CSI Specialty Pharmacy PodcastThis week, join host and CSI Specialty Group President and CEO Suzette DiMascio, CHE, CMCE, CPC, as she recaps her key takeaways from January’s 37th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference from San Francisco, CA.

Don’t miss this quick overview featuring some of the major trends and announcements from industry leaders, emerging tech companies and private equity/investment firms at one of the year’s most influential healthcare conferences.

Tune in to Discover:

  • Key conference takeaways, challenges and opportunities in the healthcare space
  • The changing role of health systems and where we’re heading
  • The evolving use of data as a strategy to navigate shifts in the industry
  • How the evolution of consumerism is driving affordability and transparency
  • What’s in store for rare and orphan drugs

About CSI Specialty Group

CSI Specialty Group is a globally recognized leadership, strategy and talent consulting firm dedicated to helping clients drive sustainable, accelerated growth while continually elevating the specialty pharmacy industry. By providing inventive specialty pharmacy consulting, workforce planning and talent acquisition solutions, CSI uniquely tailors its service offerings to help clients drive sustainable, accelerated growth. As the provider of the industry’s first, dedicated podcast for specialty pharmacy, CSI is at the forefront of pioneering innovative concepts to meet the changing needs of specialty pharmacy, home infusion, mail order/PBM, health systems and pharma/biotech clients across the USA and throughout Europe.

Transcript Notes:

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Specialty Pharmacy Podcast: your prescription for specialty pharmacy success. Now here’s your host, globally recognized industry leader and CEO of CSI Specialty Group, Suzette DiMascio.

Suzette: Hi, this is Suzette DiMascio with the CSI Specialty Group Podcast. To start out in 2019, I thought this year I’d do things a little differently and talk about the number one conference that starts the year for healthcare and that’s the JP Morgan conference. Now, I will tell you that I’m not there, or I was not there. I haven’t gotten the elusive ticket to the ball, however, I do follow this every year because it does start out the year as being a litmus test of things to come. Of course, we had no surprise this year with the cell gene acquisition announcement as well as the other challenging things that are coming up in Congress and the lack of support that we’re getting for some of the healthcare initiatives. It actually provided a great foundation for this year’s conference. I think when you take a look at overall what really happened in this conference, I think we’ve seen a big change in health systems traditionally looking at being a healthcare provider and being an organization that has bricks and mortar and more MRIs than the other health system and to quote Marc Harrison, or the CEO …

Doctor Marc Harrison, excuse me, the CEO of Intermountains, quote that Intermountain is moving from being a holding company into an operating company and by turning themselves more into a clinical effective enterprise that prides itself on even doing things such as virtual hospital services so that they can move from maximizing revenue to maximizing a human strategy and I love that. The exact quote was that, “The changes that Intermountain is making this is not a revenue maximizing strategy, this is a human maximizing strategy.” I really think that as you take a look at what we heard at JP Morgan, that’s really what’s happening. Just think about it, this year they had over 40,000 people attend and just the health systems that were represented actually accounted for close to 125 billion dollars in revenue and all of the organizations that represented there are about 300 billion or 10% of the actual healthcare spent on the US. That’s pretty dramatic.

One of the things that I really thought was interesting was that there’s a pretty big shift in healthcare being offensive or offense, not offensive. Offensive vs. defensive. We see that with a lot of the care management programs coming out, we see that with a lot of the applications and the importance of the utilization of building a platform and having data as a strategy to intervene and also make sense of a lot of the shifts happening in healthcare. We heard the word “hub” a lot and I think again that also relates back to healthcare and planting and being who you are best at being and not worrying about trying to do everything else and I think you see a lot of this happening again with health systems where they are outsourcing things that aren’t core to taking care of a patient.

I think that one of the things that I think became very clear is that Medicare, Med Advantage plans and Medicaid as they expand are making a lot of individuals think that these should be the formations for the future of healthcare. I would say as it relates to pharmacy cost, I still am of the predisposition or the thought that we don’t have the right health plans in place today to cover the cost of drugs because again, the genomics that we know today and the rare and orphan diseases that are coming out, when we developed most of our healthcare plans, the low/mid D, the genomic path was not clear to us nor did we have any of the sequencing done to be able to find cures or, excuse me, treatments for some of these rare diseases and cures and Hepatitis C, who would’ve thought 15 years ago that we would’ve cured Hep C? Thank God we have with these products but with high R&D comes high cost and there has to be some shifts that are happening.

Affordability was a big comment or conversation piece and I think a lot of organizations talked about what they could do to deploy cost and to … actually, it was very interesting to see a lot of the advance cost counting applications that are being put in place at a lot of major institutions. I think another thing that we’ve see is that the evolution of consumerism is really helping to drive affordability. I think that there needs to be transparency and we’ve seen that with what Civica is doing in their new program to develop a sole source or a sole voice of opportunity in the generic area. The shortages are crippling a lot of the health systems across the country and Civica came together and said, “Enough’s enough, we can do this and we can do this better.”

They have over 250 hospitals right now that have signed up for the Civica model. They’re gonna be focusing on four, excuse me, 14 key drugs that they will be delivering and producing here in the US and as far as costs, the costs across the platform will be the same. When you take a look at ASHP’s most recent report of drug shortages, there are 205 drugs that are on the shortage list that have been reported from hospitals across the country so it’s no wonder that everyone’s very excited to see what Civica’s going to do and the changes that they’re gonna make in the generic marketplace. I think the other underlying current that we heard a lot at JP Morgan was what’s Amazon going to do? They bought Pill Pack, they haven’t made any movements. What’s gonna happen there?

I think as you take a look at anyone like an Amazon or a Google coming into healthcare and evaluate what their thoughts might be, we can all surmise that it’s going to drive costs down and efficiency up because that’s who they are, isn’t it? Anything that they’re taking a look at, the minute that it does come out, I think could be very interesting to take a look at. The other thing that I thought was interesting is JP Morgan did invite a lot of healthcare professionals to dinner the first night of the event and neglected to talk anything about the JP Morgan, Hathaway, Amazon partnership to drive down healthcare cost. That’s another thing that I think this year you’re gonna wanna watch closely to see what they do.

Again, employers are complaining, and rightfully so, about the increased cost of care for taking care of their employees. They wanna provide the best care, or most employers do and it’s costing them more and more every year and drug costs are not going down anywhere soon so I think that you’ll see that that’s going to be something, as well. The other thing that I thought was interesting, too, is as you take a look at strategies as it relates to platforms that a lot of synergies are happening across multiple platforms. By that I mean think of Microsoft Office, if you buy Microsoft and you’re just wanting Outlook, you automatically are gonna get PowerPoint and Word and Project and Access. Today you might not need those things but as you grow your organization or your business you need more software solutions. Being a platform to which you can grown on, I think, ends up being something that’s kind of interesting, as well. I think that behavioral health and mental health are also two areas in addition to opioids that really need to take a look at some platform opportunities so that they can leverage a business strategy that allows growth and scale as the marketplace needs that, as well.

I was surprised that there was not more acquisitions and announcements than there were. Typically we’ve seen anywhere between five to 15 announcements being made and it wasn’t the case this year. That actually surprised me and my thoughts on that personally is I wonder if there has been a holdback in the purchasing activity or the acquisition or the M&A activity due to the fears about a recession. It wasn’t really talked about, JP Morgan’s not a place to talk about things negatively, it’s all about the positive aspects of the dog and ponies that the presenters are doing while they’re out there in San Francisco and taking up every hotel accommodation known to man so I didn’t see anything that would give me an indication that there was fear but just based on the lack of acquisition announcements I think that that says a lot to me.

I think that the acquisition with Cigna and Express Scripts still is not quite getting the “Wow this is gonna change the world,” that I think ESI had expected. The PBM market is gonna continue to look for innovators and look for other individuals outside of the big guys to meet the needs of employer groups. I also think that in this coming year as we take a look at the specialty pharmacy world, I think we’re going to see some changes happen fairly quickly in the evolution of the rare and orphan and who’s handling those products. It’s not necessarily going to be the usual suspects based on what I’ve seen this year.

Anyways, that’s kind of my 10 cents or I should say 12 minutes of fame on the JP Morgan conference. If anyone that’s listening has an in to a ticket, please call me, you can be my guest host every month for the rest of your life. I would love to attend the conference live but otherwise I just look forward to sitting back and watching all the press that happens and the information that happens, as well. As always, I look forward to hearing from our listeners. We are almost at 50,000 listeners so we thank you. We couldn’t do this without you. Hoping that 2019 is a wonderful year for you all, your family, your colleagues, your employees and most importantly, your patients.

This is Suzette, have a great day.

Have you heard the news? The 2019 State of Specialty pharmacy report is now available to download for free at CSIgroup.net/survey. For the report, we surveyed specialty pharmacy professionals of all level across all the main channels to uncover trends, onions and future predictions about the specialty pharmacy industry. Please feel free to download the report today and find out what manufacturers, health systems and independent pharmacy specialty professionals across the nation say the biggest opportunities, as well as the biggest challenges are as we all work toward improving the patient journey. Get your free download today at CSIgroup.net/survey.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Specialty Pharmacy Podcast. If there’s anything we mentioned in today’s show you missed, don’t worry. We take the show notes for you at CSIgroup.net/podcast. If you’re not already a subscriber, please consider pressing the subscribe button on our Podcast player so you never miss one of our future episodes. If you haven’t given us a rating or a review on iTunes yet, please find a spare minute and help us reach and educate even more of our specialty pharmacy peers. The Specialty Pharmacy Podcast is a production of CSI Specialty Group, your go-to firm for all things specialty pharmacy. Thanks again for listening and we’ll catch you next time. Doctors orders.

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About The Specialty Pharmacy Podcast

Join host Suzette DiMascio, CHE, CMCE, CPC, President and CEO of CSI Specialty Group, as she answers questions, addresses concerns and discusses the news you need to stay on top of the ever evolving world of specialty pharmacy. Tune in every episode to hear real world examples of the good, the bad and the outrageous from the experts at CSI Specialty Group, and to learn about the limitless growth opportunities available in the specialty pharmacy industry.