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Anthem, IngenioRx and Taking a Total View of the Prescription Drug Trend

Anthem, IngenioRx and Taking a Total View of the Prescription Drug Trend

By Clive Riddle, June 1, 2018


In the crossover worlds of national pharmacy chains, PNMs and health plans, we have witnessed the emergence of CVS-Aetna , Cigna-Express Scripts, and the UnitedHealthGroup’s OptumRx fueled by its 2015 acquisition of Catamaran, plus the rumored Walmart Humana pairing. Meanwhile, Anthem took a somewhat different approach, starting their own PBM from scratch instead of acquiring or merging with someone on in the Rx aisle. Thus last October Anthem announced the launch of IngenioRx, which will assume Anthem’s PBM business when its current commitments expire in 2020.


IngenioRx, thus sidelined for another year and a half – and looking to improve its visibility while gearing up – just released just released a Drug Trends Report in the same style as other national PBM reports, not letting the fact that it not yet operational serve as a roadblock. Instead, they focused reporting on the current Anthem book of business that they will be serving.


With that in mind, here’s what they shared for Anthem’s 2017 commercial population, emphasizing they were examining the total drug trend, including medical benefit and prescription benefit utilization, unlike many reports from others that are only positioned to report on the prescription benefit experience:

·         21% of Anthem’s total drug spend was administered via the medical benefit,, and 79% via the pharmacy benefit. For specialty drugs only, the breakdown was 42% medical benefit and 58% pharmacy benefit.

·         Anthem’s total drug trend was 2.0%, comprised of -4.6% non-specialty drug spend and 9.9% specialty drug trend.

·         Anthem’s 2.0% total drug trend drivers included 5.6% inflation, 1.2% new drugs costs, -0.8% reduction in utilization, and -4.0% decrease in costs due to management approaches. For non-specialty drugs, inflation was 4.9%; for specialty drugs inflation was 6.5%.


Carving out the prescription benefit to independent PBMs in the health plan world created three inefficiencies: (1) inability to manage the total drug trend due to some drugs administered through the medical benefit, as IngenioRx points out; (2) doesn’t allow for optimal coordination of care between the prescription and medical treatment components; and (3) creates duplication of administrative resources required in administering eligibility and reporting for the two components.


If IngenioRx remained just an in-house PBM for Anthem, taking the total drug trend management view will be easier, But Anthem’s IngenioRx will be a stand-alone PBM, pursuing other business as well, and requiring its own separate administrative systems, making taking a total view for the Anthem book of business a little more challenging.


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