CVS Caremark’s ‘Specialty Connect’ speaks to opportunities within fast-growing specialty market
CVS Caremark has officially taken the wraps off of its new Specialty Connect prescription services program and announced that the program is now available at all CVS/pharmacy locations. The importance of this new program is two-fold.
First of all, it serves as yet one more example of how the company is leveraging its unique assets to improve outcomes. By leveraging its network of 7,600 pharmacy locations and its specialty pharmacy resources, CVS Caremark is able to offer specialty patients greater flexibility and choice. This, in turn, equates to improved medication adherence.
Secondly, the program speaks to the opportunities that exist within the rapidly growing specialty market. The number of specialty products has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. It has been estimated that the market will grow to $235 billion in 2018, a 17% compound annual growth rate. At that point, the specialty pharmacy business will represent about 50% of the total drug spend. Meanwhile, drug prices have accelerated.
For CVS Caremark, specialty has become the No. 1 area of focus in pharmacy for its payer customers.
“With specialty expenditures growing some 15% to 20% annually, our payers are increasingly focused on controlling the specialty trend. And with about 50% of the specialty spend expected to flow through the medical benefit by 2018, our payers are increasingly looking to their PBM to help manage this portion of spend as well, which they could all agree, historically has been largely unmanaged,” CVS Caremark president and CEO Larry Merlo told analysts during the company’s Analyst Day in December.
Merlo added that CVS Caremark has more than 20% share of the specialty market, with more than $20 million in specialty revenues, either filled or managed across its enterprise.
But it should be noted that CVS Caremark isn’t the only pharmacy retailer placing a greater emphasis on specialty.
On Thursday, Fred’s Super Dollar CEO Bruce Efird said that during the first quarter, its “EIRIS Health Services, Fred’s specialty pharmacy division, added several new team members and experienced solid script and sales growth, as we continue to accelerate our penetration of this fast-expanding segment of the pharmacy industry.”
Also during the week, the American Associated Pharmacies, a member-owned national cooperative of independent pharmacies, announced that it is launching a specialty pharmacy program through a partnership with Diplomat. Through the partnership, Diplomat’s Retail Specialty Network will provide AAP members with back-end clinical services and care management.
Vitals ranks America’s top cities for access to health care
LYNDHURST, N.J. — What’s the best U.S. city for health care? According to the Vitals Index second annual report on “America’s Top Cities for Access to Health Care,” Cleveland takes the top spot.
America’s Comeback City has the highest per-capita ratio of both hospitals and primary care physicians per resident. Cleveland toppled Boston, which held the top spot in 2013, but moved to No. 5 on the list this year. Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Kansas City made up spots No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
As issues like doctor shortages and rising costs become more burdensome, easy access to quality health care becomes more important to the aging American population. Large metropolises, like Los Angeles, which was ranked No. 46, need more doctors and hospitals in order to keep pace with their population growth, Vitals stated.
“Cities — along with rural areas — need to address the large disparities that exist in accessing care across the nation” stated Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals. “The rise of alternative care facilities, along with more nurse practitioners and the advancement of telemedicine technology all can help bring more affordable quality care options to consumers.”
To create the list of America’s Top Cities for Access to Health Care, Vitals analyzed the number of hospitals and primary care physicians available in each city on a per-capita basis. Patient-reported metrics such as doctor quality, ease of getting an appointment and wait times at appointments were also calculated into the final rankings.
Click here to see the full list of city rankings.
Teva receives favorable court decision regarding generic Celebrex
JERUSALEM — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced on Friday that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia has denied a motion filed by Mylan and issued an opinion and order affirming a decision by the FDA under which Teva should receive sole 180-day “first-to-file” exclusivity for generic Celebrex (celecoxib) 100-, 200- and 400-mg capsules.
On April 17, Teva entered into a settlement agreement with Pfizer related to Teva’s generic version of Celebrex (celecoxib) 50-, 100-, 200- and 400-mg capsules in the United States. Under the terms of the settlement, Teva may launch its generic versions in December 2014, or earlier under certain circumstances.
Teva has received tentative approval from the FDA for all strengths. Sales of Celebrex were $2.2 billion in the U.S. according to IMS data as of December 2013.