Farewell and Thank You!

It has been a memorable week. The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy wishes to thank the moderators, presenters, exhibitors, volunteers, and all the attendees at Nexus 2014. You are truly the ones making a difference in better health care for so many. We are honored by your contributions to this event.

AMCP would also like to thank the sponsors of the AMCP Nexus 2014 conference. We could not create a world-class learning event like Nexus without their generous support.

Platinum Sponsors

  • AbbVie
  • Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Gold Sponsor

  • Fresenius Medical Care

Silver Sponsors

  • Gilead Sciences, Inc.
  • MedImpact

Bronze Sponsors

  • Lilly USA, LLC
  • Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.
  • Veridicus Health

General Sponsors

  • Boehringer Ingelheim
  • First Report®-Managed Care
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Magellan Rx Management
  • Managed Health Care Associates, Inc.
  • Policy Reporter

We hope to see you all again April 7-10, in San Diego, California, for AMCP’s  27th Annual  Meeting and Expo. Registration will open January 13, 2015. And again at Nexus 2015 in sunny Orlando, Florida, next October 26-29. Until we meet again, safe travels!

Quick Notes from Friday’s Pipeline Two Sessions

Specialty pharmaceuticals in development and trends discussed in the final session:

  • Increased competition
  • Orphan drug development  - 35% of specialty drugs in the pipeline are orphan drugs
  • Breakthrough therapies - 221 requests , of which 63 were granted, 6 drugs approved to date this year

This year, we have seen 19 specialty drugs approved - could see 10 more before the year ends.  70% of approvals are orphan drugs, 3  are new breakthrough drugs.

Preparing for Biosimilars in the U.S.: What are the Prevailing Controversies?

In a Friday morning session, Aaron Kesselheim, a leading policy researcher on medication policy in the United States, presented the challenges and opportunities for biosimilars. Kesselheim explained that several policy perspectives questioning the safety and efficacy of biosimilars are the same as those raised by critics to the introduction of generics in the 1970s, which generally were unfounded and the U.S. currently has a robust market with safe, effective, and lower-cost generics. He cautioned that all biologics—including the innovator reference product and biosimilars—could have differences in immunogenicity and other complications because of the manufacturing and handling processes. This, however, should not be a barrier to the approval and introduction of biosimilars to the market. To ensure that safe and effective biosimilars reach the market, the Food and Drug Administration needs to be properly funded and have adequate staff with the appropriate background and training to review and approve these agents. Another potential barrier to biosimilars is stringent substitution requirements for interchangeable biosimilars. These laws are premature and could result in less market access of biosimilars as suggested by a review of states with restrictive generic substitution requirements. 
Overall, unanswered questions remain in regard to biosimilar approval and uptake, even when approved, but efforts should continue to ensure approval and adoption.

The AMCP Foundation’s Fenway Park event was truly memorable.  More than 100 Nexus 2015 attendees enjoyed barkpark franks, peanuts and Cracker Jacks at historic Fenway Park last night.  The full moon on this clear, beautiful fall evening illuminated what must be one of baseball’s best views of a ball field—from the owner’s suite behind home plate at Fenway.  Dozens also took a swing for managed care pharmacy research in the batting cage below. After 9 innings, a homer and a triple, three singles, more than a few SOs, and many sore backs.  All for a good cause, though. The Foundation looks forward to a repeat fun event in San Diego—stay tuned!

The AMCP Foundation’s Fenway Park event was truly memorable.  More than 100 Nexus 2015 attendees enjoyed barkpark franks, peanuts and Cracker Jacks at historic Fenway Park last night.  The full moon on this clear, beautiful fall evening illuminated what must be one of baseball’s best views of a ball field—from the owner’s suite behind home plate at Fenway.  Dozens also took a swing for managed care pharmacy research in the batting cage below. After 9 innings, a homer and a triple, three singles, more than a few SOs, and many sore backs.  All for a good cause, though. The Foundation looks forward to a repeat fun event in San Diego—stay tuned!

The New Marketplace: Public and Private Exchanges Shaping a New Pharmacy Benefit and Management Paradigm

Moderator David Nau introduced presenter Joel Owerbach, who delivered a forecast for the changing healthcare environment. He explained how the private exchange and commercial employer-based programs will evolve with their pharmacy programs in future years as the forces of the changes happening in 2014 are realized.

It’s the Last Day at Nexus 2014

Attendees are gathering for the final sessions of Nexus 2014, but there is still more to come on the blog. Meanwhile, scroll down for a look at what’s been going on in Boston.

Looking for the Perfect Managed Care Residency Program!

Student pharmacists converged in AMCP’s Managed Care Residency Forum Thursday evening to learn more about the different managed care residencies available.   Over 40 programs from around the country exhibited.

More Session Highlights!!!

Pharmacy Compounding:  The Managed Care Perspective

Compounded prescriptions are an important component of health care for many people who need special doses or dosage forms of medications. Recent issues related to tainted products  and skyrocketing costs of compounded products create challenges for coverage and payment by health plans. Panelists at a session provided perspectives on how managed care handles compounded medications. Totally eliminating coverage of compounded products does not solve the issue and therefore plans should devise smart strategies, including prior authorization, ensuring appropriate ingredients, and verification of the pharmacy.  The handout provides a great overview of strategies to approach the issues. AMCP will also offer members additional education in this area through webinars in the near future.

Adherence:  Improving Patient Outcomes

Over 200 attendees learned practical grassroots solutions for tackling the problem on non-adherence, including the superhero TAD (“Take as Directed”) campaign and media coverage.  The session also analyzed the data challenges for patient adherence and how to evaluate them with clear and simple reports.  Other solutions described were education, pharmacy outreach and technology.

AMCP Nexus attendees - remember you can download the handouts for any sessions you missed at www.amcpmeetings.org!   You will be asked for your meeting registration ID to verify attendance.

Today at Nexus has been busy!!   Starting with the New Member/First Timer Breakfast and moving to more educational sessions, the Exchange and, of course, more networking!!!  Tonight - the AMCP Foundation Fenway fundraiser!!

Measuring the Value of Medication Therapy Management

A panel of MTM experts from plans, PBMs, and MTM providers discussed the value of medication therapy interventions. The panel showed that the use of analytics and clinical presentation help to identify members and patients who could benefit from interventions. Many of the successful interventions occur through medication reconciliation and transitions of care to reduce hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations. AMCP members need to tell CMS about the types of interventions, outcomes, and return on investment from MTM by November 3. Submit comments to the request through a link on the AMCP home page, www.amcp.org.

Impact of New Guidelines on Managing Cholesterol

This session included a thorough review of the new cholesterol guidelines and mentioned new and emerging therapies for managing high cholesterol. Attendees thought that this session helped to explain what the changes are and better understand treatment goals for patients with high cholesterol.  With two different guidelines currently available, the session also helped attendees understand how to handle the guidelines and implement into clinical practice. 

Assessing the Value of Cancer Care

Moderator Edward Li introduced presenter Therese Mulvey, who took the audience through some of the factors affecting the care and treatment of patients with cancer. Costs to treat cancer are growing at 15% a year and the costs of individual drugs are creating difficult situations for patients and oncologists alike. Dr. Mulvey outlined the particular rise of expenses over the last six months of life in terminal cancer patients, costs that can run as much as $10,000 a month. Payers, health policy experts, and government are other stakeholders in the growing problem of the high cost of treatment vs. appropriate measures for end-of-life care. What is value? Many treatments are so toxic as to greatly impair the quality of life, but benefits are personal to the patient. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has been focusing on giving patients more of a voice in treatment decision-making. Dr. Mulvey encouraged attendees to work to create pathways that reduce variability, while still allowing some patient flexibility in making decisions about care.

Are You Tweeting?

For those of you who follow us on Twitter, our exciting Nexus Twitter Challenges are on! Be the first to tweet us @amcporg #Nexus2014 when you answer one of our challenges and you could win one of our Nexus Twitter Challenge prizes. If you’re not already following us on Twitter, get on board. Our next winner could be you!

Thursday at Nexus 2014 Begins

The halls of the Hynes Convention Center are silent, awaiting more than 2,200 attendees as Thursday’s sessions are ready to go. Check back for updates and scroll down for a taste of what’s happened so far.image

Innovation Interchange: The Nexus General Session with Health Care Futurist Joe Flower

An American colonial fife-and-drum band set the tone of the session with a spirited national anthem. AMCP President Dana McCormick recognized Platinum Sponsors Bonnie Shaul of AbbVie and Larry Labagnara of Sunovian for their support of AMCP educational programming. Vaishali Patel of Allergan introduced the AMCP Foundation Allergan interns, recognizing them for their work in a variety of professional settings and specific projects. John Main of Pfizer introduced the AMCP Foundation Pfizer Interns and acknowledged their dedicated work that bridged the gap between classroom learning and real-world experience in managed care pharmacy. President McCormick also thanked Genentech, Amgen, and Dymaxium for their sponsorship of the 14th Annual National Pharmacy and Therapeutics Competition, won by the team from the University of California, San Francisco.

Sponsor Jason Twombly of MedImpact HealthCare Systems introduced general session speaker Joe Flower, who asked everyone to bump elbows (as opposed to shaking hands) in anticipation of flu season. We live in a time when health care is destined to affect all of our lives and we have the opportunity to make health care better and cheaper over the next few years. He noted that health care in the United States has always been somewhat more expensive than the rest of the world, but in 1983 there was an effort to reduce costs, which had the unintended consequence of inflating them.  He revealed that the most expensive place to die in the U.S. is a hospital in Los Angeles, California, and the least expensive is the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota—health care pricing is heavily influenced by locality.  Flower also outlined what he presented as unnecessary procedures, tests, and screenings that pad health care costs by staggering amounts. If we begin to pay for things differently, prices could collapse to levels seen in the rest of the world. Industries can change in a decade and the health care industry is no different. Example: Could we change the way we pay for new drugs? What if we thought of pharmaceuticals as a part of the national infrastructure, as critical to the nation’s functioning as solid roads and bridges? The old business model is code-driven, fee-for-service. Doctors do not get paid for healing, they get paid for visits and treatments. Pay for wellness and prevention. Utilize technology to manage patient interaction, including examples of how wireless phone technology is revolutionizing medical screenings. Flower concluded with a call to action to reform health care from the inside.