Wide ranging report covers a lot of ground. It sounds an optimistic note about biosimilars but is critical of white bagging.
Hospitals, health systems and other nonacute providers will spend 3.1% more on drugs next year, with oncology drugs accounting for roughly quarter of the expense, according to a report issued by Vizient today.
Vizient, historically a group purchasing organization for hospitals that now bills itself as healthcare performance improvement company, based the result on analysis of its members’ purchasing pharmaceutical data. The company, which is headquartered in Irving, Texas, also surveyed members about white bagging.
The report, titled the Summer 2021 Pharmacy Market Outlook, discusses the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug expenditures and usage. Between April 2020 and March 2021, the hospitals and healthcare providers in Vizient’s drug purchasing database spent more money purchasing remdesivir, the antiviral sold under the brand name drug Veklury, than any other drug besides Humira (adalimumab), the immunosuppressive drug used to treat a variety of autoimmune diseases, and Keytruda (pembrolizumab), the leading drug among the new generation of cancer drugs that work by harnessing the immune system.
Vizient analyst also had access to a clinical database that included 436 hospitals to track the usage of COVID-19 medications. As the report notes, use of dexamethasone, a low-cost corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory effects, shot up in July 2020 after the report in June that it was effective in reducing mortality from COVID-19. Vizient’s data shows that by November, about 70% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were treated with dexamethasone. The Vizient data also show steep climb in the use of remdesivir starting in May, the month that the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the drug.
The Vizient identifies specialty drug as a major factor hospital and other provider organization spending, with spending expected to increase by 4.68%. FDA approval of increasing number of drugs for rare diseases and Humira price hikes prior to 2023 when biosimilars to Humira are scheduled to come on the market are the main reasons for the upward trend, said the press release about the report.
The report sounded an optimistic note about insulin and biosimilar competition. Early last year, insulins were reclassified in such a way as to open them up to biosimilar competition, Vizient noted. The report also mentions the possibility that Viatris, a spin-off company from Pfizer, is seeking FDA approval for versions of insulin glargine and insulin aspart that would be interchangeable with their reference products.
The Vizient report covers a wide range of topics from overall spending patterns to white bagging to FDA’s accelerated approval pathway and the use of surrogate markers.
Here are several takeaways: