Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Drug Channels News Roundup, February 2024: Pharmacy Shakeout Update, High Drug Prices, 340B Realities, MDs vs. Pharmacists, and Foo Fighters

February is longer than usual this year, which means that you’ll have extra time to leap into our monthly curated selection of noteworthy news. In this issue:
  • An update on the retail pharmacy shakeout
  • Arguing for high drug prices
  • A leading researcher provides a 340B reality check
  • Physicians don’t want pharmacists getting uppity
Plus, Dave Grohl fights for your right to…have healthcare price transparency?

P.S. Join my nearly 53,000 LinkedIn followers for daily links to neat stuff. You can also find my daily posts at @DrugChannels on Twitter/X, where I have more than 17,400 followers. (I recommend that you follow me on LinkedIn, because the quality of comments and engagement is much higher than they are on Twitter. Sorry, no Threads.)

Walgreens, CVS, and Other Pharmacy Chains Are in a World of Hurt. What’s to Blame., Barron’s

This Barron’s article has a decent overview of the many challenges facing retail pharmacies, including:
  • An oversupply of retail locations
  • Poor store management by the large chains
  • Declining per-prescription revenues and gross profit dollars for generic drugs
  • Tough negotiations with highly consolidated PBMs
Long time readers shouldn’t be surprised by this list. Consider my 2021 list: CVS Pharmacy Downsizes: 10 Industry Trends Driving the Retail Shakeout.

P.S. Click here for the non-paywall version of the article.

Be Thankful for High Drug Prices, The Wall Street Journal

Want to start an argument? Then pass around this provocative Wall Street Journal opinion piece. Here’s a key quote:
”No one in this country is happy that Americans pay for drug R&D while the rest of the world free-rides off our investment. But we don’t run the world. If we try to free-ride too, there won’t be a ride.”
Whether you agree or not, the authors provide an articulate and compelling counterargument to the context-free demonization of the pharma industry.

5 Questions with Sayeh Nikpay: The 340B Drug Pricing Program, Cornerstone Research

Professor Sayeh Nikpay of the School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, has published numerous academic articles about the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

In this excellent interview, Dr. Nikpay explains how terms like “safety net” and “stretching scarce resources” provide a misleading picture of the 340B program’s serious shortcomings. I especially liked her summary:
”My research finds that the 340B program creates perverse incentives for covered entities. I have used large, nationally representative, administrative datasets to show that:
  1. Hospitals that begin participating in the 340B program do not meaningfully increase their safety-net engagement.
  2. The 340B program’s eligibility criteria poorly target safety-net providers.
  3. Contract pharmacies are less likely to be located in medically underserved areas, or areas with higher uninsured rates.
It’s an especially timely reminder—especially because we just learned that the out-of-control 340B program grew at double-digit rates (again) in 2023.

What's the difference between pharmacists and physicians?, American Medical Association

The American Medical Association (AMA) showed some classic guild behavior with this policy statement on “scope creep.” The physicians oppose legislation that “seeks to allow pharmacists to diagnose and treat patients over the pharmacy counter” and urge “extreme caution when considering legislation that would expand scope of practice for pharmacists.”

Pharmacists are not pleased. The American Pharmacists Association’s reaction: AMA statement on pharmacists is arrogant, self-centered, and out of touch.

And for a raw look at what pharmacists think, check out the 80+ mostly hostile comments on my LinkedIn post about the AMA statement.

Foo Fighters to Perform at Power to the Patients Concert in Washington, D.C., Power to the Patients

I’ve got another confession to make: I’m also a music nerd.

My worlds collided when I learned that the Foo Fighters will play a concert (checks notes) "in support of healthcare price transparency."

There goes my hero! I’m not sure how or why Dave Grohl and co. support this cause. Perhaps he knows that I've been waiting everlong for the gross-to-net bubble to pop. But here we are!

No comments:

Post a Comment