AMCP 2023 Report
This year’s Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) conference in San Antonio, Texas brought together over 4,000 peers across a diverse group of payers, pharmacists, academics, patient advocates, manufacturers, and other key stakeholders. It was an energizing atmosphere that allowed for robust discussions on the current state of managed care in the US, and we were excited to meet with both new and familiar faces. We greatly enjoyed attending AMCP 2023 and have summarized a few key takeaways from the conference below.
Current Market Trends
The Effect of COVID-19 on Health Services Utilization
Based on multi-year data presented at AMCP 2023, COVID-19-related disruptions are clearly waning in the US. In January 2023, COVID-19 vaccines made up 0.8% of retail prescriptions compared with 2.5% in 2022 and 6.0% in 2021Overall, the downward pressure exerted by COVID-19 on healthcare services appears to have abated, and healthcare decision makers should reflect this when forecasting healthcare resource demand. Sales growth in non-retail pharmacy is also recovering from the effects of COVID-19, although growth in hospital pharmacy sales has contracted, driven almost entirely by the decline of inpatient COVID-19 antivirals. Overall health services utilization has also returned to 99% of pre-COVID-19 baseline levels after plummeting at the outset of the pandemic, with utilization of office, institutional, and telehealth visits and diagnostic and screening tests above baseline levels. Although utilization of both elective procedures and new prescriptions are still below pre-COVID-19 levels, they have rebounded strongly from the troughs seen in 2020.
Given the recovery in health services utilization and normalization of demand, it may be tempting to think of the COVID-19 disruptions as transient, but COVID-19 has permanently altered the settings in which patients receive care. Telehealth visits comprised 7–9% of all office, telehealth, and institutional claims in 2022 which suggests a sustainable long-term market. The food pharmacy sector (e.g., grocery store owned pharmacies) has also shown strong growth in sales as consumers became accustomed to one-stop shopping throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, healthcare decision makers should be aware of the potential adverse impacts from the reduction in healthcare utilization during the pandemic, particularly preventative and screening measures, and how this may affect patient populations, treatment outcomes, and healthcare resource demand in the coming years.
In 2022, for the first time ever, traditional medications (commonly small-molecule drugs used to treat common acute/chronic conditions) fell below specialty medications (high-cost drugs that may have special handling requirements and are used to treat chronic, complex, and/or rare conditions) in terms of market share and accounted for less than 50% of total market sales, excluding discounts. In terms of net spending, specialty pharmacy has grown from 28% of the market in 2011 to 55% as of 2021, increasing by 305%. This growth in specialty pharmacy has been driven by immunology (459%) and oncology (326%) treatments, while traditional pharmacy has been supported by growth in the diabetes field (217%).