Magazine article Drug Topics

Consultants Give Their Take on Managed Care Pharmacy

Magazine article Drug Topics

Consultants Give Their Take on Managed Care Pharmacy

Article excerpt

Offering a potpourri of facts as diverse as the health-care system, two pollsters gave attendees at the annual convention of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PMCA, formerly the American Managed Care Pharmacy Association) plenty to ponder.

According to Joy Scott, CEO of ScottLevin Associates Inc., a market research and consulting firm in Newton, Pa., and Douglas Long, field service v.p. of IMS America, a consulting firm in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.:

Physicians and managed care pharmacy directors like OTC drugs, and payers are increasingly covering the products.

*Direct-to-consumer advertising generates prescriptions because most physicians will acquiesce to a patient's request for a specific drug.

*Managed care pharmacy directors think drug company representatives should have more specialized skills. They think disease management programs from drug companies can provide an important service if their programs are unbiased and the firms align themselves, as some have, with prestigious medical schools, foundations, or clinical research organizations.

*The managed care industry will face new regulatory restrictions and unabated suspicion from varied sources, such as businesses and physicians, but the industry's growth is inevitable.

Long also reported the following:

*Research shows managed pharmaceutical care will save 28%-52% over an unmanaged pharmacy benefit. The lowest estimate, 28%, is almost double the highest estimated saving for any other cost-saving plan, such as therapeutic substitution or a retail pharmacy network with automated claims adjudication.

*After years of steady decline, mid-1996 saw the number of new prescriptions, dispensed as written, leveling off at the 1995 total, which was 50.6% of all Rxs.

*Different types of providers continue to fill approximately the same percentage of total Rxs as last year. But Rx dollar intake has surged for mail-order pharmacies (23.2% increase), clinics (19.4%), long-term care (15.4%), mass-merchandisers (12.8%), and chain drugstores (12.2%). Other categories registered single-digit increases, except staff model HMOs, which had a 0.4% decrease.

*By midyear, the top money-generating Rxs in retail pharmacies were, in decreasing order, Zantac, Prozac, Prilosec, Procardia XL, and Zoloft. …

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