LAS VEGAS — A panel of speakers from all facets of health care convened yesterday to discuss the growth of the specialty pharmaceuticals industry during the 10th Annual Specialty Pharmacy Summit & Expo, hosted by Armada Health Care. The four-day conference brought together more than 3,000 stakeholders from the specialty pharmacy industry.
The presentations focused on the notion that the pharmaceutical industry is shifting to meet the high medical need of specialty patients, and that patients are facing new challenges as a result of the impact of the Affordable Care Act, particularly as it relates to specialty drug coverage.
The evolving regulatory landscape, the shift to high deductible plans and increasing healthcare consolidation in the industry will likely change the patient and caregiver experience, the speakers noted. Cost inflation on drugs will continue to be a problem, and longer patient lifespans will further exacerbate the cost management challenge. However, through management of the "whole patient" and identification of new ways to focus on cost, quality and access, providers can continue to deliver the care coordination necessary to produce favorable patient outcomes.
Speakers who participated in the general session discussion included Lawrence Irene, CEO, Armada Health Care; Randy Falkenrath, SVP specialty pharmacy services, CVS Caremark; Jim Robinson, president, Astellas Pharma US; Myrtle Potter, CEO Myrtle Potter & Company and Myrtle Potter Media; and Michael J. Fox, award-winning actor, author, comedian, producer and patient advocate.
The morning concluded with a presentation by Fox, who told the audience of his personal struggles following his Parkinson's disease diagnosis in 1991. While he had considered himself an eternal optimist, Fox admitted that during a particularly low point in his life, he lamented to his wife that he "would never finish [his] book on optimism." He spoke of the enduring support from his family and the steps he took to overcome the obstacles related to his disease.