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, November 29, 2022

Drug Channels News Roundup, November 2022: Mark Cuban vs. Elon Musk, Lessons from Semglee, Gen Z vs. Pharmacy Careers, 340B Transparency, and I ♥ the 90s

I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday! Now that you’ve stretched your stomach, stretch your mind with some food for thought. In this issue:
  • Mark Cuban schools Elon Musk on PBMs
  • Market access lessons from Semglee
  • Gen Z rejects the pharmacy career path
  • A potent call for 340B transparency
Plus, get ready to love the ‘90s again!

P.S. Join my more than 34,000 LinkedIn followers for daily links to neat stuff. If you haven't quit Twitter, you can also find my daily posts at @DrugChannels on Twitter, where I have more than 15,500 followers.

Please join me for my upcoming live video webinar, Drug Channels Outlook 2023, on December 16, 2022, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Engage Specialists in Their Workflow With GoodRx Provider Mode

Today’s guest post comes from Bansi Nagji, President of Healthcare at GoodRx.

Bansi explains how GoodRx Provider Mode delivers a prescription savings flow that offers health care professionals (HCPs) efficient access to the information they need at critical moments of care.

Click here to learn how GoodRx Provider Mode can help manufacturers reach and engage HCPs.

Read on for Bansi’s insights.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Behind the GoodRx-Express Scripts Partnership: How PBMs Profit from Discount Cards in Pharmacy Benefits

Last week, GoodRx announced that it would become the exclusive prescription discount card provider for the commercial beneficiaries of Cigna’s Express Scripts. Links below.

The rise of discount card pricing within pharmacy benefit plans is a positive development. Patients get access to market prices that can  be lower than their PBM’s contracted rate. All out-of-pocket spending with a discount card counts toward a patient's deductibles, and all prescription activity gets captured.

However, I suspect few people understand that placing discount cards within the pharmacy benefit enables a PBM to monetize a new fee stream from the card vendor. Below, I walk through this booming business and highlight some of the conflicts and contradictions underneath the coconuts.

I’ll cover what’s next for PBMs and discount cards during my upcoming live video webinar, Drug Channels Outlook 2023, on December 16, 2022, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Cell and Gene Therapy Roundup: What the Road to Success Looks Like

Today’s guest post comes from Lung-I Cheng, Vice President of Cell & Gene Therapy at AmerisourceBergen.

Lung-I discusses advancements in cell and gene therapy and explains how to tackle the challenges facing manufacturers, providers, and patients.

Click here to learn about AmerisourceBergen’s Cell and Gene Therapy solutions for biopharma companies, providers, and patients.

Read on for Lung-I’s insights.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Drug Channels Outlook 2023 (NEW Live Video Webinar)

Dr. Adam J. Fein, CEO of Drug Channels Institute (DCI) and the author of Drug Channels, invites you to join him for a new live video webinar:

Drug Channels Outlook 2023
Friday, December 16, 2022
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET.

This page describes the event and explains how to purchase a registration to the live event. The webinar will be broadcast from the Drug Channels studio in beautiful downtown Philadelphia.


Join Dr. Fein as he helps you and your team get ready for 2023 by outlining key issues and uncertainties that will surely affect your planning. This event can be both a capstone of your annual learning and a touchpoint for the future. Dr. Fein will draw from exclusive information found in DCI’s industry economic reports.

During the event, Dr. Fein will share his latest thinking on a wide range of topics, including:
  • Update on the retail pharmact market
  • The Medicare Part D Redesign
  • What's next for the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022
  • Vertical integration and consolidation trends
  • PBM industry developments and government actions
  • Disruption from discount cards and cash-pay pharmacies
  • Predictions for biosimilar Humira competition
  • The latest on copay accumulators and maximizers
  • Likely 340B Drug Pricing Program developments
  • Hospitals and health systems in the pharmacy channel
  • The primary care M&A boom
  • And more!
As always, Dr. Fein will clearly distinguish his opinions and interpretations from the objective facts and data. PLUS: During the webinar, Dr. Fein will give participants an opportunity to unmute themselves and ask live questions. The webinar will last 90 minutes to accommodate audience questions.

After the event, every registrant will receive a link to download the complete slide deck and have an opportunity to watch a replay of the live event.

Read on for full details on pricing and registration.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

The Consolidated Drug Channel and Cash-Pay Drugs: My Podcast with a16z's Julie Yoo

I recently joined Julie Yoo on Bio Eats World, a podcast from legendary venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (also known as "a16z"). Julie is a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

We chatted about the current state of the U.S. drug channel, the roles and controversies around pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), GoodRx, Mark Cuban’s cost-plus pharmacy, the 340B Drug Pricing Program, and much more. I also shared some thoughts on opportunities for entrepreneurs in such a consolidated space. The episode is about 36 minutes long.

The podcast audio is embedded below, along with links to the episode on major podcast platforms.


P.S. Let me know if you’d like to see more audio/podcast content on Drug Channels.

Friday, November 04, 2022

Innovate4Outcomes: Collaborating to Solve Antimicrobial Resistance

Today’s guest post comes from Matthew Balogh, Head of Digital Marketing at Melinta Therapeutics.

Matt discusses the ongoing global problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). He suggests that lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic can inform both innovation in AMR therapies and our understanding of AMR.

To learn more about the global challenge of AMR and brainstorm solutions, request an invitation to Innovate4Outcomes®. This virtual event is presented by OptimizeRx in collaboration with Melina Therapeutics.

Read on for Matt’s insights.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Preferred Pharmacy Networks in 2023’s Medicare Part D Plans: Cigna, CVS Health, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, WellCare, and More

Open enrollment is under way for the 2023 Medicare Part D plans. Our exclusive analysis of Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) data reveals that preferred cost sharing pharmacy networks will maintain their dominance as an established component of Part D benefit design.

For 2023:
  • 98% of stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDP) will have a preferred network.
  • 52% of Medicare Advantage prescription drug (MA-PD) plans will have a preferred network.
Below, I provide historical data on preferred networks’ growth and update the top companies’ 2023 offerings.

The largest companies made only minor changes to their 2023 stand-alone plans, after streamlining their 2022 plans. I also update our analysis of the prevalence of preferred networks in three different types of MA-PD plans.

In upcoming articles, I’ll investigate what we can deduce from chain and independent pharmacies’ participation in the major 2023 preferred networks.