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...

Monday, June 17, 2024

The Top Pharmacy Benefit Managers of 2023: Market Share and Trends for the Biggest Companies—And What’s Ahead (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for Friday’s live video webinar: The 340B Drug Pricing Program: Trends, Controversies, and Outlook.

Click here to see the original post from April 2024.


Three is still the magic number for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

For 2023, nearly 80% of all equivalent prescription claims were processed by three companies: the Caremark business of CVS Health, the Express Scripts business of Cigna, and the Optum Rx business of UnitedHealth Group.

Read on for Drug Channels Institute’s (DCI’s) latest market share figures, along with a preview of the industry changes that will shift these shares over the next few years.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Expanding our Definitions of Out-of-Pocket Costs: Three Imperatives for Biopharmaceutical Manufacturers

Today’s guest post comes from Christine Juday, Head of Market Access at Real Chemistry.

Chris discusses new research on how patients perceive out-of-pocket costs. As she explains, many patients and unpaid caregivers consider out-of-pocket costs for medication within the context of their total spending. She then recommends three ways that manufacturers can improve patients' access and affordability.

Click here to learn more about Real Chemistry’s suite of market access consulting and payer/IDN marketing solutions. You can also sign up for its weekly Value Report, summarizing the week in drug pricing, access, and value news.

Read on for Chris' insights.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Hospitals Are Relying More on PBMs to Manage Manufacturers' 340B Contract Pharmacy Restrictions: DCI's 2024 Market Analysis

The 340B contract pharmacy market shows little sign of slowing down. Drug Channels Institute’s exclusive analysis of the 2024 market reveals that:
  • About 33,000 pharmacy locations—more than half of the entire U.S. pharmacy industry—act as contract pharmacies for the hospitals and federal grantees that participate in the 340B program. 
  • Five multi-billion-dollar, for-profit, publicly traded pharmacy chains and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)—Cigna (via Express Scripts), CVS Health, UnitedHealth Group (via OptumRx), and Walgreens, Walmart—continue to dominate the 340B contract pharmacy market.
  • Federal grantees are aligned primarily with the vertically intergated organizations' retail pharmacies, while hospitals rely on mail and specialty pharmacies.
Over the past four years, manufacturers’ restrictions on 340B contract pharmacies have led hospitals to deepen their relationships with the largest PBMs—even as those PBMs have simultaneously limited hospitals’ direct participation in specialty pharmacy networks.

For an updated look at what’s next for the 340B contract pharmacy market, join Adam J. Fein, Ph.D., on June 21 for his latest live video webinar: The 340B Drug Pricing Program: Trends, Controversies, and Outlook.

Friday, June 07, 2024

Choosing the Right Hub Partner: A Blueprint for Decision-Makers

Today’s guest post comes from Nasir Ali, Chief Product Officer at CareMetx.

Nasir highlights manufacturers' top objectives and vendor metrics from CareMetx’s recent survey of leaders and decision makers in the specialty pharmaceutical industry. He then outlines key questions to help manufacturers evaluate their potential hub partners.

You can donwload CareMetx’s full 2024 Patient Services Report here: Revealing Manufacturer Priorities: Patients Naturally Take Center Stage.

Read on for Nasir’s insights.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Pharmacist Salaries and Employment in 2023: The Grass Keeps Getting Greener in Hospitals

It’s time for the annual update to Drug Channels Institute’s (DCI) analysis of pharmacist salaries and employment.

2023 was another tough year for pharmacists working in retail settings. While average salaries grew, they did not keep pace with overall inflation. Pharmacist employment at drug stores shrank but grew at supermarkets and mass merchants.

Meanwhile, employment and salaries in non-retail settings—hospitals, physician offices, outpatient centers, and home healthcare—continued to grow. These settings now employ one in three U.S. pharmacists. Greener grass—or just different soil?

Full salary and employment data below for your enjoyment or sorrow.

What’s ahead for 340B-eligible hospitals? Find out during The 340B Drug Pricing Program: Trends, Controversies, and Outlook, a new live video webinar with Adam J. Fein, PhD. Click here to learn more and reserve your spot at the June 21 webinar.