SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Strategies Group

Pharmaceutical Strategies Group

November 16, 2009 10:54 ET

PSG Survey Shows U.S. Companies Negative on Healthcare Reform, But Positive on Pharmacy Changes

PLANO, TX--(Marketwire - November 16, 2009) - Pharmaceutical Strategies Group (PSG), the nation's largest independent pharmacy benefit consulting firm, released today the results of a national survey of companies focused on their views of proposed healthcare reform legislation. Unlike most surveys to date, PSG's research focuses not only on healthcare reform in general, but on the specifics of reform initiatives that relate specifically to pharmaceuticals which account for roughly 10% of national healthcare costs. All companies surveyed currently use the services of a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company.

The results of the survey indicate that, overall, few employers expect their organizations to benefit from healthcare reform legislation as it is currently being considered by Congress. Only one fifth (20.4%) view healthcare reform in general as positive. Nearly half (48.7%) report that healthcare reform in general would have an overall negative impact on their organizations, while the balance (30.9%) remain undecided.

However, these same companies took on a decidedly more positive stance concerning specific healthcare reform initiatives related to pharmacy. For example,

--  83.9% view legislation of "biosimilars" (generic specialty drugs) as
--  82.4% support legislation requiring physicians to use e-prescribing
--  76.2% favor increased regulation of PBMs, especially as it relates to
--  72% support legislation requiring increased counseling from
    pharmacists, along with disease/medication management programs.
--  61.5% favor closing the Medicare Part D "donut hole."
--  60.3% support legislation introducing financial incentives based on
    the "comparative effectiveness" of one drug or treatment over an

The positive perception of these pharmacy-specific initiatives appears to be independent of perceived cost impact associated with healthcare reform in general. Further, even though PBM regulation and disclosure is viewed positively by the vast majority of respondents, uncertainty is exhibited concerning whether such an initiative would actually result in lower costs.

Overall, the survey indicates that employers have serious concerns about healthcare reform. Most employers expect either no benefit at all, or to be negatively impacted. Nevertheless, many of the pharmacy-related aspects of current healthcare reform legislation (except for direct government negotiations on drug pricing) have significant support from U.S. companies. Support for other elements of healthcare reform is mixed.

The full results of the survey can be accessed here:

About Pharmaceutical Strategies Group

PSG is a Texas-based pharmacy benefit consulting firm specializing in helping plan sponsors design and manage programs that maximize the value of pharmaceuticals in their population. The strategies employed by PSG allow plan sponsors to gain immediate control over their pharmacy benefit expenditures, while positioning their program to meet future pharmacy benefit challenges.

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