue to expand on its specialty pharmaceutical service offerings which include collaboratively developed solutions that are specific to pharmacies, pharma/biotech manufacturers and payers.

“The specialty pharmacy market continues to grow at an incredible rate and our organization has expanded our services to fulfill the needs of our customers who are focused on this market. We are a very different company from when we first started more than a decade ago. In this regard, we are excited to announce our new corporate identity which we feel better reflects our broad array of capabilities and service offerings, each of which are developed collaboratively with our member pharmacy and manufacturer partners,” stated Lawrence Irene, RPh, chief executive officer.

“Under the new Asembia name, we will continue to expand on our company’s tradition of providing our partners with valuable solutions ranging from high-touch patient support hub services, innovative technology platforms and collaborative contracting strategies for specialty pharmaceutical products,” Irene continued.

For consistency, all products or services that previously contained Armada in the name will also undergo the change, specifically the ArmadaOne Specialty Pharmacy technology platform will now be called Asembia1 and the company’s annual specialty pharmacy conference will transition to, the Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit.

For more information, please contact us at 973-564-8004 or visit the new website at www.asembia.com

About Asembia (Formerly Armada Health Care)

For more than a decade, Asembia has been working with member pharmacies, manufacturers, prescribers, payers and other industry stakeholders to develop solutions for the high-touch specialty pharmaceutical service model. Through collaborative programs, contracting initiatives, patient support hub services and innovative technology platforms, Asembia is committed to positively impacting the patient journey. For more information visit www.asembia.com.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Walgreens Boots Alliance Talks Pharmacy Margins, Beauty, Express Scripts, Valeant, and More

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

Regular readers know that earnings calls can yield invaluable, on-the-record insights straight from a management team. In fact, after reviewing January’s WBA call, I speculated about a future WBA partnership with OptumRx months before it happened. (See the last line of that post.)

Below, I highlight and comment on the WBA management’s latest intriguing statements on prescription margins, the company's retail transformation, Express Scripts, generic inflation, Rite Aid’s EnvisionRx PBM, Valeant, and more.

One downside on the call: The WBA execs clearly demonstrated that they have mastered the art of the earnings call non-answer answer.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

How Teva Defended Copaxone From Generic Competition

Ronny Gal, Ph.D., a senior analyst at the investment bank Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., recently published a thought-provoking analysis of Teva and its strategy for defending multiple sclerosis specialty drug Copaxone from generic competition.

Gal argues that Sandoz is using a similar strategy to defend Gleevec against generic competition from Glatopa.

Below, I provide some context and include the highlights of Dr. Gal’s analysis. He notes that the strategies work best when there’s only one generic competitor. Given the likely approval paths for pharmacy-dispensed biosimilars, I expect that manufacturers of specialty drugs will use these tactics when defending their products, too.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Pharmacy Channel Strategies for Specialty Products

CBI’s Pharmacy Channel Strategies for Specialty Products
June 23-24, 2016 | Philadelphia, PA

CBI’s Pharmacy Channel Strategies for Specialty Products conference brings together key specialty product stakeholders to provide insight on which pharmacy models are impacting payer and patient access, adherence and abandonment. Learn the latest trends in pharmacy channel strategies for the opportunity to leverage the evolving dynamics of patient engagement with specialty products.

Speakers include representatives from Acadia Pharmaceuticals, Aureus Health Services, Biogen, BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy, Giant Eagle, Gilead Sciences, LiquidHub, Millennium, The Oncology Division of Takeda and more.

Plus, attend an in-conference workshop by Biogen: Navigate the Complexities of Managing and Creating Limited Distribution Networks Based on the Pharmacy Model.

For more information, please download the complete agenda or visit www.cbinet.com/pharmacychannel. Drug Channels readers will save $400 off of the standard registration rate when they use discount code PAB499.*

*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.