AMCP Nexus Sessions Will Focus on Drug Costs and Addressing Health Disparities

The fall meeting has multiple sessions on different aspects of health disparities and addressing drug costs, including 3 sessions on biosimilars.

At the fully in-person meeting of AMCP Nexus, the fall meeting of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, health disparities and paying for expensive therapies will take center stage.

The meeting will kick off with AMCP Talks, a series of presentations with an interactive panel focused on managed care organizations and their journey to address health disparities within their organization. Speaker Sharon K. Jhawar, PharmD, MBA, BCGP, chief pharmacy officer of SCAN Health Plan, will also discuss health disparities the next day during a session on improving medication adherence to address racial health disparities. In August, SCAN Health Plan had announced its COVID-19 vaccination efforts had reduced vaccination disparities among Black, Latinx, and low-income members.

A third session will focus specifically on racial health disparities in sickle cell disease, which disproportionately affects Black individuals. However, the need for pain medications to manage the condition often causes patients to be suspected of drug-seeking behavior.

In addition, a session on the final day of the meeting will highlight how Massachusetts responded to COVID-19 with measures that illuminate and attempt to reduce health disparities.

However, the bulk of the meeting will focus on expensive therapies and how to pay for them, including 3 sessions on biosimilars, which are expected to reduce the costs of therapies by 15% or more. The biosimilar landscape in the United States has lagged behind Europe for the last few years, but the next 2 to 5 years should see an expansion of biosimilar products launching in the United States.

Chad Pettit, MBA, of Amgen, will explain how biosimilar uptake can be encouraged and highlight key trends shaping the biosimilars marketplace. Another session will review the current biosimilar landscape and provide a framework for leveraging biosimilars in utilization management and benefit design. Finally, a third session will identify shifting utilization trends for biosimilars, 340B pricing, and barriers and tactics to influence biosimilar uptake.

In another session, speakers will explain how actuaries can integrate clinical and financial data to create effective value-based payment models. Lastly, a session will highlight a growing segment of medications that are presenting challenges for payer financing and reimbursement: gene therapies. The speakers will identify ways to manage these high costs as more of these products come to market.

Finally, the meeting will also have a regular session, “Specialty Pharmaceuticals in Development,” from Aimee Tharaldson, PharmD, of Express Scripts, and a special session on Medicare Part D and how the 16-year old benefit has adapted and will need to continue to adapt.