Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Drug Channels News Roundup, December 2022: Vertical Integration Updated, Walgreens vs. Pharmacy, Cash-Pay Rx, Curing 340B, and Deductible Season

Whew. It was quite a year—one filled with big deals, big news, and big legislation.

Drug Channels also had a big 2022. We now have 35,000 LinkedIn followers, almost 25,000 email subscribers, and nearly 16,000 Twitter followers.

Thank you, dear readers, for welcoming me into your inboxes and browsers each week. I’ve had a blast writing Drug Channels and hope that you had fun reading it.

Wishing you and your family health and happiness,

Ring in 2023 with our final news roundup of the year:
  • A vertical integration update
  • Walgreens backs away from prescriptions
  • Meet a cash-pay pharmacy that’s not owned by a billionaire
  • Time to cure or kill 340B?
Plus, Dr. Glaucomflecken helps you celebrate “I met my deductible” season!

Drug Channels Outlook 2023, This Website

During last week’s Drug Channels Outlook 2023 video webinar, I shared the latest version of my infamous chart mapping the insurer/PBM/specialty pharmacy/provider organizations that now dominate U.S. drug channels. Please enjoy!

[Click to Enlarge]

You can compare this chart with the October version here: Mapping the Vertical Integration of Insurers, PBMs, Specialty Pharmacies, and Providers: A 2022 Update. If you missed the live event, you can watch a replay and download the full slide deck.

Walgreens plots 'aggressive' strategy to build out healthcare services, CEO Roz Brewer says, Fierce Healthcare

I recommend this useful overview of Walgreens Boots Alliance’s U.S. strategy as it races away from its pharmacy roots and towards healthcare services.

In case you were still wondering where the company is going, check out this notable quote from CEO Roz Brewer:
“As soon as we were looking at life beyond the [COVID-19] vaccination period and getting into this endemic role in our lives, it was important to think about what's the next growth venture for this company because dispensing of pharmaceuticals is not going to be our long-term growth avenue.” (emphasis added)

This small-town pharmacy may be a model for more affordable drugs, STAT

Check out this brief video profile of Honest Rx Pharmacy, an independent retail pharmacy that does not take third-party insurance. It exemplifies the small but growing number of pharmacies focus on noninsurance, patient-paid prescriptions. The most famous example, of course, is the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company.

Glassman: Notorious 340B needs to be cured or killed, Boston Herald

Here’s a highly readable summary of the 340B Drug Pricing Program in 2022—plus a sensible plea for “comprehensive and serious effort at making the program smaller but better targeted.”

Covered entities have been capitulating to manufacturers’ demands for prescription claims data. Meanwhile, Advocates for Community Health, a new lobbying group for community health centers, is reportedly advocating for a new “340C” program that would be available to health centers and possibly rural hospitals and federal grantees. Perhaps there’s hope for reform?

An Important Message from United Healthcare, Dr. Glaucomflecken

Dr. Glaucomflecken, the funniest physician on the internet, continues his unrelenting assault on insurance companies. Another classic!

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