From opportunities to create new antibiotics to opportunities to add revenue from existing medications, pharmaceutical manufacturers should look to these eight new industry developments for guidance on how to create more value for their patients and businesses.


Clinical Trials


New antibiotics needed for “12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health”

That urgent call for new drug research and development was issued by the World Health Organization as part of WHO’s “efforts to address growing resistance to antimicrobial medicines.” In a news release, WHO divided the 12 families of bacteria into three groups based on the level of urgency for new medications—critical, high and medium. In the most urgent category—critical—are “multidrug resistant bacteria that pose a particular threat in hospitals and nursing homes and among patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters.”

76% of drug manufacturers use adaptive design in their clinical trials

That’s according to a report on pharmaceutical manufacturers from Cutting Edge Information, a Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based market research firm. Adaptive design clinical trials are clinical trials that make adjustments concurrently based on patient observations rather than waiting until the end of the trials to make adjustments. In the report, Cutting Edge said 82 percent of drug manufacturers also use non-adaptive clinical trials.


Drug Spending


Total annual spending on prescription drugs projected to hit $597.1 billion by 2025

Increases in national spending on prescription drugs will average 6.4 percent per year over the next eight years and reach $597.1 billion in 2025. That’s according to the latest national health expenditure projections released by actuaries from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. By comparison, total national health expenditures will climb at an average annual rate of 5.8 percent through 2025. The CMS said the faster pace of drug spending is “influenced by higher spending on expensive specialty drugs.”

$250 billion in U.S. pharmaceutical revenue lost to medication nonadherence

That’s according to a report released by Capgemini and HealthPrize. In the report, the firms estimated the potential pharmaceutical revenue in the U.S. at $675 billion for 2015. But, $250 billion of that potential was lost because of medication nonadherence, dropping actual revenue to $425 billion. Worldwide, $637 billion was lost in potential pharmaceutical revenue because of nonadherence, the report said.


Drug Supply Chain


58% of gross drug expenditures make their way back to drug manufacturers

That’s according to a report prepared by the Berkeley Research Group. In the report, the firm looked at how much gross and net spending on drugs is realized by drug manufacturers after other stakeholders take their cut. The report said 58 percent of drug spending in 2015 accrued to pharmaceutical manufacturers—39 percent to brand manufacturers and 19 percent to generic manufacturers. The rest was split among supply chain entities (22 percent), rebates and discounts to payers and patients (17 percent) and other retrospective rebates and fees (3 percent). Net drug expenditure realization by drug manufacturers was higher at 70 percent—47 percent for brand manufacturers and 23 percent for generic manufacturers.

94% of U.S. drug sales pass through pharmaceutical distributors

That’s according to a report from the Healthcare Distribution Alliance Research Foundation. In the report, the group said $407 billion in total pharmaceutical sales flowed through pharmaceutical distributors in 2015, representing nearly 94 percent of all U.S. drug sales that year. The report said distributors purchased pharmaceutical products from more than 1,200 manufacturers or suppliers with an average inventory of approximately 52,000 stock keeping units (SKUs). The distributors’ largest customer segment was drug store chains, which represented 42.5 percent of 2015 sales.


Specialty Drugs


74% of employers adopting aggressive utilization management protocols for specialty medications

That’s according to the Large Employers’ 2017 Health Plan Design Survey from the National Business Group on Health. Other tactics being used by employers to ensure the proper use of specialty drugs by employees include: requiring specialty medications to be obtained through a specialty pharmacy (69 percent); adding a specific drug benefit tier for specialty medications (38 percent); offering personal specialty drug case management or coaching services (35 percent); requiring prior authorization for specialty medications (35 percent); and requiring specialty drugs to be administered in appropriate settings (30 percent).

32% of employers offer health plans that include four or more drug benefit tiers

Nearly one-third of all employers offered workers health plans in 2016 that included four or more cost-sharing tiers for prescription drugs, according to the latest employer health benefits report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Education Trust. In the 2016 Employer Health Benefits Survey, the organizations said the percentage of employers offering health plans with four or more tiers with escalating co-payments is more than double of what it was in 2012, when only 14 percent of employers had such plans. Most fourth-tier drugs are higher priced specialty drugs with an average employee co-payment of $102 per prescription last year.

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McKesson editorial staff is committed to offering innovative approaches and insights so that our customers can get the most out of the health care solutions they have and identify areas for operational improvement, revenue growth and improved patient satisfaction. If you have a suggestion for a blog topic you’d like to see covered, let us know in the comments.