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Diplomat event highlights rise of specialty pharmacy

BY Jim Frederick

The Drug Store News Group and Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy drew a packed room full of retail executives and pharmacy leaders from many of the nation’s top drug, supermarket and mass merchandise chains to a breakfast pow-wow Sunday morning in Las Vegas.

The guest list for the event read like a who’s who of chain pharmacy representatives. They were drawn by the very real need to learn how to compete more effectively in the rapidly emerging new era of specialized pharmaceuticals. Diplomat’s leadership team didn’t disappoint. Addressing the packed gathering at the Dal Torro Restaurant, CEO Phil Hagerman and VP clinical services Gary Rice both provided insights into the specialty pharmacy market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil Hagerman and Gary Rice of Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy with DSN editor Rob Eder and Darren Singer of Safeway.

In addition, Diplomat’s Ela Lourido spoke about the emergence of the company’s Retail Pharmacy Network as a partner to help retail pharmacies engage effectively with the specialty arena. The event also marked the publication of a special report on Diplomat by Drug Store News. DSN publisher Wayne Bennett and editor-in-chief Rob Eder joined with Diplomat leaders to celebrate the unveiling of the report in the Aug. 12 issue of Drug Store News.

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IMS’ Long: State of Rx market

BY Alaric DeArment

LAS VEGAS — This year, generic drugs account for 83% of all drugs dispensed in the United States, and that figure is set to get even larger over the next few years. That was among the takeaways from IMS Health VP industry relations Doug Long’s presentation Sunday morning.

Over the next few years, Long said, generics would likely grow to 86% to 87% of prescriptions, at which point they would plateau. A factor behind this is Crestor (rosuvastatin), the cholesterol drug made by AstraZeneca. With 2012 sales of $5.1 billion, Crestor is the third top-selling drug in the United States, according to IMS. But after it comes off patent in 2016, there won’t be any other significant primary-care drugs coming off patent.

This, Long said, means generics companies will have to focus more on biologics. The market for specialty drugs — most of which are biologics — is likely to grow and account for about 30% of the market in the next few years. Indeed, specialty is already dominant in the development of new medications.

One area where retailers have a good opportunity is in reducing healthcare costs. Of the $213 billion in avoidable healthcare costs per year, $140 billion of that comes from patients visiting hospitals, and another $6 billion comes from emergency room visits.

“I think with your retail clinics, you can partner a lot and help reduce that,” Long said, adding that even medication synchronization can help improve medication adherence.

Reducing hospital readmissions is another area of potential cost containment, a contributing factor of which is nonadherence. Among nonadherent patients, those with cholesterol represent the highest cost, at $44 billion. The others are osteoporosis, diabetes, HIV, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and congestive heart failure. “These six disease states are all in your sweet spot,” Long said. “These are not specialty classes — these are all
retail-oriented classes.”

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Wiesner receives Pratt Award

BY Antoinette Alexander

During Sunday morning’s Business Program, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores bestowed its highest honor — the Harold W. Pratt Award — to Dennis Wiesner. Wiesner currently serves as senior director for privacy, pharmacy and governmental affairs with H-E-B, which he joined in 1987. In addition to his role as past-chair and current member of the NACDS Policy Council, he has and continues to serve in several professional organizations.

 

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