A few weeks ago, Novo Nordisk said it had lost Express Scripts' business on two of its top drugs, Victoza and NovoLog. Well, that was just part of the action at the pharmacy benefits manager. More than 40 other drugs, including some of Big Pharma's newest growth prospects, got the same treatment. And ironically, drugmakers may have their own marketing techniques to blame.
Bracket, the pharma contracting arm of Express Scripts, is now the property of Parthenon Capital Partners, the latest private equity takeover in a fast-consolidating industry.
Drugmakers know that specialty products are where it's at these days. A recent IMS Institute report showed the U.S. drug market shrinking for the first time last year. But spending on specialty drugs posted double-digit increases. Almost 20%, according to a recent Express Scripts report, in fact.
For the past 20 years Express Scripts has been crunching the numbers on the ever rising amount of money Americans spend on drugs. But last year, the analysts say, the country hit a critical watershed as the amount spent on traditional drugs--the pills used for a host of common maladies--slid a bit while specialty drug spending surged 18.4% on the arrival of complex new therapeutics which have captured the attention of drug developers around the globe.
In the evolving drug payer world, pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) are commanding a bigger role. Now drug companies have a new and interesting PBM with which to contend--Costco.
Qsymia from Vivus ($VVUS) is all about losing weight and getting smaller, but the Bay Area drugmaker has decided to significantly expand its own waistline.
Perrigo has further solidified its position in topical dermatology drugs, one of the areas in which prices have been escalating of late.
Vivus' weight-loss drug Qsymia, which has suffered from lagging uptake, has gotten a boost by pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, which will now pay for the drug.
While drugmakers are concerned about how governments around the world are scaling back on drug spending, they can still take heart from the good old U.S. of A.
While drugmakers worry about drug spending cuts around the world, they can still take heart from the good old U.S. of A. Companies raised branded drug prices by 13.3%, but it was the cost of specialty meds, such as new hepatitis C drugs, that saw the steepest climb.