Armada Health Care convenes 10th Annual Specialty Pharmacy Summit & Expo
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.
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Bayer/Merck combined portfolio represents leading position across significant OTC categories
Bayer agreed to acquire the consumer care business of U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck for a purchase price of $14.2 billion. The OTC acquisition will give Bayer the global No. 2 position in nonprescription products following recently announced consolidations in this growing healthcare industry segment, and will significantly enhance Bayer’s business across multiple therapeutic categories and geographies. Merck’s consumer care business includes such leading brands as Claritin, Coppertone and Dr. Scholl’s. Pro forma sales of the combined businesses in 2013 amounted to $7.4 billion with Merck’s business, contributing approximately $2.2 billion.
Upon completion of the acquisition, Bayer is expected to achieve global leadership positions in dermatology and gastrointestinals, and advance to the No. 2 position in the cold, allergy, sinus and flu category. Bayer will remain No. 2 in nutritionals and No. 3 in analgesics. Overall, the proposed GlaxoSmithKline-Novartis combination represents the largest consumer health business with about 5.7% share, according to reports. The Bayer/Merck combination comes in second with around 4.5% share. McNeil Consumer rounds out the top-three globally with a share just above 4%.
But the combined heft a Bayer/Merck combination will wield may carry a little greater weight in the U.S. OTC market.
There is no overlap between the OTC product portfolios of Bayer and Merck, and they hold a leading vendor position in 14 categories collectively. Bayer is the No. 1 or No. 2 vendor in seven categories — lice treatments (RID), antacid/analgesic (Alka Seltzer), feminine pain relievers (Midol), internal analgesic tablets (Aleve/Bayer), stomach remedy liquid/powder (Phillips), multivitamins (One-A-Day) and cold sore medication (Campho Phenique). Meanwhile, Merck also is the No. 1 or No. 2 vendor in seven categories — wart removers (Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away), nasal spray (Afrin), cold/allergy/sinus tablets (Claritin), laxative/stimulant liquid/powder/oil (MiraLax), athlete’s foot medication (Tinactin/Lotrimin AF), foot care and foot care devices (both Dr. Scholl’s).
In 10 of the above categories, the new Bayer/Merck combination possess at least a 20% market share (rounding up) — antacid/analgesic (81%), foot care devices (54.6%), feminine pain relievers (45.2%), athlete’s foot medication (42.5%), lice treatments (33.4%), laxative/stimulant liquid/powder/oil (29.5%), wart removers (28%), stomach remedy liquid/powder (22.1%), multivitamins (20.2%) and internal analgesic tablets (19.8%). (Marketshare data courtesy IRI for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 29, 2013 across total U.S. multi-outlets.)
The Bayer/Merck combination may further boost its hold on the allergy market if the Food and Drug Administration approves Merck’s recent switch application for Singulair. However, that may become a separate deal as, according to reports, Merck has retained the switch rights to all of the prescription medicines in its portfolio.
The question as to whether a Singulair switch will even happen has been placed into some doubt — the FDA’s advisory committee recently recommended against the switch out of concern that people would attempt to self-diagnose a more serious asthma condition. However, there is precedent for both the FDA switching a remedy against the advice of its advisory committee — in fact, it is Merck’s Oxytrol for Women for the new-to-OTC category of overactive bladder that bears that distinction — and a product carrying a dual indication for both OTC and prescription-only for a more serious indication — when Procter & Gamble’s Prilosec OTC was switched it was indicated to treat frequent heartburn; the same strength of omeprazole is available as a prescription remedy for the more serious condition GERD.
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Coty names Georgia May Jagger global ambassador in fight against blood cancer
NEW YORK — Beauty company Coty has announced that Georgia May Jagger — supermodel and face of both Coty’s color cosmetics brand, Rimmel, and fragrance brand Just Cavalli — has accepted an appointment as the first Coty global ambassador in the fight against blood cancer. Coty is founding corporate sponsor of Delete Blood Cancer-DKMS, a bone-marrow-donor-registration center.
As the Coty global ambassador in the fight against blood cancer, she will serve as a spokesperson for the cause and help support Delete Blood Cancer. In that capacity, Jagger symbolically lit the Empire State Building in red and white to raise awareness for the fight against blood cancer. Also attending the lighting ceremony, which is an annual tradition for the Coty-Delete Blood Cancer Linked Against Blood Cancer partnership, were Michele Scannavini, CEO of Coty and honorary chair of the eighth annual Delete Blood Cancer Gala, and Katharina Harf, co-founder of Delete Blood Cancer and gala host.
This year marks the eighth anniversary of the Coty-Delete Blood Cancer Linked Against Blood Cancer partnership, as well as the eighth Delete Blood Cancer Gala. The A-list event took place on Wednesday at Cipriani Wall Street and raised a record $4 million; in conjunction, the Empire State Building lit up the skies from sunset on Wednesday until 2 a.m. on Thursday to help raise awareness of Delete Blood Cancer and its cause, as well as to celebrate the Gala and its fundraising goals.
"We are thrilled to be collaborating with Georgia in a different capacity as the Coty Global Ambassador supporting Delete Blood Cancer," Scannavini said. "We cannot thank Georgia enough for all the amazing work she’s done, not only for our brands but for this important cause."
During the star-studded event, Harf presented the "Delete Blood Cancer Award" to Evan Sohn and the Sohn Conference Foundation, recognizing the foundation’s dedication to the treatment and cure of pediatric cancer. After the award presentation, the event featured two performances by pop/rock artist LP and singer-songwriter Jessie J.
In the United States, blood cancers kill more children than any other disease, and they are the second-leading cause of all cancer deaths. Many of these deaths could be prevented by a bone marrow transplant; sadly, half of patients never receive the lifesaving transplant they need, in part because there are not enough registered donors.
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