Meet the Board: Optum Rx's David Calabrese Discusses New Role, Pharmacy Deserts, Medication Shortages and More

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In the latest episode of the Meet the Board podcast series, Managing Editor, Peter Wehrwein, catches up with Chief Clinical Officer at Optum Rx and EAB member, David Calabrese, about his new role alongside his team's progress in improving quality, patient safety and health equity in healthcare.

In the latest episode of the Meet the Board podcast series, Managing Editor, Peter Wehrwein, catches up with Chief Clinical Officer at Optum Rx and EAB member, David Calabrese, about his new role alongside his team's progress in improving quality, patient safety and health equity in healthcare.

Calabrese

Calabrese

Calabrese highlights efforts to address pharmacy deserts and medication shortages; and the two discuss the challenges and future of retail pharmacies, the impact of cell and gene therapies and the rise of GLP-1 weight loss drugs, noting their cost and regulatory scrutiny.

"(GLP-1s are) probably the hottest area of focus, not just for the PBM and for the payer community, but it has significant implications for the drug supply chain, as well (as) our pharmacies," Calabrese said. "Given the demand, given the price point of these products, the lack of discounting creates a lot of challenges, often pushing our pharmacies into the red and dispensing these therapies.

"It's only going to grow. We know that the demand will continue to increase. I think I've seen projections that we could see two, three-fold increase in demand and utilization of these products over time."

David also emphasized the importance of comprehensive patient support programs.

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