With Humira, "Abbott has been very successful in contracting with managed care" organizations, says Deutsche's Barbara Ryan.
Other, newer products in the class "aren't gaining the same traction," she says. Stewart credits Humira's efficacy and breadth
of indications as key reasons for payer favorability. "They're looking at cost, so when they match up our clinical profile
and our market position ... they get to the fact that Humira looks like the [anti-TNF] to dance with," he says. Given the
indication in Crohn's, and Humira's strong position in psoriasis, payers have "a natural inclination to think that Humira
can bring significant value."
Lifecycle Management: Don’t Wait!
The other important element of success in managed care has to do with the rise of specialty pharmacies, many of which are
owned by the payer. Some 60 percent to 70 percent of patients eventually acquire anti-TNFs through specialty pharmacies, according
to Stewart. "It's shipped directly to their home, they can get nursing services, and that leads to better adherence rates,"
he says. Health Industries Research Companies, a market research firm, recently ranked Abbott among the top companies for
account managers, after surveying health plans, pharmacies, and medical directors at national and regional Blue Cross and
Blue Shield plans. Specialty pharmacy partnerships create a "win/win" situation, since Abbott, payers, and patients are essentially
consolidated in a single operation, which creates efficiencies, says Stewart.