Thursday, May 26, 2016

Drug Channels News Roundup, May 2016: PBM Scrutiny, Pre-McKesson Biologics, Specialty Pharmacies, and CVS Health

It’s Memorial Day again! Dig into these noteworthy news patties, grilled to perfection on the Drug Channels barbecue.

In this issue:
  • Increased media scrutiny for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)?
  • The history behind Biologics specialty pharmacy, McKesson’s latest prize
  • New data on payers’ control of specialty pharmacy dispensing
Plus: Watch Helena Foulkes, president of CVS Pharmacy (and future CEO of CVS Health?), pop up on Jimmy Kimmel’s TV show to tout paperless receipts. It’s a surreal, must-watch video.

P.S. My @DrugChannels on Twitter has just exceeded 2,700 followers. Join them for my curated selection of news and commentary from around the industry.

PBMs: The 'shadow' players in the drug pricing skirmish?, BioWorld
This article highlights PBMs’ growing role as gatekeepers and “shadow regulators” of patients’ drug access. I’m highlighting the piece because it’s part of a growing set of articles trying to unpack the complex U.S. system for drug distribution and reimbursement. In last month’s roundup, for example, I highlighted this worthwhile New York Times article.

And here’s an even more extreme example from Drugwonks: How PBMs and Insurers Profit By Discriminating Against 4 Percent of Americans. Pay attention to this developing anti-PBM theme.

Cancer care pays off for famed Raleigh investor, Business North Carolina
In February, McKesson announced its acquisition of Biologics specialty pharmacy. This article provides a fascinating history of Biologics, including the company’s ownership changes and valuation over the past 22 years. A neat story.

The US Payor Landscape For Specialty Pharmacy: Results from a Survey of Medical and Pharmacy Directors, Brooks et al
Check out this interesting poster presentation from the recent Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) meeting. The study, which was sponsored by the TPG-National Payor Roundtable (TPG-NPRT), found that almost two-thirds of payers restrict the specialty pharmacies available to a beneficiary. Here’s a chart that caught my eye:

[Click to Enlarge]

For more on this trend, see Section 7.4. of our 2016 Economic Report on Retail, Mail, and Specialty Pharmacies.

VP Candidate Jimmy Kimmel & CVS President Announce New Receipt Policy, Jimmy Kimmel Live
In case you didn’t know, late night host Jimmy Kimmel is running for vice president of the United States. Naturally, the burden of overly long paper receipts is one of his top campaign concerns. In the video, Helena Foulkes, executive vice president of CVS Health and president of CVS Pharmacy, joined Jimmy to announce that CVS will offer digital receipts in its stores. Kudos to CVS for some amazing brand building. (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

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