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Report: Sales of specialty medicines shifting toward hospitals, specialty pharmacies

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — Sales of specialty medicines are shifting toward hospitals and specialty pharmacies and away from independent physician owned-and-operated clinics, according to a report released Tuesday by HDMA’s non-profit research foundation, The Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research. 

According to the report, independent clinics commanded 59% of distributor sales in 2012, down from 66% in 2011. Sales to hospitals and specialty pharmacies, on the other hand, increased by 6% (combined) to comprise an average of 26% of specialty distributors’ sales. 

This may be correlated to an increase in public and private payers’ efforts to control costs in this segment, which further influence the types of distribution models selected by specialty manufacturers (limited vs. exclusive) and providers (Buy and Bill vs. External Delivery), the report noted.   

“As this publication demonstrates, distribution of specialty products is dependent on a range of factors,” said Kirk Kaminsky, SVP operations, McKesson Specialty Health. “As this industry continues to thrive, there will be unique opportunities and challenges involved in delivering these complex products.” 

In its fifth edition, Specialty Pharmaceutical Distribution: Facts, Figures and Trends highlights more than 45 performance metrics for specialty pharmaceutical distributors and reviews a variety of topics related to this fast-growing industry, which now outpaces sales in the traditional pharmaceutical market. Areas analyzed include market characteristics, logistics and operations; specialty trading partners, types of distribution models and payer influence on these models; therapeutic trends in oncology; and future opportunities in biosimilars.

Research is based on primary survey data from specialty distributors; this year, the publication focuses solely on surveyed specialty distributors with more than $1 billion in sales. Secondary research also was compiled from previous Center reports, including “Specialty Pharmacy: Implications of Alternative Distribution Models,” and research from other healthcare organizations. This year’s publication is sponsored by CuraScript SD Specialty Distribution; McKesson Specialty Health, a division of McKesson Corporation; and, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.

According to IMS Health and calculations by the Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research, specialty distributors manage nearly 40% of the approximately $86 billion U.S. market for specialty medications, delivering complex products that are typically developed for populations with chronic or rare diseases, and, among other factors, require special handling, storage and delivery. As reported by surveyed companies, specialty distributors provide efficiencies to the market by offering a range of services to support their trading partners and customers in this segment, including consulting, reimbursement and inventory management services; patient counseling; and recall and third-party logistics services.

While the types of customers served by specialty distributors also are evolving, so are the therapeutic categories of the products they deliver. Oncology products continue to represent the majority of products delivered, at one-third of distributors’ sales. Meanwhile, inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease) also show increased sales, at 21% of distributors’ sales.

Moreover, distributor respondents indicated that oncology, inflammatory conditions and central nervous system disorders (or CNS, such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease) make up the top three therapeutic areas distributors expect to increase in importance in the coming year. CNS (specifically multiple sclerosis) and oncology also are among those products IMS Health predicts to lead the market in the next three years.   

“We have already seen remarkable changes in how manufacturers, distributors, providers and payers collaborate to get these critical medicines to patients,” said Karen Ribler, EVP and COO of the Center for Healthcare Supply Chain Research. “The introduction of new formulations, such as orally administered products and biosimilars, will lead to continued growth and innovation in this sector, with a critical role for specialty distributors to play as delivery models evolve.”

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Rite Aid names seasoned veteran to HR post

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid on Tuesday announced that Dedra Castle is joining Rite Aid as EVP and chief human resources officer. In this position, Castle will be responsible for all aspects of human resources, including training, recruitment, talent management, compensation and benefits, labor relations, leadership development and diversity. She will report to Rite Aid’s chairman and CEO John Standley.

“Dedra is a dynamic, seasoned human resources professional with a proven track record of success,” Standley said. “I am confident she will bring outstanding leadership to our organization of nearly 90,000 Rite Aid associates as we work together to continue to successfully grow our business and achieve long-term success.”

Castle is an accomplished leader with more than 19 years of experience in human resource management. In 2012, Castle became a founding member and managing partner of Castle Partners, a human resources management services firm; and Level Mediation, a multi-state mediation firm.

Before this, Castle worked for the Sam Club’s division of Walmart Stores, where she most recently led the corporate human resources function and was the chief inclusion and diversity officer. While at Sam’s Club, she also served as VP of its people division, where she was responsible for field human resources for the 110,000 associates in nearly 600 Sam’s Clubs nationwide. Prior to Sam’s Club, she held senior human resources positions at Winn-Dixie Stores and Auto Zone Stores. Earlier in her career, she was employed by the Department of Defense, where she managed the civil service employment function for Marine Corps Air Stations El Toro and Miramar in Southern California as each restructured under Base Realignment and Closure.

Castle earned a bachelor of business administration degree from National University in San Diego. She also was awarded a master’s certificate in Advanced Conflict Resolution and Analysis from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She is an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management.

 

 

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VR1 launches homeopathic migraine reliever Ausanil

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — VR1 on Tuesday announced the availability of Ausanil, a new non-prescription homeopathic nasal spray formulated to provide rapid pain relief from severe headaches and migraines with no reported systemic side effects or adverse drug-drug interactions. 

"We are pleased to offer Ausanil as an important new option for severe headache and migraine patients still searching for a treatment that is effective, safe and accessible," said Anjan Chatterjee, VR1 founder. "As a physician who has treated thousands of headache patients, and as a lifelong migraine sufferer myself, I know how frustrating and debilitating it can be when you are unable to function in your daily life because you have to wait so long for your medication to take effect."

Approximately one-third of the 36 million migraine sufferers in the United States are not satisfied with their current treatment regimen, he said. Ausanil was developed to address several of the biggest challenges for millions of sufferers, including inadequate pain relief and side effect limitations.

When used as directed, Ausanil can be taken multiple times per day, alone or with other migraine medications, without reported risk of systemic side effects or drug-drug interactions. Ausanil is non-habit forming and does not contain caffeine, zinc, aspirin or acetaminophen. 

 

 

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