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...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

NEW: The 2018 Economic Report on U.S. Pharmacies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers

I am pleased to announce our new our 2018 Economic Report on U.S. Pharmacies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers, available for purchase and immediate download.
We’re offering special discounted pricing if you order before March 10, 2018!

The 2018 edition has been thoroughly updated, revised, and expanded. This latest edition contains the most current financial and industry data along with information about the strategies and market positions of the largest companies. Many sections and chapters have been expanded or reorganized to better cover the latest industry developments.

See below for more info. Happy reading!

P.S. If you would like to pay by corporate purchase order or check, please email Tamra Feldman.

Monday, February 26, 2018

CBI’s 2nd Annual Drug Pricing Transparency Congress

CBI’s 2nd Annual Drug Pricing Transparency Congress
March 22, 2018 | Philadelphia, PA

On the heels of an incredibly successful event last year, CBI is pleased to announce that its Drug Pricing Transparency Congress will be held again March 22, 2018, in Philadelphia.

As the industry grapples with the increasingly difficult task of navigating over 33 state-specific laws (with more to come), this event has become a must-attend for pricing, transparency and compliance professionals.

Exclusive Offer for Drug Channels Readers:
Register by 3/16/2018 and save $300* (mention discount code DCP322)

Are you prepared for the impact these regulations will have on drug pricing and compliance practices? Whether you joined our dynamic dialogue last year or need a comprehensive update on state drug pricing reporting laws, this timely event will feature fresh perspectives and real-time updates on legislation.

This monumental shift will undoubtedly impact so many functions across the healthcare system. If your responsibilities touch any facet of your organization's pricing, transparency or compliance efforts, you'll need to be on the pulse of the rapid developments. This conference will serve as an unparalleled uniting place for the industry to assess the future landscape and gain clarity on the many unanswered questions from industry experts such as Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Sidley Austin LLP, PhRMA, Pfizer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and more.

Don't be left out of the critical conversation.

Exclusive Offer for Drug Channels Readers:
Register by 3/16/2018 and save $300* (mention discount code DCP322)

*Offer expires March 16, 2018; applies to standard rates only and may not be combined with other offers, category rates, and promotions or applied to an existing registration.

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

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Drug Channels News Roundup, February 2018: Walgreens Boots Alliance + AmerisourceBergen, Copay Coupons, and Amazon

Winter—or at least February—is almost over! Bid farewell to the shortest month of the year with this curated selection of noteworthy news. In this issue:
  • A few thoughts on a Walgreens Boots Alliance-AmerisourceBergen deal
  • Watch a fun panel discussion on copay coupons
  • The latest on Amazon’s ambitions for medical products
Plus, The Onion provides an additional update on Amazon’s healthcare plans.

P.S. For my daily updates on news and neat reports, follow @DrugChannels on Twitter. My recent tweets have covered copay accumulators, Medicare Part D, the 340B program, M&A rumors, healthcare economics, and more.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Top 15 U.S. Pharmacies of 2017: Market Shares and Key Developments For The Biggest Companies

Next week, Drug Channels Institute will release our 2018 Economic Report on U.S. Pharmacies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers. It’s the ninth edition of our popular examination of the U.S. pharmacy distribution and reimbursement system.

The exhibit below—one of 160 in our new report—provides a first look at the 15 largest pharmacies, ranked by total U.S. prescription dispensing revenues for calendar year 2017. I also highlight crucial market changes that affected our ranking. As you will see, the big got bigger in 2017.

For a sneak peek at the complete report, download the free overview. If you would like to preorder by corporate purchase order or check, please email Tamra Feldman. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Join Me at Asembia’s Specialty Pharmacy Summit 2018

Asembia’s Specialty Pharmacy Summit 2018
April 29 to May 2, 2018 | Las Vegas

Please join me at Asembia's Specialty Pharmacy Summit 2018, which will take place from April 29 to May 2, 2018 in Las Vegas.

This is a must-attend event for anyone connected to specialty pharmacy. You'll meet an impressive diversity of people from pharmacies, manufacturers, health plans, wholesalers, hospital systems, pharmacy benefit managers, patient advocacy groups, and more. Click here to view the agenda.

This year, I will participate in the Featured Session, titled Specialty Pharmacy Industry Outlook: What’s Happened and What’s Ahead. I'll be joined by Doug Long from IQVIA and Lisa Gill from J.P. Morgan Securities. I'm hoping to get another epic selfie!

Here's my review of last year's Summit: The State of Specialty Pharmacy 2017: Reflections from #Asembia17.

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


Asembia’s Specialty Pharmacy Summit returns to Las Vegas on April 29 through May 2, 2018. As the nation’s largest annual healthcare conference for specialty pharmacy, the 2018 Summit will welcome a record-breaking 6,500 attendees, including more than 1,000 pharmacy providers, health systems, pharma/biotech manufacturers, payers, drug wholesalers and many other specialty pharmacy stakeholder organizations.

Participants will gain an in-depth understanding of all aspects of specialty pharmacy from renowned industry speakers who share current information and insightful commentary on the many facets of the nearly $200 billion specialty pharmacy channel. The 2018 Summit will feature four full days of interactive business and educational sessions, including more than 80 hours of expert seminars, continuing education sessions, and business workshops, plus unforgettable networking and social events and an engaging exhibit hall.

Agenda highlights will include special guest speakers, featured business and industry seminars, and CE Sunday, a pre-conference day offering Continuing Education sessions (April 29). Select 2018 topics include: ensuring patient access to medications, managing rising drug costs, the future of patient assistance, consumerism in specialty pharmacy, evolution and management of specialty “lite” drugs, intersections of specialty and community practice, forging successful managed care partnerships, the evolving digital health ecosystem, and many others.

Attendees will enjoy special events throughout the meeting, including networking with industry peers and professionals at engaging exhibit receptions, a Sunrise 5K Run/Walk on the Las Vegas strip, relaxing yoga sessions, the unparalleled Asembia Beach Club Party, and many other opportunities to connect with industry professionals.

The broad variety of timely business and educational sessions, wide range of expert panelists and speakers, and unmatched networking opportunities make the Asembia annual meeting an essential event for all specialty pharmacy stakeholders.

Register and learn more at www.asembiasummit.com.

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

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Exclusive Express Scripts Data: Most People Have Very Low Out-Of-Pocket Prescription Costs

In New Express Scripts Data: The Drug Spending Slowdown Is Real, I analyzed the latest drug trend report from pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) Express Scripts. To complement our earlier analysis, Express Scripts was kind enough to provide Drug Channels with an exclusive analysis showing the distribution of out-of-pocket costs for nearly 26 million people.

Despite consumer surveys complaining about “high drug prices,” the reality is that most people don’t pay much for their prescriptions. In 2017, about 95% of people with commercial insurance had less than $40 per month in out-of-pocket prescription costs. About half of them paid nothing, because they filled no prescriptions.

The remaining few percent had thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket obligations—though it’s not clear how much they actually paid.

Given these findings, plan sponsors—health plans and employers—should be cautious before blocking copayment support for the small number of patients taking specialty drugs. As Dr. Lucy Van Pelt says: Happiness is being able to afford necessary medication.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New Express Scripts Data: The Drug Spending Slowdown Is Real

Last week, Express Scripts released its 2017 Drug Trend Report. (Free download.)  Consider it an early Valentine's Day present for pharma wonks like your friendly neighborhood blogger.

The latest data confirm the slowdown in drug spending. For 2017, drug spending increased by only 1.5% for Express Scripts’ commercial plan sponsors. What’s more, drug spending declined for nearly half of commercial payers. Medicare, Medicaid, and exchange plans also saw very modest increases. Below, I dive deep into the data on cost and utilization growth.

By now, there can be no debate that pharmacy benefit costs are growing more slowly than every other major part of the healthcare system. Yet the false narrative that drug spending is “out of control” persists.

Based on exclusive data that Express Scripts shared with me, most people paid relatively little in out-of-pocket costs for their prescriptions. But some people spent a lot. I’m sure many patients would gladly say “be mine” to benefit designs that share the discounts being absorbed by employers and insurers.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Formulary, CoPay and Access Summit

Formulary, CoPay and Access Summit
April 11-12, 2018 | San Francisco, CA

Head to San Francisco in April for CBI’s Formulary, CoPay and Access Summit, which focuses on overcoming patient affordability barriers in an evolving managed care landscape. Industry experts will address hot button issues impacting the pharma/bio industry today, including accumulator adjustment programs, state co-pay legislation, formulary exclusions, high deductible plans, changes in benefit design, NDC blocks and step therapy programs.

Register prior to February 28th and use discount code SSJ477 to save $300 off the standard rate.*

You can read all about it here.

Timely, cutting-edge content will include:
  • Explore perspectives on Accumulator Adjustment Programs and identify trends for the future
  • Demystify California CoPay Card Legislation and assess implications for future state-level regulations
  • May the Field Force Be With You - Managing Field Representatives to execute copay programs
  • Analyze MACRA regulation to develop robust formulary access strategies and prepare for 2018 policy implementation
  • Overcome challenges of High-Deductible Plans, copay caps and the evolving healthcare landscape
  • Gain insight on strategies for Fast Tracking Prior Authorization and copay assistance for specialty prescriptions
Visit www.cbinet.com/formulary for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers will save $300 off the standard rate when they use discount code SSJ477 and register prior to February 28th.

CBI will see you there!

*Cannot be combined with other offers or used towards a current registration. Cannot be combined with special category rate or non-profit 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.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Specialty Distributors’ Customer Mix Changes As Physician Buy-and-Bill Fades

In A Lesson from McKesson: How Specialty Pharmacy Growth Is Hurting Wholesalers, I explained the challenges to wholesalers' profits from the growth of patient-administered specialty pharmacy drugs.

Today, I provide a complementary look at the changing customer mix of wholesalers’ specialty distribution businesses for provider-administered drugs.

As you will see below, the latest data show that specialty distributors’ revenues from independent physician offices and clinics have eroded significantly. These customers now account for less than half of specialty distributors' business.

This change mirrors the ongoing disruption of the buy-and-bill market, where higher-cost hospital outpatient settings have been crowding out lower-cost physician offices.

The evolution of buy-and-bill has been generally negative for wholesaler profits, though the public companies have been relatively silent on the implications. It’s another aspect of the specialty boom that may prove not to be relaxing times for the wholesale distribution channel.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

A Lesson from McKesson: How Specialty Pharmacy Growth Is Hurting Wholesalers

Last week, McKesson released its quarterly earnings for the fourth calendar quarter of 2017. See the links below.

The profit outlook for its distribution business was lower than Wall Street’s expectations, due partly to what management termed “customer and product mix.” Below, I offer my take on the three interrelated mix changes that challenge wholesalers' profits from the growth of specialty pharmacy drugs.

Wholesalers have been trying to alter their conventional pricing and contracting approaches to address these pressures, though it’s not clear how successful these efforts have been. The specialty boom may prove to be a mixed blessing for wholesalers.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Partnering with IDNs BioPharma Strategy Summit

Partnering with IDNs BioPharma Strategy Summit
March 27-28, 2018 | Scottsdale, AZ

As health systems continue to grow and merge to form larger Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs), manufacturers are tasked with learning how to best contract with, and sell to, these evolving systems to ensure product success. With conflict of interest policies in place and restricted access to physicians, manufacturers are changing their sales approach to better reach and engage these new customers.

CBI’s Partnering with IDNs BioPharma Strategy Summit brings together manufacturers and IDNs to discuss how to create a mutually beneficial partnership for data-driven product advancement, greater patient engagement and adherence and optimal care coordination.

Use discount code XCR332 and save $400 off the standard registration rate.*

Diverse Perspectives from Industry Pioneers:
  • Aria Cohen, Executive Director, Payer Strategy & Operations, Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Melissa Skelton Duke, Senior Director, Ambulatory Pharmacy Services, Banner Health
  • Jay Graves, Vice President, Sales, Roche Diabetes Care Inc.
  • Patti Hawkins, Director, Outpatient Infusion, Home & Specialty Pharmacy Services, 340B Program Manager, North Mississippi Medical Center
  • Ira Klein, Senior Director, Quality, Strategic Customer Group, Janssen
  • Kyle Skiermont, PharmD, Chief Operating Officer, Fairview Pharmacy Services
  • Lonnie Smith, PharmD, Manager, Specialty Pharmacy Services, University of Utah Health
  • Jeremy Tatum, Director of Sales and Strategic Accounts, American Regent
Take Your Health System Strategy to the Next Level with Dynamic Sessions:
  • Engaging panels discussing the IDN model of patient care coordination and what it can do to improve the patient experience on behalf of the provider, manufacturer, payer and other stakeholders
  • Novel approaches for risk sharing and measuring product performance
  • Advanced case studies and presentations from the top health systems in the country
  • How to impact population health initiatives and patient outcomes through pharma-IDN collaborations
  • Gain insights into IDN-SP trends and decision-making
  • A spotlight on Medicare payment reform for key stakeholders
  • Sales force strategies for building successful partnerships
  • And More!
Use discount code XCR332 and save $400 off the standard registration rate.*

Visit www.cbinet.com/IDN for more information.

*Applies to standard rates only and may not be combined with other offers, category rates, promotions or applied to an existing registration. Offer not valid on workshop only or academic/non-profit registrations.

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

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Meet The Power Buyers Driving Generic Drug Deflation

Wholesalers and retailers have deepened their relationships via generic purchasing consortia—and generic drug makers are feeling the pain. Example: Novartis’ Sandoz business unit reported that its fourth-quarter 2017 sales dropped by 17% "due to increased industry-wide pricing pressure and continued customer consolidation.” (source)

Below, we examine the four generic drug mega-buyers behind this pressure: Red Oak, Walgreens Boots Alliance, McKesson and ClarusOne, and Express Script’s EconDisc.

We estimate that in 2017, these four organizations accounted for an astounding 90% of total U.S. generic drug purchases from manufacturers. Read on for our market share estimates, business profiles, and the outlook for 2018. Spoiler alert: The forecast calls for generic pain.

Today’s post is a sneak peek at our forthcoming 2018 Economic Report on U.S. Pharmacies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers. The new edition will be bigger than better than ever. Look for it on February 27!