PHARMACY

Analyst: An Amazon entry into the pharmacy business would not be ‘market disruptive’

BY Brian Berk

SEATTLE — A Wall Street analyst believes the potential for Amazon’s entry into the pharmacy business would not be “market disruptive.” These are the words of Mizuho Securities analyst Ann Hynes.

According to Barron’s, a major reason for this line of thinking is that ordering drugs by mail is not a new innovation. “CVS and Walgreens have been in this business for years and have relationships with drug companies and insurers that give them an early advantage,” the newspaper wrote.

Amazon “would face major infrastructure, payer and regulatory hurdles,” Hynes noted, with the news source adding “it would also be hard for Amazon to get wider discounts on generic drugs than the current players.”

In addition, many older people would rather go to drug stores than get their drugs by mail, giving an edge to companies with retail locations, the analyst stated. “Mail order penetration has been flat to slightly down over the past five years.”

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PHARMACY

Express Scripts to lower generic costs through Walgreens Boots Alliance Development

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. LOUIS — Express Scripts, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Innovative Product Alignment, on Thursday announced it will participate in the Walgreens Boots Alliance Development group purchasing organization.

"The agreement between Innovative Product Alignment and WBAD will improve supply chain efficiency and advance our ability to help reduce generic prescription drug prices for patients," stated Tim Wentworth, president and CEO, Express Scripts. "Our independent model gives us the flexibility to partner with companies like WBAD to make medicine more affordable and accessible. Econdisc is already extremely competitive today. By gaining access to WBAD through Innovative, we will be better positioned for the future."

In addition, Econdisc Contracting Solutions, a group purchasing organization that contracts with manufacturers to source generic pharmaceuticals on behalf of its participants, will have access to WBAD's sourcing efforts through an arrangement between Econdisc and Innovative Product Alignment. These two organizations will immediately begin developing a transition plan to maximize supply chain efficiencies.

WBAD, based in Bern, Switzerland, is a global group purchasing organization that sources and contracts generic pharmaceuticals on behalf of its members.  With Innovative as a member, WBAD will continue its ongoing efforts to reduce complexity in the global supply chain, both on behalf of its members as well as its manufacturing partners, in order to keep costs lower for patients and clients.

 

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Walgreens presents five clinical studies tracking pharmacy’s impact on adherence

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens will present the findings of five recently completed clinical studies at the 22nd Annual International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Annual International Meeting, May 20-24 in Boston. Clinical abstracts from the studies being presented focus primarily on Walgreens efforts to improve medication adherence and patient outcomes through various pharmacy initiatives.
 
“We’re continually seeking to uncover new and innovative approaches to help improve outcomes for our patients,” stated Chet Robson, medical director, clinical programs and quality, Walgreens. “The research we are presenting at ISPOR demonstrates the impact and effectiveness of various pharmacy programs and services and how they can serve to benefit patients and payers.”
 
The studies to be presented at ISPOR include:

  • Analysis of 90-day prescription refill at retail programs, and their impact on improving adherence to medications included in the CMS Star quality measures, demonstrating significantly greater adherence among Medicare Part D patients;
  • A study that observes adherence rates among Walgreens Medicare Part D patients for whom pharmacists initiated late-to-refill reminder calls. Greater impact is shown among patients with 90-day medication fills than on 30-day fills;
  • An exploration of factors associated with medication self-synchronization (aligning multiple medications to be refilled on the same day), in which findings reveal medication self-synchronization is associated with age, copay amount, selected maintenance medication indicators, day supply indicators and total number of prescriptions;
  • Examination of the Universal Medication Schedule as a means of standardizing prescriptions that demonstrates UMS prescribing is associated with significantly higher adherence to oral diabetic medications for older adults with low education who receive a multi-daily regimen. Walgreens collaborated with Northwestern University on this research; and
  • A study exploring length of therapy and factors associated with HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis medication adherence, demonstrating significantly higher adherence among older age groups, males, users of HIV-specialized services, and those with private insurance. The study found that patients used PrEP on average for seven to eight months in the first year.

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