Express Scripts picks top 10

May 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

According to the Express Scripts Top Ten, a report released by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, new prescription drugs, empowered consumers and aging baby boomers led the top ten developments on the pharmaceutical landscape in 1999.

According to the Express Scripts Top Ten, a report released by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, new prescription drugs, empowered consumers and aging baby boomers led the top ten developments on the pharmaceutical landscape in 1999.

The developments were selected on the basis of their impact on providers of healthcare insurance and management of pharmacy benefit plans.

"In every quarter, from drug discoveries to direct-to-consumer advertising to changing demographics, innovation and evolution are clearing the path for a retooling and reorganization of the marketplace," said Barrett Toan, president and chief executive officer of Express Scripts.

According to the report, 1999s most significant development was marketing of two new anti-inflammatory COX-2 inhibitors: Searle's Celebrex™ (celecoxib) and Merk's Vioxx® (rofecoxib), both of which reached blockbuster status as soon as they hit the market. Together the two drugs captured a 21% share of the $2.3 billion anti-inflammatory market within six months.

Second on the top ten is the introduction of the first antiviral drugs to fight influenza, Glaxo Wellcome's Relenza® and Roche's Tamiflu.® In the week ending December 24, nearly 96,000 prescriptions were written nationwide for these two drugs.

Third on the top ten is the media coverage surrounding President Clinton's Medicare prescription drug proposal, which the report considers as significant as the proposal itself.

"A robust national dialogue ensued and gained momentum throughout the remainder of the year," the report stated. According to the report, that momentum has propelled the issue to the forefront of the 2000 budget process.

According to Toan, the greatest trend is the access consumers have to information about various drugs. "Of all that is occurring, perhaps no trend holds more profound implications for benefit design than the transformation of the American public into informed consumers of prescription drugs," he said. "Empowered by greater access to information, plan members will increasingly expect to take an active role in their own healthcare and demand access to therapies they perceive as desirable."

The report predicts that greater public awareness, as the result of heightened media coverage, will spur growing employee demand for inclusion in discussions around a pharmacy benefit.

"Pharmacy benefit plan sponsors should anticipate that designing the pharmacy benefit to provide optimal choice will be the single greatest factor in employee satisfaction," the report advised. PR

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