Cost, value, consumerism, information technology and government involvement are the primary issues faced by pharmaceutical programs, according to research from Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs.
Between December 2002 and March 2003, CGE&Y surveyed senior pharmacy executives of pharmaceutical manufacturers, managed care organizations, pharmacy benefits managers, pharmacy wholesalers and chain drugstores. The industry is unsure of how the government will handle a new Medicare pharmacy benefit program, which has had a chilling effect on the strategies of many participants.
Pharmacy expenses make up about 10% of healthcare costs and are predicted to rise to more than 14% by 2012, the study says. Many respondents to the survey say they will achieve only temporary relief with current cost-control efforts, such as benefit changes and consumer-directed health plans.
More consumers perceive the cost of drugs as too expensive for their value, the study says, and different segments of the pharmacy industry also question each other's roles and value relative to cost.
Coping strategies offered up by the consulting firm include:
- Learn more about the end user and devote a high level of decision support to create consumer-driven products.
- Use IT across sectors of the pharmacy industry to better connect stakeholders and create more efficient processes.
- Streamline and improve core operations, whether through mail service, claims processing or call center operations.
- Formulate strategies to address the emerging sector of specialty medications, which will require pricing strategies and programs that cater to market demand and manage costs.