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5 Things to Look for at AMCP Nexus 2020


A preview of some of the topics that will appear at next week’s Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Nexus 2020 meeting, which will be held virtually.

The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Nexus 2020 meeting, held each fall, will take place virtually next week due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The agenda reveals some topics that will be familiar to the meeting’s regular attendees, as well as some that are unique to 2020. Here are 5 topics to look forward to at AMCP Nexus 2020.

1. COVID-19’s effect on pharmacists

COVID-19 has disrupted lives to the point that every health care conference is certain to feature at least 1 session about the impact of the pandemic, and AMCP Nexus is no exception. A panel discussion on the first full day of the meeting will bring together speakers from Avalere Health to converse on how COVID-19 has shifted the role of the managed care pharmacist and what that role might look like in a post–COVID-19 world.

The panelists will touch on changes in pharmacy reimbursement and identify ongoing trends in formulary design and utilization management requirements that will continue to be relevant during the pandemic and beyond. One panelist, Margaret Scott, MS, MPH, RPh, coauthored an Avalere analysis in May that mentioned how Medicaid drug benefits could shift as Medicaid enrollment increases due to the pandemic, which may be a topic of conversation in the AMCP Nexus session.

2. A preview of the specialty drug development pipeline

With the new virtual format this year, attendees will no longer have to jostle for a seat in the room, but the presentation by Aimee Tharaldson, PharmD, on the specialty pharmaceutical pipeline will still be one of the most highly anticipated sessions. Tharaldson, of Express Scripts, will give her yearly talk outlining what specialty drugs have been approved recently, which are likely to be approved in the coming year, and what impact these drugs will have on the market.

In last year’s presentation, Tharaldson highlighted the legal hurdles to biosimilar launches, the growing group of breakthrough therapies for cancer, and the potential market for drugs to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Tharaldson’s talk this year may touch on several of those same categories, but the prospect of NASH treatments arriving on the market will likely be dimmed considering that the FDA in June 2020 issued a complete response letter for obeticholic acid to treat fibrosis due to NASH.

3. The 2020 election’s impact on managed care pharmacy

The first full day of AMCP Nexus 2020 falls just 2 weeks before Election Day, and the electoral contests that have dominated headlines will be examined through a pharmacy lens in several of the meeting’s sessions. In a session moderated by AMCP’s director of government relations, political experts will summarize the health care platforms that different candidates are running on and look into the future to analyze the impact of the presidential and congressional races on health policy and, eventually, managed care pharmacy.

Although the preview for another session on state efforts to enact drug pricing reform legislation does not specifically mention the election, it will be interesting to see whether the political climate finds its way into that discussion as well. The presenter, Melissa Andel, MPP, of CommonHealth Solutions, talked about the potential impact of the 2020 election on health policy in her presentation last year, before the Democratic primaries occurred and Joe Biden won the party’s nomination for president.

4. The importance of real-world evidence in payer, provider decisions

A session scheduled for the AMCP Nexus 2020 meeting will focus on the use of real-world evidence by payers to determine coverage of oncology treatments, including the various types of data and economic models used to turn outcomes into decisions. The topic appeared during last year’s Nexus meeting in a session that discussed the power of data-sharing partnerships to yield information for FDA to use in drug approval decisions.

Another session at this year’s meeting will discuss how pharmacists can harness patient-reported outcomes to enhance clinical care and succeed in value-based contracts. The speakers will also address how to surmount the funding challenges associated with implementing a platform to collect data on patient-reported outcome measures.

5. Pharmacists’ involvement in value-based payment models, contracts

As the number of value-based payment models continues to grow, an AMCP Nexus 2020 session will illustrate how pharmacists have an important role to play in shared savings models by supporting health systems’ goals of achieving clinical and cost benchmarks. The speakers plan to emphasize the need for pharmacists in both health systems and health plans to work together in the pursuit of value.

In another session, pharmacists will discuss their experiences negotiating with drug makers for rebates under value-based contracts and how these contracts derived value for the state’s Medicaid program. The talk will provide an explanation of the rebate negotiation authorities granted by CMS and what challenges programs may encounter when contracting with manufacturers.

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