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Armada Health Care hosts successful Annual Specialty Pharmacy Summit

BY Michael Johnsen

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — On May 5 to 9, Armada Health Care hosted its 10th Annual Specialty Pharmacy Summit at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s event gathered another record number of attendees, including more than 3,000 industry stakeholders, according to the association. Participants comprised specialty pharmacy owners, pharmacy directors and executives from specialty pharmacies and pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers. 

Also in attendance were drug wholesalers, payers and PBMs, consultants in the health care sector, and other related technology and industry vendors. 

"The Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit is one of the few venues that brings together key stakeholders from various industries: specialty pharmacy, the pharmaceutical industry, and the payer industry," commented Albert Thigpen, SVP Catamaran. "The meeting provides us with an opportunity to express our needs and align the incentives across all of the key stakeholders in a very candid, objective way. We cover everything from reimbursement to patient services to supply chain logistics to product launch criteria."

This year’s featured topics revolved around drug pricing, provider services and access, and also included many discussions about new hepatitis C drugs and 340B practices. Another hot topic discussed at the meeting was biosimilars. It has been estimated by various sources that $20 billion in product will lose patent over the next four years, and assuming a developed U.S. market, IMS predicts the global oncology biosimilar market will be worth approximately $12 billion by the year 2020.

During his State of the Industry presentation, Jim Robinson, president, Astellas Pharma US, petitioned attendees to continue working together as patients face new challenges in the evolving health care landscape. "We should be proud of the significant accomplishments that the pharma and biotech companies have made over the years, working in partnership with specialty pharmacies, managed care organizations and providers, but we still have a great deal of work to do, especially regarding reimbursement and improving customer experiences," Robinson noted.

Other speakers throughout the week challenged audience members to think about access and control when bringing a specialty drug to market and to consider the number of specialty pharmacy providers to use in this endeavor. They noted that brand teams should consider optimization of the right channel for a medication and plan the appropriate fulfillment approach early, as soon as the product launches.

The 11th Annual Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit & Expo will return to Wynn Las Vegas and Encore May 4 to 8, 2015.

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HDS named Concur App Center “Partner of the Year”

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVINE, Calif. — Healthcare Data Solutions on Thursday announced that they were named Concur App Center “Partner of the Year” for the second consecutive year. In 2012, HDS and Concur, a provider of spend management services, formed a partnership to deliver real-time access to HDS for Concur expense clients. The resulting cloud-based application, HDSverify for Concur Connect, allows Concur users to locate and verify healthcare provider information for spend tracking and Sunshine Act reporting. 

In an effort to increase transparency of the financial interactions between physicians and healthcare vendors, the Open Payments/Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires manufacturers of drugs, medical devices and biologicals that participate in U.S. federal healthcare programs to report certain payments and items of value given to physicians and teaching hospitals. Healthcare Data Solutions’ Concur Connect service enables users to perform expense report searches for NPI, taxonomy, state license and address data in real time.

“Healthcare Data Solutions has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to our partnership, delivering a critical app that enables Sunshine Act compliance and spend reporting for our clients across health systems, life sciences and hospitals,” stated Jigish Avalani, SVP and general manager of Platform Services at Concur. “We are pleased to recognize and award HDS for their outstanding achievements and dedication to serving our client’s compliance needs.” 

 

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NYT: Inversion becoming a hot topic among Fortune 500 companies

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — With Pfizer’s targeted takeover of AstraZeneca, there’s been much talk about inversion, or the practice of re-domiciling a company’s headquarters to another country in an effort to save on corporate taxes. It’s a hot topic among Fortune 500 companies, The New York Times noted earlier this week, reporting that at least 17 companies have reached out to their banks to explore possible inversion-inspired acquisitions. 

The talk has extended to the Walgreens/Alliance Boots deal — beginning in February 2015 Walgreens will have six months to decide whether or not to acquire Alliance Boots outright — though Walgreens has not given any indication that it’s considering an inversion. 

During the company’s last conference call on March 25, president and CEO Greg Wasson suggested that a Walgreens inversion was not up for consideration. "We have no plans to … do an inversion or re-domicile the company," he told analysts. "What we are focused on frankly is [making] sure that we put our board and our shareholders into position to make the right decision on step two."

"We regularly meet with our investors and always welcome their input," Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin shared with DSN. "Over the past year, we have made significant progress in our strategic partnership with Alliance Boots as we move toward the window for exercising the second step of our transaction. Our focus is always on analyzing and doing what is in the best long-term interest of our company and its shareholders, and when we have something more definitive to announce about our future structure and strategies, we will do so."

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