The pharma industry has had a very busy year and one that was chock full of changes. While they were able to still make it to the end of the year with their head held high, there have been some highs and some lows that were of note. We’ve taken the time to list them down and the following are some that we feel are most noteworthy.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act – ACA
The year started with controversy with failed attempts being made to repeal the ACA since 2017. While the act wasn’t removed completely, a new law for taxes was introduced which removed the requirement for an individual mandate by the ACA. The change was predicted to drive up premiums by removing healthy pool from insurance pools.
Low-Cost Medication and Specialty Pharma
While specialty drugs have always held their own position and adhered to their own set of standards, a change was introduced when many low-cost medications were also being produced in this manner. The definition of specialty drugs was also reconsidered as well as the prices which are set in accordance with this term. With lower priced drugs being introduced into this area, the specialty channel experienced financial strain from investors, manufacturers and more.
Adoption of e-Services
As more and more industries are using online e-services for their products and services, the pharma company has also started adopting this channel. From easy re-fills of prescriptions to delivery of medication and more, e-service is becoming a viable medium that improves patient interaction with the pharma industry.
Amazon’s Foray into Pharma
Seeing the favorable response to e-services, Amazon also announced their intention of entering the pharma industry. While this does spell change for the pharma industry, other pharmacies have already started to adapt by becoming more patient-centric in their services. Additionally, offering online benefits, including customer support on a 24/7 basis has allowed them to capitalize on their patient’s loyalty, well before Amazon enters the market.
Issues with Drug Pricing
Consumers in the pharma industry have started to yield more power and demanded clarity, transparency, and fairness. In the past, the pharma industry has hidden largely behind a smokescreen but after a life-saving Epi-Pen was increased to $600. Mylan had to face a number of different lawsuits and was made to explain the reason behind their price hike, a process which was previously not questioned.
Approval of Generic Drugs
One of the reasons that Mylan was able to increase the price of their EpiPens to $600 was because they had no natural competitors. Faced with this, the FDA approved a generic drug and is all set to approve more generic drugs. This has given many pharma companies direct competitors and for Mylan, the competition has grown stiffer for the first time.
Additionally, the FDA has also pledged to introduce generic versions of complex drugs that have previously bullied the consumers with high prices since they have no competitors and the consumers have no option but to buy them.
With a lot of positive changes, it seems like the new year is all set to usher in an era of clarity, transparency and patient-centric approaches for the pharma industry.
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