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 26,000 subscribers. Learn more...

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Has Physician Specialty Dispensing Peaked—And Should They Blame PBMs?

Everyone wants to be a specialty pharmacy—but it’s getting harder to compete.

Consider the boom in pharmacies operated by physician practices. The growth in oral and patient self-injectable specialty drugs has encouraged physicians to dispense these products from their offices and clinics. For example, almost half of all oncology practices now dispense specialty drugs to their patients.

But as we show below, the share of oncology practices dispensing prescriptions has declined for the first time in at least six years. I suspect that we are at a turning point in the growth of physician practice dispensing.

As I explain below, this development reflects how PBMs and their plan sponsor clients are managing specialty channels.

PBMs offer financial carrots that entice plan sponsor to shift prescriptions into PBM-owned specialty pharmacies. This dynamic creates novel competitive conflicts between historically separate drug channel participants. Meanwhile, physicians are learning the perils of competing with vertically-integrated channel organizations.


Drug Channels Institute will host an exclusive live webinar, Drug Channels Outlook: What You Need to Watch in 2020, on Friday, December 13, 2019, from 12 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET. Get ready for what will certainly be another year of change for U.S. healthcare. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND SIGN UP.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The State of Retail Pharmacy: Independent Pharmacy Economics Stabilize—But Dropping, Owner Salaries Are

Time for Drug Channels’ exclusive look at independent pharmacy owners’ business economics. For Episode XI of our annual review, we again draw upon the latest data from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Digest, Sponsored by Cardinal Health. Here's the press release for the recently released 2019 edition.

Below, I update our estimates of pharmacy economics and margins. Our analysis reveals that profits per prescription in 2018 were unchanged from the 2017 figures. However, the average pharmacy in the NCPA sample filled fewer prescriptions, causing the average pharmacy owner’s salary to decline for the fifth consecutive year.

Read on for our look at pharmacy profits and my comments on the competitive dynamics of retail pharmacy. How many independents will survive? Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.


Drug Channels Institute will host an exclusive live webinar, Drug Channels Outlook: What You Need to Watch in 2020, on Friday, December 13, 2019, from 12 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET. Get ready for what will certainly be another year of change for U.S. healthcare. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND SIGN UP.

Monday, December 02, 2019

PAP 2020 - 21st Annual Patient Assistance & Access Programs

PAP 2020 - 21st Annual Patient Assistance & Access Programs
March 23-25, 2020 | Baltimore, MD
www.cbinet.com/pap

PAP 2020, one of the nation's largest and most impactful patient access events returns to Baltimore for the 21st year! 2020 features powerful programming and compelling content designed to navigate complexities and break through barriers to ensure prescription access and affordability. Take this opportunity to exchange techniques for successful partnering, gain key industry trends in PAPs and connect personal and professional goals to accelerate success.

Visit www.cbinet.com/pap for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers from life science manufacturers will save $400 off the standard rate when they use code MZZ849 and register prior to December 27th.*

The complete agenda and faculty list will be coming soon, and features coverage on the hottest topics that matter most:
  • Examine the intersection of patient access and shifts in healthcare legislation
  • Identify emerging best practices and industry trends in free drug programs
  • Assess the latest technology innovations to advance PAPs and drive efficiencies
  • Navigate compliance risks as greater government oversight focuses on patient support and copay programs
  • Explore advocate resources for better navigation of patient pathways and strategies to address medication access barriers
  • Foster collaboration across stakeholders to speed patient access and manage costs
  • Realize the current benefits and challenges of patient assistance from the patient perspective
KEYNOTE ANNOUNCEMENT: CBI is excited to welcome Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., Vice Provost, Global Initiatives, the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor, and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania as our opening keynote speaker addressing pending health policy changes and the impact on patient affordability and access. Dr. Emanuel currently serves as a Special Advisor to the Director General of the WHO and is considered one of the leading practitioners shaping the future of healthcare, with a long record of experience at the top levels of policy including special advisor for health policy to the White House Office of Management and Budget from January 2009 to January 2011.

The conference faculty boasts 50+ presenters from Acceleron Pharma, AIDS Institute, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Avalere Health, Bausch Health, Beacon Charitable Pharmacy, Carilion Clinic, Community Volunteers in Medicine, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Dermira, Eisai, GSK, Health Alliance for the Uninsured, HealthWell Foundation, J&J, LEO Pharma, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, McKesson Pharmacy, MorphoSys US Inc, National Health Council, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, PAN Foundation, Patient Advocate Foundation, Pfizer, Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Sidley Austin LLP, SK Life Science Inc, Sobi, The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, UC Health, UCB, UnityPoint Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Virginia Health Care Foundation and many more.

Visit www.cbinet.com/pap for further details and to register. Drug Channels readers from life science manufacturers will save $400 off the standard rate when they use code MZZ849 and register prior to December 27th.*

CBI will see you there!

*Cannot be combined with other offers or used towards a current registration. Cannot be combined with special category rates, clinic/hospital rates, non-profit rates other offers. Other restrictions may apply.


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