PHARMACY

What is your why?

BY Rob Eder

The best part of my job is that I get a lot of chances to learn cool, new stuff.

At the end of May, Drug Store News and Mack Elevation Forum co-hosted the first Future Leaders Summit in Chicago. Unfortunately, my list of key takeaways from the event runs much longer than my word count will take me. Luckily, our in-depth special report appears in this issue.

So for now, I’ll just stick to one dominant theme from that day: Purpose matters.

It was said a lot of different ways by different people throughout the day, but perhaps most simply: What is your why? CVS VP health care George Coleman described it as “connecting to the emotional core” of why you do what you do.

SoapBox CEO and founder Dave Simnick talked about the difference between cause and purpose. “Cause is an afterthought; purpose is intentional,” he said.

Purpose is in the DNA of the (fill in the blank): Company. Brand. Person.

Purpose matters more and more, because people demand it of the brands they buy. According to Edelman’s 2016 Earned Brand Study, which talked to more than 13,000 consumers in 13 different countries, 62% will not buy a brand that fails to meet its societal obligations; 60% believe it should be a part of the brand’s DNA; and 53% believe brands could be doing more.

It shouldn’t be surprising that people — particularly, the next generation of business leaders — are demanding it from the companies they work for, too. The best people will gravitate toward the companies that have defined purpose.

So, what’s your why?

Figure it out. Fast.

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PHARMACY

U.S. Reps. Carter, Collins ask CMS to protect community pharmacies

BY Gina Acosta

WASHINGTON — U.S. Reps. Doug Collins and Buddy Carter sent a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Wednesday asking for a review of Humana’s proposed amendments to its Pharmacy Provider Agreement for the 2017 Part D plan year.

The letter says the amendments will force independent community pharmacies to accept predatory pricing provisions that could severely impact their ability to do business. Collins and Carter, who have been strong advocates for community pharmacies, issued the following statements after sending the letter:

“In many rural parts of the country, including Northeast Georgia, folks may see their pharmacist more often than they see their doctor,” said Congressman Collins. Pharmacists, especially those from independent pharmacies, have an established connection with those they serve in the community, and take great care when advising their patients. Many of these establishments are family-run and have been part of these communities for years.”

“Humana, one of the largest insurance providers in the country, currently has a proposal the would require these small pharmacies to lose $5.00 per prescription, up front, with the hope that they will be reimbursed if they meet certain metrics. However, meeting all of the criteria is not a guarantee that the pharmacy will get reimbursed because there are only spots in the top rankings for a few pharmacies. Under this proposal, a pharmacy could meet most of the CMS benchmarks, provide quality customer care, and still not be reimbursed by Humana. Humana’s criteria has little to do with patient care, and everything to do increasing their profit and driving community pharmacies out of the market. Some of these metrics, including “patient adherence” are beyond the control of the pharmacists. Pharmacies already compete for customers and business, let’s not set a precedent to make them compete for reimbursement by insurance companies as well.”

“Humana is using this proposal to attempt to drive community pharmacies out of the marketplace, to clear the way for big box chain pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS. If this proposal is allowed by CMS and enacted, these community pharmacies will either have to pay huge sums of money with no guarantee they will be able to recover their costs, or become out of network providers, which will increase costs and drive patients away. Improper metrics are being used to determine the future existence of community pharmacies in this situation, and deserve further examination from CMS.”

“As a community pharmacist for more than 30 years, I know firsthand how hard it is for the smaller guys to stay competitive, especially in the face of predatory pricing,” said Congressman Carter. It is unsustainable and unacceptable for one of the largest insurance providers in the country to force small pharmacies to lose money upfront with an uncertainty on whether or not they will even be reimbursed. This proposal would allow Humana to not reimburse pharmacies even if they meet most of the CMS benchmarks.

“I’m a free-market guy. We need to let the free-market work. This proposal does nothing more than infringe on the free-market in pharmacy, increase Humana’s profits and actively work to drive community pharmacies out of the market. If allowed, this proposal will leave community pharmacists with two choices: leave themselves vulnerable to the very real possibility they will not be reimbursed or become an out of network provider which will increase costs for patients. My patients were always like family members and they should have the ability to choose whatever pharmacy is best for them and their health. I strongly urge Acting CMS Administrator Slavitt to reconsider this adverse proposal.”

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Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim agree to asset swap

BY Gina Acosta

PARIS and INGELHEIM, Germany — Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim have agreed to a $25.1 billion asset swap, in which Sanofi will trade its Merial animal-health business for Boehringer’s consumer-health operation.

The agreement marks a major milestone before closing of the transaction, which is expected by year end and remains subject to approval by all regulatory authorities in different territories. The integration of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Consumer Healthcare business into Sanofi and Merial into Boehringer Ingelheim would start after closing.

“This is a win for Boehringer Ingelheim and Sanofi alike. Moreover, it is one of the most significant steps in our corporate history," said Andreas Barner, chairman of the board of Boehringer Ingelheim. "It demonstrates the consistent orientation of our business towards innovation-driven sectors. As a research based pharmaceutical company, we will substantially enhance our position in the future market for Animal Health and will prospectively be one of the largest global players in this segment. The similarity in culture and approaches of BI and Sanofi will ensure that the businesses acquired by the other partner will develop well in the future.”

The swap lays the foundation for both companies to reach size and scale in two highly attractive pharmaceutical activities. Combining Merial and Boehringer Ingelheim’s complementary portfolios and technology platforms in anti-parasitics, vaccines and pharmaceutical specialties would put the combined company into a more competitive position in the key growth segments of the industry and bring more value and innovation to customers globally.

 

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