Adapt or Perish

Specialty Pharmacy Times, January/February 2015, Volume 6, Issue 1

HG Wells famously wrote in 1945 that “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.”

This line addresses the fact that the world is constantly changing, requiring those who do not wish to be left behind to change along with it. In the highly complex and ever-evolving world of specialty pharmacy, this quote is indicative of the shifting landscape faced by hepatitis C drug manufacturers and the patients who seek to access these products.

In response to the highly successful launches of drugs like Sovaldi, Harvoni, Olysio, and Viekira Pak, we’ve seen a flurry of recent exclusive rights agreements between manufacturers and specialty pharmacies, who have updated their formularies to provide access to these high-cost treatments with superior cure rates.

Setting off a domino effect at the end of the year was an agreement reached by Express Scripts and AbbVie for Viekira Pak, which was added to the Express Scripts formulary as the exclusive option for patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C, regardless of symptoms or disease progression. As a result, Sovaldi, Harvoni, and Olysio were excluded from the Express Scripts formulary, but the drugs remain available for patients who have already begun treatment.

In the wake of this agreement, soon thereafter we saw Gilead announce an exclusive rights deal with CVS Health Corp for Sovaldi and Harvoni, followed by Prime Therapeutics’ signing new agreements with both Gilead and AbbVie to place Harvoni and Viekira Pak on Prime’s preferred drug list.

Our esteemed editor-in-chief Dan Steiber, RPh, takes a deep dive into these recent developments in hepatitis C drug coverage with his article this month titled “The New Paradigm in Specialty: Payer Formulary Control?”

I urge you to read Dan’s insights into this issue, in which he addresses who truly is the customer in specialty pharmacy.

Also this month, our contributing experts examine the end goal for these drugs and the ultimate impact on patient outcomes in the article, “Why a Holistic, Technology-Enabled Treatment Approach Is Necessary to Address Hepatitis C—Related Liver Disease.”

Additionally, this month we take a look back at some of the significant drug approvals from 2014 and look torward what may next change the world of specialty pharmacy in the year ahead.

Keeping track of this ever-evolving specialty landscape while providing context and insight is our passionate mission with this journal, Specialty Pharmacy Times; our daily news website, www .SpecialtyPharmacyTimes.com; and our thrice-weekly e-newsletters covering breaking news and clinical developments.

Staying on top of these developments is the only means for stakeholders to prevent the evolution of specialty pharmacy from passing them by. SPT

Thank you for reading!

Mike HennessyChairman and CEO