Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Drug Channels News Roundup, February 2017: Specialty Pharmacy (x2), PBMs in Medicare, and Health Insurance Hilarity

Our mild winter is almost over! Celebrate the imminent return of spring with our selection of noteworthy news stories. In this issue:
  • Business trends for specialty pharmacy owners
  • The new Specialty Pharmacy Patient Choice Award
  • Pharmacy benefit managers find a powerful friend
Plus, some droll health insurance humor! (Is there any other kind?)

P.S. Remember to follow me on Twitter @DrugChannels for daily tweets on cool and intriguing stuff.

Considering Specialty Pharmacy? Make Your Move, Drug Topics

It’s no secret that specialty drugs are the future of pharmacy. This excellent article highlights some of the crucial market dynamics. It includes numerous market observations from your friendly neighborhood blogger. It also has valuable comments from Suzette DiMascio, president and CEO of CSI Specialty Group, and two independent pharmacy owners who are expanding in the specialty space. Worth your time.

Zitter Health Insights Specialty Pharmacy Patient Satisfaction Survey, PR Web

I want to let you know about the new Specialty Pharmacy Patient Choice Award. It was created by Zitter Health Insights and Specialty Pharmacy Times to honor specialty pharmacies and their commitment to patients. The criteria for the award were formulated by an external committee. I’m proud to be one of the awards committee members, who include:
  • Matt Carpenter—Senior Director, Pfizer
  • Thomas Cohn—Chief Strategy Officer, Asembia
  • Adam J. Fein—President, Pembroke Consulting
  • Jon Hamrick—Chief Strategy Office, Therigy
  • Brian McCarthy—Chief Operating Officer, PCMA
  • Eric Percher—Director, Equity Research, Barclays
The awards ceremony will take place on May 2, 2017, at Asembia’s Specialty Pharmacy Summit. See you there!

Senator Stabenow Questions Seema Verma on Prescription Drug Prices, YouTube

ICYMI: Seema Verma, who has been nominated to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), gave a big shout-out to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

During her confirmation hearing, she said: “I think that we need to do everything we can do to make drugs more affordable for seniors and I’m thankful we have the PBMs and the Part D program that are performing that negotiation on behalf of seniors.” Here’s the video proof, which includes some gotcha questions from Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

As I note in Express Scripts Reveals What Really Drives Drug Spending—And Why the Government May Do No Better, I’m skeptical that so-called "direct negotiations" in Medicare Part D will provide additional savings without big changes to the structure of the program. Keep an eye on Ms. Verma.

A Cartoon by Emily Flake, The New Yorker

‘nuff said!

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