Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Drug Channels News Roundup, January 2018: PBM Exclusions, Hospital Finances, 340B Updates, and Amazon

Here at our worldwide headquarters in Philadelphia, Eagles super bowl fever has landed. Before trying to climb a Crisco-covered light pole, please enjoy this month’s playbook of articles, intercepted for you from the Drug Channels gridiron.
  • An insightful analysis of the formulary exclusions at CVS Health and Express Scripts
  • A surprising look at hospital systems’ finances
  • A must-read overview of the 340B program
Plus: some good news for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos! (No, it's  not about today's breaking news.)

P.S. Join the more than 5,000 people who run after me at @DrugChannels on Twitter. Every day, I tackle links to neat stuff for you.

The De-List: How Formulary Exclusion Lists Deny Patients Access to Essential Care, The Doctor-Patient Rights Project

In What’s In, What’s Out: The New 2018 CVS Health and Express Scripts Formulary Exclusion Lists, I examined the 2018 formulary exclusion lists that were published by the two largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs): Express Scripts and the CVS/caremark business of CVS Health.

The Doctor-Patient Rights Project went one step further and examined the PBMs’ exclusion lists by therapeutic category. Here’s an insightful summary chart showing that diabetes and cardiovascular drugs accounted for almost one-third of all exclusions from 2014 to 2018.

[Click to Enlarge]

Hospitals are making a fortune on Wall Street, AXOIS

Check out this fascinating analysis of 84 nonprofit hospital systems’ financial reports. The jaw-dropping conclusion:
“Cumulatively, these hospital systems made $14.4 billion in profit last year from caring for patients, for an operating profit margin of 2.7%. Add in Wall Street investments, stocks, bonds, credit default swaps and accounting gains from mergers and acquisitions, though, and their surpluses rose to $35.7 billion, or a 6.7% total profit margin — more than double the year before.”

Review of the 340B Drug Pricing Program, House Energy & Commerce Committee

I’ve been writing about the 340B Drug Pricing Program for almost six years. Click here for all of my Drug Channels articles.

It seems like we will finally see positive changes in 2018. To get ready, I highly recommend this thorough report released by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy & Commerce Committee. It provides background on the 340B program, explains the role of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and summarizes problems in the program’s oversight and operations.

Jeff Bezos Named Amazon Employee Of The Month, The Onion

Congratulations on this impressive accomplishment, Mr. Bezos!

P.S. The Philadelphia Police posted this epic tweet after the Eagles' NFC victory.

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