Prescription drug market stabilizing after COVID disruptions

March 17, 2022

Drug Channels Institute (DCI) released its in-depth analysis of U.S. pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The new 2022 Economic Report on U.S. Pharmacies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers provides the most comprehensive, fact-based tool for understanding the entire U.S. drug pricing, reimbursement, and dispensing system.

“The prescription market has stabilized after the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, although its market structure continues to consolidate and become more vertically integrated,” says Drug Channels Institute CEO Adam J. Fein, Ph.D., the study’s author and a widely regarded expert on pharmaceutical economics and the drug distribution system. “For 2021, more than 80% of all equivalent prescription claims were processed by three companies: CVS Health (including Caremark and Aetna); the Express Scripts business of Cigna; and the OptumRx business of UnitedHealth Group.”

The report analyzes the crucial healthcare trends that will affect PBMs and pharmacies, including such topics as benefit designs, drug pricing, rebates, public policy, narrow networks, the 340B Drug Pricing Program, and many others. This year’s report also updates all market and industry data with the most current information available, including DCI’s exclusive analyses of the market positions of the largest pharmacies, specialty pharmacies, and PBMs.

“Specialty drugs remain the key driver of prescription revenues for the pharmacy and PBM industries. Prescription revenues continue to consolidate with the largest companies,” Fein adds. “However, the specialty market is poised for significant change. In the coming years, both biologic and traditional specialty drugs will face increasing competition from biosimilar and generic versions of these products.”

DCI Release

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