Pharmaceutical Commerce - March/April 2018 - 15
F E AT U R E
with Nitin Sahney, PharmaCord
then and 2015, grew the business unit from $600 million to
$2.4 billion. In 2015, CVS Health came knocking. Over these
years the patient support space has grown and become
very competitive, with the big PBMs and big wholesalers all
jumping in. I still had the entrepreneurial drive and chose
not to continue with CVS Health.
Now, with PharmaCord, I and my team-many of whom
have been with me since the RxCrossroads days-have a
blank slate to address patient support the way I believe it
should be done. I feel passionate about this space.
What will make PharmaCord different from its
After leaving CVS Health, I've spent a good bit of time
talking with people in the industry, and with manufacturers.
Although there are many players in this space, my opinion
is that they present limited options to manufacturers. Our
approach is very straightforward: First, my partner and I own
the company-there is no outside capital. That means that
we will not be beholden to private equity investors, and can
grow at our own pace. Second, we will serve manufacturer
clients exclusively in the various disease states. The big PBMs
and wholesaler-operated hub services are set up to handle
competing products; we believe our clients are better served
with exclusive arrangements. Third, we've built our company
foundation to enable it to scale up and serve major products
from top pharma companies; some of our competitors are
well positioned to handle orphan drugs (which we plan to
do as well) with limited patient populations-but scale up
poorly. Finally, we have an experienced team with a proven
track record; this is a business where it's easy to perform
poorly and we don't plan to do that.
These characteristics are what differentiates us. At
the same time, we will provide many of the standard hub
services: a closed-door pharmacy from which we will deliver
prescriptions daily; benefit investigation and verification;
free drug and fast-start programs; copay coupons; and
adherence programs. An intriguing possibility is to
combine our IT capabilities with our patient engagement-
it should be possible to service some patients, or some
programs, with automated systems that lower costs to
the manufacturer. We will not provide 3PL (third-party
logistics) services; there are plenty of 3PL providers we can
work with, and we don't need to re-invent the wheel.
To sum up, I like to say that "We're built to scale, and
we're not for sale."
Isn't scale simply a matter of how large the
company's call center and case management staff is?
First of all, I think everyone in this business needs to
give better recognition to their case managers, because
that's where the high-quality patient service happens. In
any case, we currently have capacity for 250 case managers,
and are able to double that when business volume justifies
it. While we're currently in offices in downtown Louisville,
KY, our plan is to build our own campus in the future.
But the key factor in being able to scale is to have the IT
system that allows it to happen. We've invested millions in
a proprietary It system, and it's designed to address some of
the current limitations in this field. Being able to aggregate
and report data is critical. Many of the systems in the market
today were built several years ago, and in my opinion, are
not built for real-time reporting, and do no scale up easily.
We've addressed both of those concerns; in addition, the
system enables connectivity to obtain data from hospital
electronic health systems, pharmacy automation systems and
other sources. It is tailored to the workflow of our internal
operations, and the reporting requirements of pharma clients.
Pharma clients will be able to get reporting, in near real
time, of prescriptions and patient status, broken down
by ZIP code or sales territory, and perform analytics on
that data. And as the system is cloud-based, clients will
be able to access data, based on permissions, with their
smartphone or mobile device.
What do you see down the road for hub services?
In terms of the drug pipeline, we see lots of opportunity
in coming years. Large-molecule biologics will continue to
be introduced; biosimilars are coming along, as are orphan
and ultra-orphan drugs. The major obstacle the entire
industry is dealing with is connectivity-getting patient
information to and from hospitals, pharmacies, payers,
manufacturers and patients. That is the crucial role of hub
services going forward. We all need better cost efficiency in
delivering drug therapies to patients; lower cost will enable
better patient access.
03. 2018 / Visit our website at www.PharmaceuticalCommerce.com / 15