PwC points health prospectors to retailers
NEW YORK — The booming healthcare market, which is expected to reach 19.6% of gross domestic product by 2019, is driving a surge of activity from companies looking to develop new products and services to bolster profits and create more convenient patient care, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute.
“We really look at these prospectors as potentially very positive,” Ben Isgur, a director with PwC’s Health Research Institute, told Drug Store News. “This could be a way to make our system more efficient and cost-effective, and that is the injection of the private sector into the healthcare system.”
Within the recently published report, “The New Gold Rush,” PwC Health Research Institute identified four main roles in which health prospectors — which are companies or individuals looking to profit in the health market — can likely come into the marketplace and flourish: fixers, implementers, connectors and retailers. It is the latter that especially caught the eye of DSN.
Isgur explained that access is a big issue right now and that the implementation of healthcare reform is going to make access even tougher. Pharmacy retailers are ideally positioned to tackle the issue, as they not only have the footprint to provide customers greater access and deep customer relationships, but also understand supply chain and can help curb costs.
PwC highlighted Walgreens and its Take Care Health Systems business as just one example of a retailer moving beyond retail to the mass delivery of health services. PwC noted that Walgreens is expanding its clinics’ services to include more preventive services, such as health risk assessments and physicals. PwC also mentioned that Walgreens, through its Take Care business, is expanding its worksite clinics and pharmacy services. “With these changes, Walgreens is looking more and more like a healthcare provider. So, will other providers see Walgreens as a competitor? Or [as] a partner?” the PwC report asked.
In response, Peter Hotz, group VP Walgreens health and wellness, said in a report, “A few years ago, hospitals didn’t even want to be in a conversation with us regarding our retail clinics. Now we’re meeting with them two or three times per week.”
ReportersNotebook — Chain Pharmacy, 6/27/11
SUPPLIER NEWS — A generic drug maker has been granted approval from the Food and Drug Administration to manufacture its version of a urinary tract infection treatment. Amneal Pharmaceuticals said that its nitrofurantoin oral suspension in the 25-mg/5-mL strength is the first-to-market generic version of Furadantin, made by Shionogi Pharma. Amneal will sell its generic in 8-oz. (230-mL) size bottles, the company said. Annual U.S. sales of nitrofurantoin oral suspension totaled $40 million for the year ended in January, according to IMS Health data.
The FDA has approved a generic drug for epilepsy made by Mylan. Mylan said that the FDA had approved its divalproex sodium capsules in the 125-mg strength. The drug is a generic version of Abbott’s Depakote Sprinkle capsules and is used to treat certain types of epileptic seizures. Divalproex sodium capsules had sales of about $89 million during the 12-month period ended in March, according to IMS Health.
The FDA has approved a new antiretroviral treatment for HIV made by Johnson & Johnson, the agency said. The FDA approved J&J subsidiary Tibotec Therapeutics’ Edurant (rilpivirine) as a treatment for use in combination with other HIV drugs in adults who have not been treated before. The drug belongs to a class known as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, or NNRTIs, and is designed for use as part of a highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, regimen.
Waste not, want not: Ways to avoid Rx waste
In its “2010 Drug Trend Report,” Express Scripts attributed much pharmacy-related waste to patients failing to follow three simple guidelines: Take medications as prescribed, take drugs that maximize clinical benefit for the lowest price and use the safest and cheapest delivery channel. While some of the suggested methods might not always be in retailers’ and patients’ best interest — such as using mail-order instead of visiting retail pharmacies — the $403 billion in pharmacy-related waste, projected to equal $1.2 trillion between 2010 and 2014, isn’t chump change, and both public and private payers pay attention such high numbers.
Still, many consumers have shown a willingness to change their behavior in ways that they think will help save money for the country, their employers and their health plans, according to research by the pharmacy benefit manager. Absolute majorities of consumers reported a willingness to use generic drugs, use home delivery and lose weight. Large percentages also said they would use a different retail pharmacy, use a limited physician network or pay higher premiums for their drugs.