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, May 31, 2022

Drug Channels News Roundup, May 2022: SaveonSP Sued, RIP Medicaid Accumulator Rule, CVS/ABC Deal, Buy-and-Bill Profits, and Aetna’s Prior Authorizations

Summer unofficially began over the weekend. Let’s turn up the heat with these sizzling news bites straight from the Drug Channels grill:
  • SaveonSP gets sued
  • Thoughts on the Medicaid accumulator rule opinion
  • CVS buys AmerisourceBergen’s specialty pharmacy
  • Fresh data on hospitals’ cancer drug profiteering
Plus, Dr. Glaucomflecken explains Aetna’s prior authorization policies.

P.S. Join my more than 27,000 LinkedIn followers for daily links to neat stuff. You can also find my daily posts at @DrugChannels on Twitter, where I have more than 14,000 followers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The GoodRx-Kroger Blowup: Spread Pricing, Pharmacy Margins, and the Future of Discount Cards

A few weeks ago, GoodRx surprised investors with the unpleasant news that a major grocery chain had stopped accepting its discount card for an unspecified number of prescriptions. As I explain below, the unnamed chain appears to be Kroger—the sixth-largest U.S. pharmacy. What’s more, GoodRx disclosed that Kroger accounts for an unexpected one-quarter of its prescription business.

The GoodRx situation highlights crucial issues about the complex web of relationships and conflicts that support today’s discount card model. Below, I break down the economics of the discount card business to help frame the outlook for discount cards.

As I explain, discount cards are really just another form of spread pricing. As the market for patient-paid prescriptions has expanded, disputes about the appropriate split of these spreads will pressure pharmacy-PBM relationships and drive change in the discount card business model.

A well-known African proverb states: “When elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers.” Will investors continue to support GoodRx—or move on to greener pastures? Read on and see what you think.

Friday, May 20, 2022

It’s Time to Put Innovative Contracts Under Warranty

Today’s guest post comes from Jane Barlow, Chief Clinical Officer, and Susan Raiola, President of Real Endpoints.

Jane and Susan discuss the mechanism and benefits of warranties in the realm of value-based contracts.

To learn more about payer-pharma warranty contracts and whether these agreements can solve issues that limit the utility of more traditional value-based contracts, sign up for Real Endpoints’ free June 9 webinar: Putting Innovative Contracts Under Warranty.

Read on for Jane’s and Susan’s insights.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The State of Specialty Pharmacy 2022: Reflections, Trends, and Photos from #Asembia22

Two weeks ago, Paula and I had the pleasure of attending Asembia’s 2022 Specialty Pharmacy Summit at the wonderful Wynn Las Vegas.

Below, I violate Vegas code and tell you what happened there. I offer reflections on my keynote session with Scott Gottlieb, share my experiences during the featured session, and highlight three crucial specialty industry trends.

You’ll also find a link to my general session slides and some fun photos.


Friday, May 13, 2022

Opportunities to Improve Critical Medication Access in Oncology

Today’s guest post comes from Shawn Seamans, Chief Commercial Officer at CoverMyMeds.

Shawn discusses the unique challenges cancer patients face in accessing, affording, and adhering to treatment. He explains how patient-centric technology, combined with access to caring experts, can alleviate these challenges.

Read more about access, affordability, and adherence opportunities for oncology patients in the CoverMyMeds 2022 Medication Access Report: Oncology Edition.

Read on for Shawn’s insights.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Gross-to-Net Bubble Update: 2021 Pricing Realities at 10 Top Drugmakers

Time for Drug Channels’ annual update on pricing at the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers. This year’s review includes 10 companies: Eli Lilly and Company, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, Takeda, and UCB. You can find links to each company’s data below.

When rebates and discounts were factored in, brand-name drug prices declined—or grew slowly—in 2021. Consistent with our previous analyses, rebates and discounts reduced the selling prices of brand-name drugs to less than half of their list prices.

What’s more, average net drug prices have declined for the past five years—though a few companies had net price gains or slower declines in 2021.

As I have pointed out many times, pharma industry perma-critics refuse to accept that brand-name drug prices are falling—or that prescription drug spending is a small and stable portion of overall U.S. healthcare expenditures. That’s why I refer to them as drug pricing flat earthers (#DPFE).

As famous economist John Maynard Keynes reportedly said: “When the facts change, I change my mind.” What will the DPFEs do?

Monday, May 09, 2022

Informa Connect’s Hub and Specialty Pharmacy Models East

Informa Connect’s Hub and Specialty Pharmacy Models East
Delivered as a Hybrid Event
June 28-30, 2022 | Sheraton Parsippany | Parsippany, NJ

Drug Channels readers will save 10% off the current registration rate when they use code 22DC10*.

This important event convenes key stakeholders including manufacturers, specialty pharmacies, hub providers and more for unrivaled collaboration to leverage innovation and optimize access. Be a part of the critical conversation at this timely meeting to explore proven strategies and cutting-edge approaches to drive an all-encompassing, state-of-the-art hub.

Live Keynotes Delivering Novel Approaches and Maximized Engagement on High-Impact Topics
  • Multi-Stakeholder Panel — Elevate Hub Effectiveness Through Advancement of Stakeholder Partnerships
  • Innovative Model Showcase — Emerging Manufacturer Hub Models Transforming the Patient Experience
  • Specialty Pharmacy Spotlight — Enhancing Speed-to-Therapy while Increasing Patient Engagement
  • Utilize Digital Engagement for End-to-End Patient Support for Specialty Products
Customize Your Experience with Tailored Content
  • Choose between two streams of content focusing on:
    • Leverage Specialty Data and Analytics for Hub Efficiency and Value
    • Hub Model Optimization to Streamline and Enhance Processes
  • Build your own agenda with 4 focused breakouts on critical topic areas
Featured Speakers:
  • Dave MacLeod, Head of Global Patient Services and Commercial Distribution, Amylyx Pharmaceuticals
  • Liam Moy, Senior Director, Patient Services, Neurology, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Emily Phillips, Reimbursement, Patient Advocate, & Government Affairs Leader
  • Melissa Beatty, Director, Patient Services and Reimbursement, CTI Bio Pharma
  • Chad Bower, Executive Director, Field Reimbursement & Oncology Solutions, US Market Access, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
  • Lee M. Cortes, Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey
  • Lauren Powell, MPA, PhD, Vice President, US Health Equity & Community Wellness, Takeda Pharmaceuticals
PLUS! For 2022 only, Hub and Specialty Pharmacy Models and PAP – Patient Assistance & Access Programs are under the same roof.

The two events will be co-located for shared learning, extended networking opportunities and the option to pick your favorite sessions and move between conferences if desired!

Drug Channels readers will save 10% off the current registration rate when they use code 22DC10*.

Download the full agenda and save your seat today!

*Offer applies to current 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. To find out how you can promote an event on Drug Channels, please contact Paula Fein (paula@drugchannels.net).

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

DCI’s Top 15 Specialty Pharmacies of 2021—And Three Factors That Will Reshape 2022

In Drug Channels Institute’s list of the top 15 pharmacies of 2021, we show that central-fill, mail pharmacies operated by large PBMs and health insurers have displaced retail chains as the largest prescription drug dispensers by revenues.

To complement that broader ranking, we present below our exclusive and updated list of the top 15 pharmacies based on specialty drug dispensing revenues in 2021. You will see that PBMs and insurers retained their dominance over specialty dispensing.

But as I explain below, 2022 will be a year of transition. Significant volume will shift to the larger players, as Centene plots its exit, Walgreens’ specialty pharmacy business collapses, and manufacturers’ 340B contract pharmacy restrictions continue.

This week, I’m attending Asembia’s Specialty Pharmacy Summit. In a future article, I’ll violate Vegas code and tell you what happened.