Drug Channels delivers timely analysis and provocative opinions on pharmaceutical economics and the drug distribution system. It is written by Adam J. Fein, Ph.D., one of the country's foremost experts on pharmaceutical economics and channel strategy. Drug Channels reaches an engaged, loyal and growing audience of more than 22,000 subscribers. Learn more...

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

CMS Confirms It (Again): Minimal Drug Spending Growth, While Hospital and Physician Spending Keep Going

Last week, the econowonks at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2017 National Health Expenditure (NHE) data. Links below.

For 2017, drug spending grew by a mere 0.4%—significantly below the growth of spending on hospitals, physician services, and overall national healthcare costs. These latest CMS data confirm the drug spending slowdown that I have highlighted in previous Drug Channels articles.

Too many people—including politicians, journalists, and a certain billionaire—have committed to a false narrative of “skyrocketing” drug spending. Hmm, I don’t recall any of them ranting about “hospital prices” or “physician salaries”—two categories that together account for six times as much healthcare spending as outpatient drugs. Perhaps that's because despite the aggregate spending disparity, consumers (voters) spend a lot more out-of-pocket on pharmaceuticals than what they spend out-of-pocket on hospital care.

Alas, I must again note that demonizing pharmaceuticals as the prime driver of U.S. healthcare spending is simply false. See what you think.

Monday, December 10, 2018

sPCMA Business Forum

sPCMA Business Forum
March 11 & 12, 2019
Hilton Bonnet Creek | Orlando, FL
Register Today!

The sPCMA Business Forum will return to the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, FL on March 11 & 12.

Senior executives and decision makers from PBMs, health plans and their affiliate specialty pharmacies will come together at the 2019 Business Forum to collaborate with drug makers and their other important business partners. The event offers invaluable networking and education for individuals and companies involved in the specialty drug supply chain. Registration for the conference is now open online.

Contact PCMA

Please contact Jenny Bradham (jbradham@pcmanet.org) with questions or to request further information.


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

Friday, December 07, 2018

Delivering Care Beyond Prescriptions: A Marketplace Opportunity for Independent Pharmacies

Today’s guest post comes from Brian Nightengale, President, Good Neighbor Pharmacy at AmerisourceBergen.

Brian discusses the challenges facing independent pharmacies. He outlines an intriguing growth vision for pharmacies that provide medication therapy management and other patient care services.

For more on how pharmacies can enhance care and lower medical expenses, see Delivering Care Beyond Prescriptions: A Marketplace Opportunity for Independent Pharmacies.

Read on for Brian’s insights.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Five Industry Trends for U.S. Drug Wholesalers in 2019

Modern Distribution Management recently published my article 2018 MDM Market Leaders | Top Pharmaceuticals Distributors. It is an excerpt from our 2018–19 Economic Report on Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Specialty Distributors.

Below, I republish the section of the article highlighting five significant industry trends affecting the U.S. drug wholesaling industry. I think Drug Channels readers will enjoy this summary as we look toward 2019. Click here to download a free overview of the full 2018-19 report.

P.S. I’ll be discussing these and other topics next week in my keynote address at CBI's 14th Life Sciences Trade and Channel Strategies. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

CMS Considers Point-of-Sale Pharmacy DIR: Another Prelude to a World Without Rebates?

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new rule for Medicare Parts B and D. It proposes changes to protected classes, e-prescribing, and other issues. Links and background below.

Notably for the Drug Channels audience, CMS also announced that it is considering—but not yet formally proposing—changes to how pharmacy price concessions are handled within Medicare Part D. These payments currently function like pharmacy rebates to Part D plans. They are therefore considered to be direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) and often called “DIR fees.”

Thanks to new CMS disclosures, we can now see why pharmacy owners hate these payments. Pharmacy DIR was $4 billion in 2017—about 1.5% of the retail pharmacy industry’s prescription revenues.

As I explain below, pharmacy DIR negatively affects the Medicare program and its beneficiaries in a manner similar to the impact of the rebates that manufacturers pay to plans. CMS wants the pharmacy DIR passed through to beneficiaries at the point of sale, i.e., when a prescription is dispensed.

Below, I explain this proposal, provide DCI's new analysis of DIR, and review the financial impact on drug channel participants. Keep in mind that the CMS proposal would *not* eliminate DIR fees or alter the financial impact of these payments on pharmacy profits. However, it’s clear that CMS wants plans and PBMs to change how these fees are computed and levied.

Pharmacy DIR is an important issue, because CMS is sharing some its views for a world without Part D rebates. The tough political question: Should taxpayers spend more to fix this problem?

Monday, December 03, 2018

PBMI 2019 Annual National Conference

PBMI 2019 Annual National Conference
March 4-6, 2019 │Palm Springs, CA

PBMI invites you to join more than 400 healthcare stakeholders in sunny Palm Springs, California at The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa Hotel, March 4-6, 2019 for its 24th Annual Conference.

As a special offer to Drug Channels readers, PBMI is offering a $200 savings discount on conference registration fees. Enter discount code PEM19 when you register online – code expires February 15, 2019.

The conference will open with a keynote presentation from Thomas E. Price, MD, an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Price most recently served as the 23rd Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). During his presentation, Dr. Price will talk about the ever-evolving and transforming role innovation has on healthcare and how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change our system.

Attendees will also hear from thought leaders at the forefront of what's happening in the industry and the patient perspective. See a list of confirmed speakers here.

As a special offer to Drug Channel subscribers, PBMI is offering a $200 savings discount on conference registration fees. Enter discount code PEM19 when you register online – code expires February 15, 2019.

For more conference information, visit the conference website.


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