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Angela Maas

Managing Editor, Radar on Specialty Pharmacy

Recent Posts

Perspectives on BioScrip/Option Care Deal

Posted by Angela Maas on May 16, 2019

Two of the country's largest independent infusion services providers recently unveiled that they have entered into a merger agreement. After coming together, BioScrip, Inc. and Option Care Enterprises, Inc. would be the No. 2 home/alternate site infusion provider in the United States, AIS Health reported.

Under the terms of the deal, publicly traded BioScrip would issue new shares to Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC and Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., which are the Option Care shareholders, giving them 80% of BioScrip's stock, with current BioScrip shareholders holding the remaining 20%. The new company would be publicly traded.
 
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Topics: Specialty, Provider

Radar On Market Access: Use of Biologics, Biosimilars Showed Rapid Uptake in 2018

Posted by Angela Maas on May 16, 2019

Almost 5.8 billion prescriptions were dispensed in the United States in 2018, an increase of 2.7% over the previous year, according to the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science’s report Medicine Use and Spending in the U.S.: A Review of 2018 and Outlook to 2023, AIS Health reported.

Retail and mail pharmacies dispensed 127 million specialty prescriptions last year, an increase of 15 million since 2014. In 2018, for the second year in a row, specialty prescription volume grew more than 5% although the medicines accounted for only 2.2% of prescriptions overall. With an increase in the availability of oral and self-injected specialty therapies, these drugs "are increasingly dispensed through retail pharmacies," said Murray Aitken, executive director of the institute, during a May 6 press call.
 
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Topics: Industry Trends, Data & Analytics, Provider, Payer

Radar On Market Access: CBO Says Proposed Rebate Rule Will Cost Government $177B

Posted by Angela Maas on May 14, 2019

When HHS unveiled a proposed rule in late January aimed at eliminating drug rebates in Medicare Part D and Medicaid managed care, the proposal was met with mixed responses. A recently released score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) calls into question whether the administration chooses to move forward with the proposal in its current form, AIS Health reported.

The proposal would do away with the safe harbor protection in the anti-kickback statute for rebates negotiated between manufacturers and PBMs starting Jan. 1, 2020.
 
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Topics: Industry Trends, Data & Analytics, Provider, Payer

Trends That Matter for Colorectal Cancer Medications

Posted by Angela Maas on May 9, 2019

As innovations in digital capabilities continue to be used with various health care products, Proteus Digital Health, Inc. is developing a suite of what it terms digital medicines. And while the company has been working on such products for a few years, it recently came out with the first such product within the oncology space, AIS Health reported.

Proteus is partnering with Fairview Health Services and the University of Minnesota Health to offer oral capecitabine combined with an ingestible sensor to treat stage 3 and stage 4 colorectal cancer patients
 
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Topics: Industry Trends, Data & Analytics

Radar On Market Access: Copay Accumulators’ Use Rises; Virginia Passes Law Banning Such Programs

Posted by Angela Maas on Apr 23, 2019

Payers are continuing to implement copay accumulators and copay maximizers in an effort to counter copay assistance from pharmaceutical manufacturers, according to a recent survey, AIS Health reported.

A Zitter Insights report shows that more than 90 million commercial lives are covered by payers that have a copay accumulator program — and it doesn't look like these arrangements are going away any time soon.
 
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Topics: Industry Trends, Market Access, Provider, Payer

Trends That Matter for Cancer Care

Posted by Angela Maas on Apr 11, 2019

With more targeted and effective therapies launching to treat a variety of cancers, much of the focus has been not only on their efficacy but their costs, particularly to payers. A recent report from the physician perspective highlights their impact as far as cost on not only those stakeholders but also the patients they serve, AIS Health reported.

The Association of Community Cancer Centers released its 2018 Trending Now in Cancer Care Survey in February. Responding to the survey were 205 individuals from community cancer centers, academic centers, teaching hospitals and independent practices.
 
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Topics: Industry Trends, Data & Analytics

Radar On Market Access: BioScrip, Option Care Will Join Forces Within Infusion Market

Posted by Angela Maas on Apr 11, 2019

Two of the country's largest independent infusion services providers recently unveiled that they have entered into a merger agreement. After coming together, BioScrip, Inc. and Option Care Enterprises, Inc. would be the No. 2 home/alternate site infusion provider in the United States, AIS Health reported.

Under the terms of the deal, publicly traded BioScrip would issue new shares to Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC and Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., which are the Option Care shareholders, giving them 80% of BioScrip's stock, with current BioScrip shareholders holding the remaining 20%. The new company would be publicly traded.
 
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Topics: Specialty, Provider, Payer

Radar On Market Access: Drugmakers Are Trying Array of Tactics to Counter Copay Accumulator Programs

Posted by Angela Maas on Apr 9, 2019

As more health plans are implementing copay accumulator programs, manufacturers are struggling to find ways to counter them, AIS Health reported.

Drugmakers may want to "evaluate [their specialty pharmacy] network and consider narrowing it to independent SPs that will accept contracts precluding sharing with payers/PBMs the patients who are participating in your copay offset program," recommends a recent survey report from Zitter Insights.
 
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Topics: Industry Trends, Provider, Payer

Perspectives on the First-Ever Digital Oncology Medicine

Posted by Angela Maas on Apr 4, 2019

As innovations in digital capabilities continue to be used with various health care products, Proteus Digital Health, Inc. is developing a suite of what it terms digital medicines. And while the company has been working on such products for a few years, it recently came out with the first such product within the oncology space, AIS Health reported.

Proteus is partnering with Fairview Health Services and the University of Minnesota Health to offer oral capecitabine combined with an ingestible sensor to treat stage 3 and stage 4 colorectal cancer patients.
 
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Topics: Specialty, Industry Trends, Market Access, Product Release, Data & Analytics

Perspectives on Novel Drug Management in 2019

Posted by Angela Maas on Mar 21, 2019

With the FDA approving multiple novel new therapies over the past couple of years, we should expect to see more of the same moving forward. But that innovation is not cheap, and the pharmaceutical industry likely will continue to offer products at higher price points than ever before, AIS Health reported.

As payers struggle to rein in high specialty drug prices, many have turned to copay accumulator programs, and this trend shows no signs of slowing. "There was an increased focus on copay accumulator programs in 2018," comments Amy Nash, Pharm.D., president of RelianceRx, the specialty pharmacy affiliate of Independent Health. She tells AIS Health she expects to see "further refinement of copay accumulator programs from payers and additional strategies from pharma to prevent them."
 
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Topics: Specialty, Industry Trends, Market Access, Product Release, Data & Analytics