AMCP Nexus 2021: A Wrap-Up

Disparities, biosimilars and digital therapeutics were among the featured topics at the meeting in Denver that had 1,900 attendees.

Healthcare disparities, biosimilars, and digital therapeutics were among the topics featured at the education sessions of the AMCP Nexus 2021 meeting this week in Denver.

Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) officials said 1,914 people attended the in-person meeting at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention, the first meeting that AMCP has held since AMCP Nexus 2019 meeting in the fall of 2019.

AMCP required attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 but also had separate protocol that involved verifying a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior the meeting. All attendees were also offered free onsite COVID-19 testing. The meeting had a requirement that people wear masks for indoor activities but from casual observation a large percentage of those in attendance were not wearing masks.

The meeting’s app listed 52 exhibitor and the exhibition hall was teeming with people during the meeting, which started on Monday and ended Thursday. The featured keynote speaker on Tuesday as Sekou Andrews, an inspirational speaker and spoken word artist.

“I had envisioned this meeting as a ‘managed care pharmacy reunion,’ but I didn’t anticipate the electricity that permeated every session and networking experience,” said Susan Cantrell, RPh, CAE, the CEO of AMCP. “It’s a catalyst for the work AMCP is undertaking through our new strategic priorities — optimize value and access, address health disparities, and smart membership growth — to get patients the medications they need at a cost they can afford.”

In addition to the broad themes of the education session, the meeting included poster presentations on research into nuts-and-bolts issues in managed care and manage care pharmacy, such as the economic burden of migraine, the demographics of people who take antiobesity medications and screening for hepatitis C at federally qualified health centers after the start of a pharmacist-led management program of the direct acting antivirals.

The meeting started on Monday with a panel discussion on best practices in addressing healthcare disparities and three other education sessions focused on disparities. Three of the education sessions focused on biosimilars and three others, on digital therapeutics.

In the Monday panel discussion, Aimee Loucks, Pharm.D., BCPS, manager, specialty pharmacy programs and formulary, Kaiser Permanente Washington, described a program to identify whether health plan practices, such as prior authorization and utilization management edits, might inadvertently contribute to healthcare disparities.

In a session on Tuesday, Sharon K. Jhawar, Pharm.D., MBA, BCGP, chief pharmacy officer of the SCAN Health Plan, a Medicare Advantage in Southern California, and Timshel Tarbet, MBA, BSP, CCP, vice president of excellence and diversity, described the health plan’s effort to reduce racial disparities in medication adherence. They both emphasized that dealing with disparities is a process that is not accomplished quickly or perfectly in the first attempts.

“It is a journey — we are learning so much through this process” said Jhawar.

Jeffrey Casberg, vice president, clinical pharmacy, for IPD Analytics, a drug management and market access company, was one of the speakers on biosimilars. “I think the theme is that it seems like the tide is turning, market share is picking up, adoption is picking up,” he said in an interview with Managed Healthcare Executive®.

In the Tuesday afternoon session on prescription digital therapeutics, the panelists were enthusiastic about the data collection inherent to digital therapies. Patrick Gleason, Pharm.D., BCPS, FCCP, FAMCP, assistant vice president, health outcomes, at Prime Therapeutics, said data from digital therapies will make it easier for payers to administer value-based contracts for those therapies.

“The payer can audit if they are concerned about that the information that is being provided back and fulfillment of the terms of the contract,” Gleason said. “But it is a lot less of burden on the payer in value-based contract as result of the way the data is being collected.”