Besides specialty pharmaceutical pricing, the cost of compounded drugs is highlighted
    For the past two years, Express Scripts has gone well beyond its traditional role in winning rebates from pharma manufacturers and actively managing drug regimens for the patients whose drug-benefit plans it oversees: In 2013 it announced that 48 branded drugs would be on a "formulary exclusion list" for cases where a roughly equivalent generic or lower-cost branded drug was available. Over much of last year it agitated very publicly for a lower cost for Gilead Sciences' hepatitis C cure, Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), and at the end of the year said it would provide for the newly approved competitor
    Company wins $10 million in venture capital as it lines up key life sciences service providers
    For most pharma organizations, the ability to perform analytics on top of data-generating applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) or multichannel marketing (MCM) is the new state of the art: By gathering and analyzing such data, trends can be captured quickly and then reacted to. Like many, many other players in this Big Data space, Reltio (Palo Alto, CA) offers its capabilities to rapidly bring in diverse data sources together, draw linkages and derive trends. But unlike most, it comes to the activity from the field of master data management (MDM)--the task of gathering together accurate client demographic information
    IHS, hereafter to be known as ARxIUM, will expand its injectable-compounding business to include oral solids
    Generally speaking, pharmacy automation systems free pharmacists from the drudgery of counting out pills into a plastic bottle for patients, and have been in common use at larger pharmacies for many years. For injectables that need to be measured out patient by patient, though, most hospital pharmacies, and many specialty pharmacies that dispense injectables, continue to do this manually. With the growth of specialty injectable compounding (for oncology products in particular
    'Filgrastim-sndz' is Sandoz' Zarxio, the biosimilar of Amgen's Neuprogen
    Following a unanimous approval by a review panel in January, FDA has approved the commercial distribution of the biosimilar form of filgrastim, aka Amgen's Neuprogen. Sandoz' press release, issued on the same day as FDA's, doesn't say anything about a distribution timetable, and a Reuters report says that Amgen is suing to block the sale in the US; a decision on a preliminary injunction is expected in the next couple weeks. That article also puts global filgrastim sales at around $1.2 billion worldwide; Sandoz has been marketing its biosimilar for several years already, as Zarzio. In the US, if the Amgen suit is resolved favorably for Sandoz,
    Analysis from Prime Therapeutics points to severe cost hurdles for biosimilars developed and marketed in the US
    The biosimilars race was supposed to take off after the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act was passed (part of the Affordable Care Act) in 2010, but for going on five years now, FDA has only gradually come out with guidances and positions to clear the pathway toward biosimilar approvals. Now, an analysis by Matrix Global Advisors, a Washington consulting firm, and sponsored by Prime Therapeutics, the St. Paul, MN pharmacy benefit manager owned by a dozen Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurers, finds that under the current real-world scenario for researching and then gaining approval for biosimilars, only the biggest of big biologics
    $2-billion acquisition brings a $5-billion/yr PBM to Rite Aid's 4,600 retail stores
    Taking a page from CVS, which acquired the Caremark pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) in 2008, Rite Aid, the No. 3 US retail pharmacy chain, is acquiring EnvisionRx (Twinsburg, OH) in a deal valued at approximately $2 billion. EnvisionRx is being sold by TPG, a private investment firm that had acquired it in July 2013. From Rite Aid's perspective, the transaction is part of the scramble that drug wholesalers, retailers and PBMs are engaged in today. The CVS-Caremark combination was highly controversial at the time, but CVS has succeeded in blending the two types of business, and sees synergies from customers picking up prescriptions at local pharmacies whose cost and reimbursement was arranged by the PBM
    Service eases the management of domestic US shipments to trading partners and patients
    Offering to streamline the cold chain delivery-selection process while providing economies of scale through standardized configurations, UPS Healthcare Logistics is now marketing four packaging lines (Med 100, 200, 300 and 400), each with a range of sizes and options for temperature-controlled duration. The packaging (which is delivered to the shipper) also aligns with UPS' Temperature True service options, which allow for preselected overnight, two-day or other delivery options. "Healthcare customers benefit from more expertise and options created to minimize costs and maximize efficiency
    While traditional retail chains still dominate, the focus by PBMs on specialty distribution is raising their presence among top retailers
    Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting (Philadelphia) has previewed his 2014-15 Economic Report on Retail, Mail and Specialty Pharmacies, which includes an estimation of 2014 calendar-year sales by the top retailers. While CVS Health, Walgreen (now Walgreen Boots), Walmart and Rite Aid occupy four of the top five slots (Express Scripts is No. 4), their growth more or less tracked overall industry sales. According to his numbers, Walgreen is now the No. 1 chain retailer, in that CVS health includes both a retail chain
    Global market will rise 30% over the next five years, reaching $1.3 trillion
    The go-go days of the early 2000s, when the US pharma industry routinely had double-digit growth, haven't exactly returned in full force. But from the 1-3% annual increases in the past several years--including a first-in-recent-history actual decline in 2012--the US market is projected to grow 11-13% when the books close on 2014. The "official" count, from IMS Health, won't be ready until early spring 2015, but in its annual "Global Use of Medicines" report, just issued, IMS' Institute for Healthcare Informatics projects that the US market will be in the range of $377-384 billion for 2014, up 11-13%. It and Japan will experience a "spike" in 2014-5; after that growth
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W. Scott Evangelista, president of Integrated Commercial Services and Solutions, the largest business unit within IHS, sat down to talk with Pharmaceutical Commerce. Here’s what he had to say.
It's still early days in making medical marijuana--and cannabis-based pharmaceuticals--part of normal dispensing  continued >
Unifying the management of clinical research documentation and marketing content saves time and accelerates speed-to-therapy  continued >
GDP standards drive higher performance standards for packaging  continued >
Manufacturers will need to refine their interactions with healthcare providers and produce better outcomes research and adherence programs to compete  continued >
Persistent drug shortages are mostly attributable to manufacturing quality problems, but the economics of low-margin generic manufacturing challenge the industry  continued >
2015 Hub Services Report
Comprehensive patient care becomes the unifying theme of pharma hubs
LabCorp’s $6.1-billion bid for leading CRO has implications for pharma’s future
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