Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Specialty Pharmacy Spending Continues to Grow

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A report by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCSBS) analyzed the growth in specialty drug costs from 2013 to 2014 through a sample size of about 70.5 million BCBS members per year. The analysis revealed a 26% increase in the annual spending of specialty pharmacy from 2013 to 2014. The increased costs of specialty drug treatments, including the price and selection of drugs, were found to be the main drivers of spending growth.

Annual specialty drug spending was found to be 17% higher per member in the individual market compared with the employer market in 2014. The main difference between these markets was the utilization rates by condition, which was higher for individual members in viral infections, cancer, and hepatitis treatments. This did not include multiple sclerosis or inflammatory conditions. The study authors said that in order for specialty drugs to remain sustainable, they must be affordable to consumers.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Reference Pricing: "Net" Invoice Cost for Top Selling Generic and Brand Prescription Drugs (Volume 120)

This document is updated weekly, but why is it important?  Healthcare marketers are aggressively pursuing new revenue streams to augment lower reimbursements provided under PPACA. Prescription drugs, particularly specialty, are key drivers in the growth strategies of PBMs, TPAs and MCOs pursuant to healthcare reform. 

The costs shared below are what the pharmacy actually pays; not AWP, MAC or WAC. The bottom line; payers must have access to "reference pricing." Apply this knowledge to hold PBMs accountable and lower plan expenditures for stakeholders.




How to Determine if Your Company [or Client] is Overpaying

Step #1:  Obtain a price list for generic prescription drugs from your broker, TPA, ASO or PBM every month.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

1 Number From CVS Health That Blew Me Away

Source: Department of Labor
After it rang up more than $153 billion in total sales last year -- making it one of the largest retail operations in the world -- industry watchers expect the company's top-line to surpass $181 billion this year. That represents double-digit growth off of an enormous base, which is an impressive accomplishment for a company of CVS Health's size.

I've been digging deep into CVS Health's recent financial results and have been blown away by just how big this company has become. Below is a list of 15 numbers that amazed me and might help you put this behemoth's size into perspective.

97.3%: This was CVS Health's retention rate for its PBM customers last quarter. It's a remarkably high number that demonstrates just how much its services are valued by customers.

Tyrone's Comment:  97.3% is especially high when you consider plan sponsors can't make heads or tails about how much they actually pay for the services. This is different from plan costs; hidden somewhere in the total spend are the legacy PBM's service revenues (fee).

$2.1 billion: That's how much the company spent on repurchasing its own shares during the first quarter. In total, 22.4 million shares were retired for an average price of $98.52 per share, and management has plans to buy back another $1.8 billion worth by year-end. That should ensure that the company's share count continues to decline at a rapid rate.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Reference Pricing: "Net" Invoice Cost for Top Selling Generic and Brand Prescription Drugs (Volume 119)

This document is updated weekly, but why is it important?  Healthcare marketers are aggressively pursuing new revenue streams to augment lower reimbursements provided under PPACA. Prescription drugs, particularly specialty, are key drivers in the growth strategies of PBMs, TPAs and MCOs pursuant to healthcare reform. 

The costs shared below are what the pharmacy actually pays; not AWP, MAC or WAC. The bottom line; payers must have access to "reference pricing." Apply this knowledge to hold PBMs accountable and lower plan expenditures for stakeholders.

How to Determine if Your Company [or Client] is Overpaying

Step #1:  Obtain a price list for generic prescription drugs from your broker, TPA, ASO or PBM every month.


Monday, May 16, 2016

High cost or high value? Specialty pharmaceuticals add to employers' health care costs

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In 2015, Blue Care Network spent $55.4 million for just 712 members who each took a specialized drug to treat Hepatitis C.

That’s a staggering amount of money for such a small group of people — and it’s just one specialty medication.

The drug in question — Harvoni from Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead Sciences Inc. — can cure Hepatitis C, a communicable virus that destroys the liver. The prescription medication’s success can avoid the high cost of a liver transplant to save a patient’s life, plus the ongoing costs of anti-rejection drugs for years afterward.

The drug’s success rate and high cost pose a dilemma for health insurers and employers, who are paying the rapidly rising bill for the new generation of medications that can treat or cure complex diseases. The catch: Those specialty drugs often come with an enormous price tag.

“As outrageously expensive as some of these drugs are, we have to realize there is an economic benefit at the end of the day because of the condition that it’s treating,” said Bob Hughes, the owner and president of Advantage Benefits Group Inc. in Grand Rapids.

Hughes calls the high costs associated with specialty drugs “a tidal wave” coming at employers.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Reference Pricing: "Net" Invoice Cost for Top Selling Generic and Brand Prescription Drugs (Volume 118)

This document is updated weekly, but why is it important?  Healthcare marketers are aggressively pursuing new revenue streams to augment lower reimbursements provided under PPACA. Prescription drugs, particularly specialty, are key drivers in the growth strategies of PBMs, TPAs and MCOs pursuant to healthcare reform. 

The costs shared below are what the pharmacy actually pays; not AWP, MAC or WAC. The bottom line; payers must have access to "reference pricing." Apply this knowledge to hold PBMs accountable and lower plan expenditures for stakeholders.

How to Determine if Your Company [or Client] is Overpaying

Step #1:  Obtain a price list for generic prescription drugs from your broker, TPA, ASO or PBM every month.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

U.S. Investigates Drugmaker Contracts With Pharmacy Benefit Managers

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Federal prosecutors are investigating drugmakers’ contracts with companies that manage prescription benefits in the U.S., the latest sign of government scrutiny of how drug companies and industry middlemen do business.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York has sent demands for information to at least three drug companies: Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. and Endo International PLC, according to recent company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The so-called civil investigative demands seek information about the companies’ contracts with pharmacy-benefit managers, or PBMs, which administer drug benefits for employers and health insurers. The drug companies didn’t name any specific PBMs in their disclosures.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Reference Pricing: "Net" Invoice Cost for Top Selling Generic and Brand Prescription Drugs (Volume 117)

This document is updated weekly, but why is it important?  Healthcare marketers are aggressively pursuing new revenue streams to augment lower reimbursements provided under PPACA. Prescription drugs, particularly specialty, are key drivers in the growth strategies of PBMs, TPAs and MCOs pursuant to healthcare reform. 

The costs shared below are what the pharmacy actually pays; not AWP, MAC or WAC. The bottom line; payers must have access to "reference pricing." Apply this knowledge to hold PBMs accountable and lower plan expenditures for stakeholders.

How to Determine if Your Company [or Client] is Overpaying

Step #1:  Obtain a price list for generic prescription drugs from your broker, TPA, ASO or PBM every month.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

High-cost specialty drugs; predictions for the future

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Doug Long, vice president, industry relations for IMS Health, kicked off Thursday morning, April 21, at the Academy of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy Annual Meeting 2016, with his presentation on marketplace trends, “Charting the Course for Change: Industry Update."

The news is not good: U.S. spending on drugs increased 12.2% to $424.8 billion in 2015, spiking 46 billion over the past year due to higher brand spending and fewer patent expirations; however, spending on brands without exclusivity reduced growth by $14.2 billion in 2015.