5 Timely Topics Discussed at the 2017 AMCP Nexus Meeting

October 20, 2017

At this year's Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Nexus conference, a few trending topics resurfaced across the meeting's agenda, with important implications for pharmacists, payers, and beyond.

At this year’s Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Nexus, a few trending topics resurfaced across the meeting’s agenda, with important implications for pharmacists, payers, and beyond.

1. Keeping up with recent legislation and potential changes

As this was the first AMCP Nexus conference since the 2016 presidential election, a number of sessions focused on the legislative changes to health-related laws that had taken place under the new Trump administration, as well as what the future may hold for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

A session led by AMCP policy experts presented an overview of the legislative and regulatory happenings taking place within HHS, FDA, and CMS, as well as potential laws that could be passed in the next session of Congress. Another session focused solely on the ACA, including the current status of the marketplaces, the impact of cutting off cost-sharing reduction subsidies, and the prospects of a bipartisan fix.

2. Payer perspectives on combating opioid abuse

With the opioid epidemic continuing to claim lives across the United States, it was no surprise that both a session and a subsequent roundtable conversation focused on the roles of health plans in stopping the misuse and diversion of opioid painkillers.

Speakers representing several different payers agreed that addressing this program requires concentrated efforts in partnership with providers, communities, health systems, and others to raise awareness of the problem and expand treatment opportunities.

3. Updates on specialty drug pipelines

The annual specialty drug pipeline presentation by Aimee Tharaldson, PharmD, of Express Scripts is always a popular session for the insights it provides into what’s new and what’s next in specialty drug approvals. This year’s presentation discussed the pipeline’s status after a year in which many new drugs entered the market.

Other sessions also focused specifically on drug pipelines for specific disease states. For instance, one presentation about the pipeline drugs for neurological disorders discussed the current treatment options and prospective tests and therapies for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Biosimilars continue to shake up the market

Tharaldson noted that biosimilars “are really acting like competing brands” to reference drugs, but she was not the only presenter to discuss the impact of biosimilars on the drug market.

Another session took a look at the regulatory developments of the past year for biosimilars, including the FDA’s draft guidance on interchangeability, and assessed which biosimilars have good chances of being approved in 2018.

5. Turning to alternate sources of data

The definition of data is expanding to include patient-reported outcomes, value assessment tools, real-world evidence, and consumer behavior research, which were all discussed in sessions during the conference.

For instance, one presenter discussed how using patient-generated health data can bring patients into research studies as partners and contributors. Another session on the role of behavioral economics in consumer-directed health plans focused on the importance of combining multiple sources of data together to create decision support tools.