Data-Driven Insights

Looking to 2019 from the Life Sciences Trade and Channel Strategic Conference

December 12, 2018   |   Gary Palgon

While it’s mid-December and many people are winding down at work for the holidays, it was a packed room at the CBI Life Sciences Trade and Channel Strategies Conference this week.

Adam Fein of Drug Channels kicked off the first keynote and presented, “Drug Channels Outlook: Things to Watch in 2019.” The topics he covered were also many of the topics discussed in much greater detail in the sessions and workshops that made up the remainder of the conference. 

Trade and Channel Strategies Conference

Drug Channels President & CEO Adam Fein delivers the opening keynote at the 14th annual Life Sciences Trade and Channel Conference on Tuesday, December 12th in Philadelphia, Pa.

 Here are some highlights of Adam’s opening keynote:

  • The Gross-to-Net Bubble vs. Channel Compensation: While drug prices have increased, in most cases pharmaceutical manufacturers are actually making less compared with prior years after factoring in discounts and rebates. The share taken in by the channels is increasing.  
  • A World without Rebates: The rebates offered to sick patients actually subsidize healthy patients as rebates have been used to lower overall insurance premiums.
  • Confronting Provider-Owned Specialty Pharmacies: Hospitals and physicians have become Specialty Pharmacies, a huge pivot from prior years, in order to make money on specialty drugs.
  • Buy-and-Bill Revamp: The hospital market has been getting into the “flow of money” by buying up independent physician practices and routing their prescriptions through the hospital’s 340b program. This is basically “legalized money laundering,” Adam says.
  • Vertical Integration + Channel Alliances: Simply said, the relationships between providers, payers, and many middle-men is very complex with lots of nepotism and many unknowns around why some of the relationships exist and/or how to make change among them.
  • Amazon: Everyone is afraid of what Amazon might do to the drug supply chain. In an analysis of the actual market opportunity, Adam says that Amazon can change things but it won’t be able to rule the world: it has to react to the drug channel rather than define it. (During the conference, this was the one item that other speakers often disagreed on with Adam.)

The lineup of speakers was fantastic and day two culminated with a series of Master Classes on a variety of relevant topics and a Specialty Product Data Strategies Summit — including a session by our own IntegriChain Co-Founder and SVP Josh Halpern on “Opportunities for Data-Driven Patient Services” —  allowing attendees to listen in on the sessions most important to their specific companies and roles.

What do you think is in store for 2019 around these topics?

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