Vizient releases Winter 2023 Pharmacy Market Outlook

Jan. 30, 2023

Vizient, Inc. released its Winter 2023 Pharmacy Market Outlook, forecasting a 3.78% overall drug price inflation rate for the calendar year beginning, July 1, 2023. The rate reflects a moderate rise relative to recent years but also a growing upward trend led by an increase in prices and utilization. The full report can be downloaded here.

"Since the pandemic, we have seen a greater magnitude of higher prices," said Carina Dolan, Vizient assistant vice president of clinical oncology, pharmacoeconomics and market insights. "Although these values are much lower than the levels seen in the previous decade, the need for vigilance and action around medication use, and increasingly medication reimbursement, should remain a priority consideration for providers."

While adalimumab (brand name Humira) retains its top position in Vizient member spend, it will begin facing biosimilar competition for the first time this year as its exclusivity expires. The Outlook evaluates how delivery method, interchangeability status and the formulation of the drug itself will impact uptake.

"Stakeholders are eagerly anticipating the impact of biosimilar competition entering the market this year, but payer preference will also impact the utilization of biosimilars," Dolan said. "If payers designate the biosimilar and the originator product as co-preferred, we think a faster uptake of a biosimilar product is possible."

The report also highlights COVID's continued influence. Drug spend for remdesivir (Veklury), which soared to the top of total Vizient member spend in the Winter 2022 Outlook, continues its decline from No. 2 to No. 5. An analysis of remdesivir utilization compared with COVID-19 inpatient admissions data from the Vizient Clinical Data Base notes the usage of remdesivir in Sept. 2021 was 54.5% of COVID-19 admissions. The rate of remdesivir usage for COVID-19 patients declined to 32% in August 2022. Causes for declining usage include a combination of a lower rate of use for COVID-19 cases and shorter duration of therapy for patients in which it is used.

Replacing remdesivir in the No. 2 spot is pembrolizumab (Keytruda), used in the treatment of melanoma; and new to the top 15 medication list compared to the previous Pharmacy Market Outlook is daratumumab-hyaluronidase-fijh (Darzalex Faspro), used in the treatment of multiple myeloma. Both of these medications are oncology related, which is the largest drug classification for Vizient member spend, representing 23.05% of total member spend.

The second highest therapeutic category of Vizient member spend was in autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. The spend in this category includes top 15 medications such as ustekinumab (Stelara) and dupilumab (Dupixent), used in the treatment of multiple disease states, including atopic dermatitis and asthma. 

Vizient release

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