PHARMACY

McKesson’s Pharmacy Optimization team identifies 5 key pharmacy trends headed into 2017

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS — The implications the new Trump administration will have on healthcare isn't the only trend that has pharmacy executives abuzz. In fact, the McKesson Pharmacy Optimization team, a group of trusted advisors who work to help elevate the value of health system pharmacies, has identified the top five trends that will impact hospital and health system pharmacies in 2017.

McKesson's advisory team addressed these trends with health system pharmacy leaders at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting 2016, which runs from Dec. 4–8, 2016.

“The role of the clinical pharmacist is rapidly expanding to stay ahead of the changing dynamics brought upon by healthcare reform," commented Mark Eastham, Sr., SVP and general manager Mckesson Pharmacy Optimization. "The expanding scope of pharmacists’ service and increasing clinical collaboration illustrate key trends and opportunities facing health system pharmacies in the coming year.”

That being said, here are the five trends McKesson's pharmacy optimization team identified:

1. Continued Growth in Specialty Market
Growth in specialty pharmaceuticals spend continues to outpace growth in the overall pharmaceutical market and is the top spend category for health system pharmacies. The expansion of limited networks and exclusive distribution channels for many specialty pharmaceuticals challenge health systems’ continuity of care initiatives.

However, opportunities still exist for health system pharmacy leaders who understand and can demonstrate the unique clinical and operational competencies and expertise required to build, buy or partner with specialty pharmacies. Additionally, with the growth of biosimilars, pharmacists are poised to play a critical role in evaluating the balance between risks and patient benefit.

2. Leveraging Pharmacy Analytics to Make Strategic Business Decisions
Integrating comprehensive pharmacy analytics to track and monitor drug spend and use, patient care, and quality is a top priority for health systems. Organizations can use this information to make better financial, clinical and operational decisions and drive improved outcomes. For example, Drug Spend Intelligence is a web-based portal that shows users data on price trends and drug use, which helps identify causes of spending increases and waste and maps ways to contain formulary costs.

3. Health System Pharmacy Seen as a Revenue and Margin Generator
Managing costs will always be important; however, health systems’ leaders are increasingly looking to pharmacy to generate more revenue and help improve margins. This will continue to drive growth of specialty and increased use of mail order to ship medications directly to patients’ homes. As healthcare consumerism grows, health systems will need to find new ways to capture patients as network participation will not be enough. For example, health systems can extend their continuum of care by providing discharge medications through their ambulatory/retail pharmacies. More and more health systems are looking for partnership opportunities with retail pharmacies to share patient data to ensure all healthcare practitioners have access to current information.

4. Centralizing Pharmacy Operations and Improving Clinical Services
Sometimes referred to as clinical telepharmacy, the centralization of pharmacy operations is designed to help large health systems utilize a centralized hub to manage costs, improve order entry and verification, and standardize policies and procedures. Using software tools and services like those from PipelineRx, large health systems can free up time for pharmacists and other staff to use more effectively on clinical patient care initiatives and generate revenue by servicing other hospitals, clinics or retail pharmacies. This need for efficiency is also bolstering the use of centralized service centers to streamline pharmaceutical ordering, packaging and dispensing. These centralized functions can result in better efficiency and improved safety and cash flow. The importance of inventory management and supply chain visibility is evidenced by McKesson’s acquisition of Supplylogix, which is a comprehensive inventory management solution designed to help improve supply chain efficiency and improve patient satisfaction.

5. Future Directions for Reform and the Affordable Care Act
Healthcare reform and the ACA were key issues throughout the election process, and it is clear that the new administration will look to make changes to the ACA in the coming years. What is not yet clear is how quickly these changes will be implemented and what the impact will be on health systems. However, likely changes include the elimination of the individual mandate, a reduction in taxes associated with the law, the elimination of cost-sharing subsidies and reversing Medicaid expansion. Removing the mandate will increase the uninsured numbers as charity care cases go back up. Programs such as Pharmaceutical Assistance from manufacturers and services such as MedSource, offered through McKesson, will continue to bring value, ultimately helping health systems to continue to provide care and minimize write-offs.
 

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VoicePort partners with iMedicare

BY David Salazar
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — VoicePort’s CLARO adherence platform will soon offer its pharmacy partners patient-specific Medicare plan analysis from iMedicare with a new partnership the companies announced Monday. With the partnership, VoicePort customers can access iMedicare’s analyses to help patients make the best decisions when choosing a Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan. 
 
"Most Medicare patients can save money by selecting the right plan during their open enrollment," VoicePort CEO Chris Mann said "Our partnership is designed to facilitate a time-sensitive consultative interaction between the pharmacist and patient. That process also has implications for the pharmacy throughout the entire year as patients become newly eligible for Medicare and pharmacy plan reimbursements become more complex. We are thrilled to partner with iMedicare to expand our offerings within our Claro adherence platform," Mann continued. "Having the iMedicare solution available as a new and value-added solution within our platform only adds to the positive offerings our clients already enjoy."
 
IMedicare CEO Flaviu Simihaian said “We are excited to partner with VoicePort to simplify Medicare for more pharmacies and their patients. In a world of DIR fees and preferred networks, iMedicare is committed to using data intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to drive real ROI to every pharmacy customer with minimal effort.”
 

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FDA Office of New Drugs director Jenkins to retire

BY David Salazar
FDA Office of New Drugs director to retire
 
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration’s director of the Office of New Drugs, Dr. John Jenkins, will be retiring from the agency, effective Jan. 6, 2017, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Dr. Janet Woodcock announced in an email to CDER staff Monday. 
 
Woodcock said that the agency would conduct a national search to fill the vacancy left by Jenkins, and that in the interim, she would be acting director of the OND. 
 
Jenkins joined the FDA in 1991 as a medical officer in its former oncology and pulmonary products division, eventually becoming OND director in 20002. He designed and oversaw the CDER’s 21st Century Review initiative, pushed for a new biosimilars review program and under his leadership the OND has approved a notable number of novel new drug therapies each year, among them treatments for rare diseases. 
 
“John is known and respected for his contributions both inside and outside FDA. He is both brilliant … and steady —a rare combination,” Woodcock said. “He is known for his fair-minded approach to differences, and he has served as a role model for a new generation of reviewers. I have benefitted from his insight and guidance over our many years of working together. His passion for promoting and protecting public health is evident, and he has always stayed focused on the needs of those we serve — patients and the health care community. He has brought CDER’s drug review process, known worldwide as the model of excellence, to where it is today. He will truly be missed here at CDER.”
 

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