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HDMA report explores biosimilar marketplace potential in the U.S.

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — A new study published Thursday by the Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research (HDMA’s nonprofit research foundation) — Biosimilars: Lessons from Europe and Strategies for the U.S. — identifies factors, based on an analysis of European models, that may affect the American launch of biosimilars and their marketplace potential in the United States.
 
“In a little more than five years, about $55 billion of the U.S.’s original biologics will lose exclusivity,” said Karen Ribler, EVP and COO of the Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research. “As the U.S. market awaits FDA guidance on biosimilars, it is useful to look at Europe for a road map of how these products can be adopted in the U.S.”
 
By reviewing the European experience, the publication found that the commercialization and adoption of biosimilars varied throughout five countries — including France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Romania — but the amount of regulation in place and stakeholder alignment both tended to shape the overall uptake of these products. Among the factors found to drive European biosimilar adoption: 
 
  • A minimum threshold of physician acceptance, which is linked to their understanding of the category, is necessary for prescribing biosimilar medications. This behavior varies by country, disease state and type of treatment;
  • Substitutability does accelerate adoption in markets where it exists, but market players are able to achieve high adoption of biosimilar use even where substitutability is not an option;
  • Payers influence uptake in adoption through aggressive use of various tactics like utilization quotas;
  • Commercial support, including sales force and patient services, is often necessary to obtain biosimilar uptake;
  • More entrants, while increasing competitive intensity and price pressures, also typically result in higher publicity, which boosts market penetration; and
  • Biobetters may limit biosimilar uptake when they offer better convenience, lower cost or an enhanced drug profile in terms of safety or efficacy.
The report then applies the lessons learned from Europe to the U.S. healthcare environment, taking into account stakeholder influence, payer structure and marketplace dynamics. With many determinants for biosimilars being unknown, the report offers a discussion based on the present, as well as scenarios for possible commercialization. Areas discussed include: interchangeability, substitutability, the use of international data, naming conventions and stakeholder influence.
 
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Walgreens expresses support of diversity in series of YouTube videos

BY Michael Johnsen

 
 
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday released a series of YouTube videos explaining facets of the chain's operations — healthcare, omnichannel retailing and store operations — and how each of those areas support diverse communities. 
 
"Walgreens is meeting the critical needs of healthcare access by doing two things from a service or needs perspective," said Jeff Kang, Walgreens SVP health and wellness. The first is helping the uninsured get health insurance on the Health Exchange. And second, Walgreens provides convenient access to basic primary care services in its stores. But more important, Walgreens provider base of pharmacists and practitioners is culturally diverse. "That's really the power of Walgreens," Kang added. "Through our stores we actually mirror the communities we're serving, speak their language, reflect their race and cultures, and that's really what makes us very effective in meeting the critical needs of healthcare access in this country."
 
 

 
Sona Chawla, president, digital and chief marketing officer for Walgreens, explained how Walgreens serves a diverse customer base utilizing deep customer insights. "Our customer insights help us understand how … customer behavior is evolving," she said. "We're able to do what Charles Walgreen envisioned all the way back in 1901, provide that kind of unique and distinct customer care [and] we're able to scale that across our 8,000-plus locations and all of our different channels."
 
 

 
"Walgreens supports economic development in many of America's diverse communities," said Mark Wagner, president, operations and community management for Walgreens, on the company's commitment to supplier diversity and economic development. Walgreens does that in a number of ways, Wagner said, including the hiring of a diverse community to both build and staff its stores, as well as buying goods and services from minority-owned and woman-owned companies. "There's no other retailer that has the reach into the diverse communities across America like Walgreens, so when we say we can move the needle, we can move it in a big way."
 
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Apple Pay to go live Oct. 20

BY Michael Johnsen

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple announced Thursday that customers can start making payments with the touch of a finger on Monday, Oct. 20 when Apple Pay becomes available in the United States at retailers including Walgreens. 
 
“Our team has worked incredibly hard to make Apple Pay private and secure, with the simplicity of a single touch of your finger,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP internet software and services. “The reaction to Apple Pay has been amazing. We continue to add more Apple Pay ready banks, credit card companies and merchants, and think our users will love paying with Apple Pay.”
 
“We are very proud to be able to offer this to our customers as soon as it goes live on Oct. 20,” said Jo Natale, Wegmans' director of media relations.  “Apple Pay is easy to use and secure — two things that we know are very important to our customers.” 
 
Apple Pay supports credit and debit cards from the three major payment networks — American Express, MasterCard and Visa — issued by the top U.S. banks which make up 83% of the credit card purchase volume in the United States.
 
In addition to the 262 Apple retail stores in the United States, availability from leading retailers at launch include: Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Babies”R”Us, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, Chevron and Texaco retail stores including ExtraMile, Disney Store, Duane Reade, Footaction, Foot Locker, House of Hoops by Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Nike, Office Depot, Panera Bread, Petco, RadioShack, RUN by Foot Locker, SIX:02, Sports Authority, SUBWAY, Toys”R”Us, Unleashed by Petco, Walgreens, Wegmans and Whole Foods Market. In addition, many other retailers will add support this year, such as Anthropologie, Free People, Sephora, Staples, Urban Outfitters, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
 
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