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, January 30, 2024

Drug Channels News Roundup, January 2024: 2024 List Price Surprises, GSK vs. PBMs, Walgreens’ 340B Profits, Gen Z vs. Pharmacy, and PE + Hospitals

Super Bowl LVIII is almost here. Time for some blow-out beer commercials, occasionally interrupted by a football game. In case you haven’t heard, Taylor Swift is dating the brother of Paula’s favorite Eagles player.

But who needs the Super Bowl when you can tackle this month’s selection of notable news stories, intercepted for you from the Drug Channels gridiron:
  • Punt: Average list prices are unchanged for 2024
  • Trick Play: GSK tussles with PBMs over lower-priced products
  • Rush! Senator Cassidy tries to tackle CVS and Walgreens—and I give you a peek at a Walgreens 340B contract
  • Offsides: To Gen Z, being a pharmacist is cheugy.
Plus, Dr. Glaucomflecken peeks inside a hospital owned by a private equity firm.

P.S. A big THANK YOU for all the warm wishes and congratulations on DCI’s acquisition by HMP! Check out the wonderful comments on this LinkedIn post. Great things ahead.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Medicare Part D in 2024: Smaller Pharmacies Abandon Preferred Pharmacy Networks

In a previous article, I highlighted the largest pharmacy chains that will participate in the 2024 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDP).

Today, I update DCI's exclusive analysis of how smaller pharmacies will participate as preferred cost sharing pharmacies via the pharmacy services administrative organizations (PSAOs) that represent them in negotiations with plans.

As you will see below, the largest PSAOs have effectively abandoned PDP’s preferred networks in 2024. Plans from Aetna, Humana, WellCare, and UnitedHealthcare will not have any independent pharmacies participating via PSAOs as preferred pharmacies.

Smaller pharmacies' ability to navigate away provides more bad news for stand-alone Part D market—and another unexpected consequence of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Look out below!

Monday, January 22, 2024

Informa Connect’s PAP – Patient Assistance & Access Programs

Informa Connect’s PAP – Patient Assistance & Access Programs
March 19-21, 2024 | Pre-Conference Workshops on March 18, 2024
Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia, PA
Exclusive Offer – Be sure to use your exclusive promo code 24DC10 to save 10% off* of your registration.

It is our responsibility as an industry to ensure patients have access to the life-changing therapies they need.

How does PAP – Patient Assistance & Access Programs help us reach this goal?

Download the agenda and register today – Be sure to use your exclusive promo code 24DC10 to save 10% off* of your registration

With the demand for patient assistance growing each year, industry collaboration is vital in meeting patients’ needs and navigating the access and reimbursement barriers we face daily.

What policy disruptions await in the new year that will inevitably slow access and affordability? Is your program up to par with industry standards? How are we improving health equity to bridge the gaps in healthcare?

PAP – Patient Assistance & Access Programs, taking place March 19-21 in Philadelphia, PA, provides an essential forum for industry to collaborate and uncover the answers to these questions and more to define best practice for PAP programs. Experts come together and provide clarity on current changes in legislation and policy, methods for program optimization, the risks associated with AFPs, improving patient education for better patient outcomes and so much more. Never a shortage of timely discussions, join stakeholders from across the industry as they dive into methods and strategies to take on the challenges ahead.

What can you expect?

Tackle the hottest topics facing industry right now, including:
  • State of the Industry—The Changing Landscape of Healthcare Coverage and Access
  • Illuminating Health Equity—Bridging the Gaps in Healthcare, Education, and Partnerships
  • Enforcement Panel—Focal Points and Priorities for 2024 and Beyond
  • 3 Focused Tracks for a Customized Experience:
    • Legal and Policy
    • Patient Education
    • Technology, Innovation and Operations
  • Legal Address—Examining the Implications and Risks of Patient Assistance
  • PAP 101- Back to the Basics
  • Ensuring Compliance with Free Drug and Medication Assistance Programs
  • Impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act – Dive into How Organizations are Planning for 2025 Changes
  • Ask Me Anything Session with Leading Charitable Foundations
  • PLUS! Join your peers one day early on March 18th for 3 hot topic, intensive workshops:
    • Advocacy and Engagement
    • Alternative Funding Programs
    • Product Launch and Commercialization
Vital insights from industry’s leading access and affordability experts, including:
  • Corey Ford, MHA, Vice President of Reimbursement and Policy Insights, Cencora
  • Kevin L. Hagan, President and CEO, PAN Foundation
  • Doreen Rice, Director, Patient Assistance Programs, AstraZeneca
  • Page Buchanan, Vice President, Amgen Safety Net Foundation; Senior Manager, Patient Assistance Programs and OUS Product Donations, Amgen
  • Harmeet Dhillon, Head of Public Policy, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Joshua Walsh, Director of Patient Access, AbbVie
  • Rachel Thorpe, Executive Director, Otsuka Patient Assistance Foundation, Inc.
  • Liz Austin, Patient Foundation Head, Genentech
  • Amy Yarcich, Executive Director, Rx Partnership
  • Alisa Vidulich Casavant, Policy Director, Arthritis Foundation
  • And more!
PLUS, Continued Extended Networking in 2024!

PAP is back as part of Access USA, the access event bringing together three industry-leading conferences under one roof. Benefit from robust networking opportunities with all Access USA participants (that is an expected 600+ access professionals!), expand your network and establish powerful partnerships.

Exclusive Offer – Download the agenda and register today – Be sure to use your exclusive promo 24DC10 to save 10% off* of your registration.

Informa Connect will see you there!

*Cannot be combined with other offers, promotions or applied to an existing registration. Other restrictions may apply.

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).

Friday, January 19, 2024

Rethinking Financial Services in Biopharma Patient Affordability Programs

Today’s guest post comes from Bob Raffo, Senior Vice President of Financial Services & Strategic Commercial Development at Cencora.

Bob discusses the challenges faced by patient affordability programs managed by third-party vendors. He explains three ways that biopharma companies can benefit by working with a financial services provider specializing in patient affordability programs.

Click here to learn about Cencora Financial Services.

Read on for Bob’s insights.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Anti-Obesity Drugs and The Coming Battle Over Utilization Management (video)

My recent Drug Channels Outlook 2024 webinar covered 12 key trends that will shape the commercial environment this year. The video excerpt below highlights my commentary on trend #2: the rapid growth of anti-obesity GLP-1 agonist drugs.

As I explain, this growth will challenge payer and channel economics, while boosting profits for patient reimbursement hub businesses and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

The widespread use of these products will also lead to greater scrutiny of utilization management—the tools that PBMs use to influence and manage prescription costs.

If this clip whets your appetite for more, register to watch a replay of the full 100 minute Drug Channels Outlook 2024 video webinar.

Click here to sign up for The Drug Channels 2024 Video Webinar Series. My first webinar will be on April 5, 2024.

Click here if you can’t see the video above.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Repairing the Patient Journey: How Pharma Can Fix the Obvious–and Not So Obvious–Breaking Points of Nonadherence

Today’s guest post comes from Maria Kirsch, President, Patient Services, Krista Pinto, President, Deployment Solutions, and Mike Scott, Senior Vice President, Specialty Consulting at EVERSANA.

Maria, Krista, and Mike discuss the key reasons why patients abandon drug therapy. They then describe EVERSANA’s approach for helping manufacturers and healthcare providers improve adherence and health outcomes.

Learn more about EVERSANA’s solutions from this complimentary whitepaper: Repairing the Patient Journey: How Pharma Can Fix the Obvious–and Not So Obvious–Breaking Points of Nonadherence.

Read on for the authors’ insights.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

The Big Three PBMs’ 2024 Formulary Exclusions: Biosimilar Humira Battles, CVS Health’s Weird Strategy, and the Insulin Shakeup

For 2024, the three largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)—Caremark (CVS Health), Express Scripts (Cigna), and OptumRx (United Health Group)—have again each excluded 600 or more drugs from their standard formularies. You can find our updated counting below.

This year, Humira and its 14 biosimilars will provide the most intriguing formulary drama. Unfortunately, the gross-to-net bubble will remain a fixture for this category, despite a price war led by almost half of the biosimilars. CVS Health will lean into the craziness with an unusual Humira strategy.*

There are also unusual formulary developments for insulin products, many of which experienced massive list price cuts for 2024.

Read on for my deep dive into these two therapeutic categories. I also highlight recent research that raises troubling questions about the patient impact of these ever-growing exclusion lists. As always, I welcome your comments below or on LinkedIn.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

BIG NEWS! HMP Global Acquires Drug Channels Institute

Paula and I have some exciting news to share with you: Drug Channels Institute is joining the HMP Global family! HMP is a leading omnichannel healthcare education, events, and market insights company. It’s a great fit for DCI.

Here’s the press release: HMP Global Expands Market Reach with Strategic Acquisition of Drug Channels Institute; Launches Market Intelligence Unit

Paula and I will continue to lead DCI as part of HMP. We love bringing you great content, and plan to continue doing so. HMP will be making significant investments to help us grow. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement over the years. Please enjoy our special video message to the Drug Channels community:

Click here if you can’t see the video.

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Tales of the Unsurprised: U.S. Brand-Name Drug Prices Fell for an Unprecedented Sixth Consecutive Year (And Will Fall Further in 2024)

It's time for Drug Channels’ annual reality check on U.S. drug pricing.

For 2023, brand-name drugs’ list prices again grew at mid-single-digit rates. However, net prices dropped for an unprecedented sixth consecutive year. What’s more, after adjusting for overall inflation, brand-name drug net prices plunged by more than 7%. Details below.

Employers, health plans, and PBMs determine whether patients share in this ongoing deflation. Meanwhile, these data challenge drug pricing flat earthers (#DPFE) who remain committed to a false narrative of “skyrocketing” drug prices.

As I discuss below, manufacturers will face ongoing pressure on net prices from both commercial and government payers. They will also have new incentives to limit growth in list prices—and will even reduce list prices on certain drugs (as some are already doing).

Perhaps these factors will finally start to deflate the gross-to-bubble and reduce its negative effect on patients and public policy discussions. Hope has to triumph over experience eventually, doesn’t it?