Express Scripts presses for more drug savings with coverage list - (CNBC via NewsPoints Desk)

  • As reported by CNBC, US drug-benefit manager Express Scripts is adopting a tougher stance in price negotiations with drug companies after winning discounts on medications with a strategy introduced last year.
  • Express Scripts negotiated a lower price for AbbVie's newly approved hepatitis C treatment and, in most cases, will exclude coverage for rival therapies by Gilead Sciences. Industry observers suggested the move was a sign other companies, including Amgen and Biogen Idec, could face greater US pricing pressure, while drugmakers without potentially transformative new products, such as Shire, Novo Nordisk and Theravance, may also be vulnerable.
  • The influx of generics "allowed the system to actually see drug price deflation," said Asher Anolic of Fidelity's Select Pharmaceuticals Portfolio. "At the same time, others are launching innovative new drugs…Based on those dynamics I get more concerned. Where is the give in the system? It's on the legacy products."
  • Nils Behnke, a partner at consulting firm Bain & Co., remarked that "when you look at the industry as a whole, we will probably see less profitability," adding that "mid-sized companies with a broader portfolio of little products, 'me-too' products, they will have a hard time."
  • Express Scripts will further expand the number of medicines it will not cover for 2016, including treatments for diabetes, pulmonary hypertension and arthritis, Chief Medical Officer Steve Miller recently said. He added that the drug-benefit manager could in some cases drop coverage for newer biotechnology drugs.
  • Meanwhile, CVS Health has said it will exclude 95 prescription products from its reimbursement list next year, up from 72 in 2014, estimating the practice will save its plan sponsors over $3.5 billion between 2012 and 2015.

To read more NewsPoints articles, click here.