Will retail clinics be big winners under AHCA?
WASHINGTON — One segment of the industry that may see new business out of the passing of the American Health Care Act will be retail clinics. The bill is expected to remove anywhere from 15 million to 20 million Americans from healthcare insurance rolls, even following any Senate action and subsequent conference suggested Kalorama Information. And the big question will be, where will those patients go?
"While there are many questions that follow the recent House vote, one thing remains – Americans will continue to need accessible, affordable quality care," Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director, Convenient Care Association, told Drug Store News. "For nearly two decades, retail clinics have been filling the gaps in healthcare delivery and services for the approximate 40% to 60% of Americans without a primary care provider," she said. "As the next evolution of healthcare is upon us, the industry is perfectly positioned to continue these efforts."
The fact is, retail clinics already have seized a place in today's healthcare delivery paradigm as a convenience-oriented and value driven provider. Just consider where retail clinics were 10 years ago. In 2006, 90 retail clinics were in operation and only one in every 10 customers had reported visiting one, according to the PwC Health Research Institute. Today, there are more than 3,000 retail clinics in operation and one in every three customers have made their way to a clinic.
"No matter what decision is made [in Congress], people are still going to need primary care, and we are an [affordable] option for them," Hansen-Turton said. "Ultimately to get the kind of cost savings we want for this country … it all starts with having an accessible, affordable and quality primary healthcare service. Retail clinics is one option of several that have been that."
However, some of the preventative and insurance provision measures in the AHCA are expected to boost office visits over retail clinics, such as new features like the creation of high-risk patient pools that wouldn’t be effectively served through retail clinics. "So one could make a case for reduced patient visits to stores," Kalorama noted. "On the other hand, retail clinic visitors have (according to our surveys over the years) trended slightly higher educated, slightly higher employed and slightly higher income. They are seeking to avoid waiting times rather than seeking discounted services."
3,000 clinics? Not even close. Clinic growth stalled in 2016. From 2010 to 2015, the number of retail clinics grew by nearly 70%, to more than 2,000 locations. As of January 2017, the number of retail clinics was unchanged compared from the 2016 figure. See http://www.drugchannels.net/2017/02/retail-clinic-check-up-cvs-retrenches.html
Diplomat acquires WRB communications
FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Pharmacy on Monday announced its latest acquisition. The company has acquired WRB Communications, a Chantilly, Va.-based health care service company that specializes in relationship management programs for pharmaceutical manufacturers and health care service organizations.
WRB will join Envoy Health Management as part of Diplomat’s offering of commercialization support services for manufacturers and biotech firms, among other service companies.
“Here at Diplomat, we are deeply committed to investing in our patients and existing partner relationships,” Diplomat CEO and chairman Phil Hagerman. “This is a strategic acquisition in line with our growth strategy, and the hub services market represents an exciting and growing opportunity for Diplomat. With the increased demand for outsourcing from small and emerging biotech, WRB adds needed capabilities to Diplomat. Continuing to grow our service offerings will engage us earlier in the drug development lifecycle, tying us closer to our manufacturing partners and creating additional sell-in channels at each development stage.”
Diplomat SVP pharma services and marketing Jennifer Cretu said that the hub services market presents an opportunity as the need for hub services grows.
"With the growing need for hub services, we are proud to enhance EnvoyHealth with WRB. Pharmaceutical Commerce magazine recently published its 2017 Hub Services report, which highlights the growing need for hub services by pharma due to the rise of specialty,” Cretu said. “Several of the industry drivers that were mentioned fit our wheelhouse, such as greater emphasis on assisting providers with prior authorizations, developing a comprehensive outcomes dashboard, expanding patient assistance due to increasingly complex treatment protocols, and controlling the cost curve through outcomes utilization."
Diplomat is paying WRB $24.5 million in cash and $4.5 million of Diplomat common stock, with WRB able to earn up to $ 1million more in additional payout from the achievement of EBITDA-based targets in the 12-month periods ending in May 2018 and 2019.
"Both WRB and Diplomat are born from an entrepreneurial spirit and share a common culture and focus," WRB president Ron Abel said. "Diplomat will connect WRB with the resources it needs to continue its growth and expand its services. Diplomat has many relationships with pharmaceutical manufacturers, payors, and providers that can benefit from WRB's customer relationship management services."
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FDA approves Novartis breast cancer treatment
EAST HANOVER, N.J. — Novartis announced that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the Kisqali Femara Co-Pack (ribociclib tablets; letrozole tablets) for the treatment of hormone receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer in postmenopausal women. According to Novartis, the Kisqali Femara Co-Pack is the first, and only currently available, combination pack with two prescription products in advanced breast cancer.
With this FDA approval, physicians in the United States now have the flexibility to prescribe Kisqali two different ways: via the new Co-Pack or as two separate prescriptions of Kisqali and any aromatase inhibitor.
"As we strive to keep the patient at the center of every decision that we make at Novartis, we are pleased that collaborating closely with the FDA has resulted in our being able to offer this unique combination pack of two prescription cancer medicines," said Bill Hinshaw, EVP and head, US, Novartis Oncology. "Providing physicians a convenient one package prescribing option for their patients underscores our commitment to deliver innovative treatment solutions to the metastatic breast cancer community."
The packaging of the Kisqali Femara Co-Pack allows patients the convenience of obtaining a full 28-day cycle of the two medicines in one package with one prescription and one co-pay. The Kisqali Femara Co-Pack is available at the same cost as Kisqali alone.
The Kisqali Femara Co-Pack is available in three dosage strengths: Kisqali 600 mg plus Femara 2.5 mg, Kisqali 400 mg plus Femara 2.5 mg, and Kisqali 200 mg plus Femara 2.5 mg.
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