Telehealth is Redefining Health Care—for Patients, Prescribers, and Drug Makers Alike

Telehealth is Redefining Health Care—for Patients, Prescribers, and Drug Makers Alike

The face of health care looks very different these days. With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic came the need for social distancing, which meant that, for all but the most urgent cases, face-to-face visits between patients and physicians were no longer possible.

Enter the rise of telehealth (or telemedicine, depending on your preference; we’ll touch on the distinction below).

Telehealth technologies have been a staple of the medical community for years, but the coronavirus crisis has boosted their usage industry-wide in ways that simply could not have been predicted. Nearly half of all doctors are now using telehealth to treat patients, up from just 18 percent two years ago, according to a recent survey of American physicians.

The rise of telehealth adoption by both providers and patients has triggered changes in everything from regulatory compliance, privacy & security, reimbursement policies, and insurance coverage. The efficiencies and access made possible by the acceptance of telehealth technologies are akin to those in the new stay-at-home, Zoom-powered workforce.

Both developments are likely to change the way the world operates post-COVID-19. The question is, how? And what do these changes mean for pharmaceutical manufacturers? In what follows, we’ll take a look at the answers to these questions and more, starting with the most basic.

What is Telehealth?

So, what exactly do we mean by telehealth? And how is it different than telemedicine? The Health Resources Services Administration defines telehealth as follows:

The use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.

Telehealth is different than telemedicine in that the former refers to a broader scope of remote healthcare services. Telemedicine refers specifically to clinical services provided remotely, while telehealth includes non-clinical services like provider training, administrative meetings, and continuing medical education.

The Rise of Telehealth in the COVID-19 Crisis

The need for telehealth technologies quickly became evident as social distancing guidelines arose in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The World Economic Forum called telehealth a “game-changer” for safely delivering much-needed clinical care during the pandemic.

The Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights went on to issue guidance that made HIPAA regulations more flexible when it came to telehealth, saying “HIPAA-covered health care providers may, in good faith, provide telehealth services to patients using remote communication technologies…even if the application does not fully comply with HIPAA rules.”

Telehealth is helping medical systems and private practices alike respond to increases in patient flow and demands for testing, as well as the limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Virtual triage via telehealth technology means that only the sickest patients actually visit a hospital or clinic. Fewer in-person patient visits means fewer needs for providers to change their PPEs.

Additionally, providers are experiencing unprecedented levels of physician burnout and are embracing telehealth as a way to more effectively manage their on-call availability and balance their lifestyle.

Telehealth is helping medical systems and private practices alike respond to increases in patient flow and demands for testing, as well as the limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Whether through video or audio visits, providers are able to address a number of patient concerns using telehealth technology. This limits the number of patients that physicians physically interact with, while also reducing the exposure of patients themselves to other patients and facility equipment, greatly reducing the risk of exposure to coronavirus for all parties involved.

Telehealth has also proven instrumental in managing those who are concerned they might have contracted COVID-19 but are asymptomatic and seeking testing for the disease.

Rather than physically visiting a clinic or hospital and risking exposure to the novel coronavirus, asymptomatic patients (which are conservatively estimated to be up to 30% of the population) can speak to a health care provider via videoconference or by phone to arrange for testing.

A quick call with their provider is often enough to reassure patients that they are healthy and safe, and also represents an ideal opportunity for providers to remind patients about important preventive measures like handwashing, mask-wearing, and social distancing.

Public and Private Insurers Expanding Telehealth Coverage

In addition to making HIPAA regulations more flexible, the federal government has loosened requirements on e-prescribing of controlled substances, and opened up Medicare restrictions on telehealth as well. Both Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) were expanded to include broader coverage for telehealth services.

In April, the Trump Administration released a toolkit providing states with issues to consider as they expand their telehealth capabilities and coverage policies. Many state governments have expanded telehealth in their Medicaid programs and relaxed restrictions around provider licensing, online prescribing, and written consent.

Many states are also requiring private insurance plans to cover and reimburse for telemedicine services in the same way they would in-person care.

Even where not mandated by states, several major health insurance companies have voluntarily expanded telehealth coverage, including more services, patient locations (e.g. home) and modalities (e.g. phone). Other insurers are reducing or eliminating cost sharing for telemedicine; for some plans this applies only to COVID-19-related visits, while for others it applies to any health indication.

To make these services more accessible, some insurers are increasing the numbers of in-network telehealth providers, while others are contracting with telehealth vendors.

The Intersection of Telehealth and Digital Health

A successful patient visit to the providers office is dependent upon the measurement of vital signs and, in some cases, tests being conducted. The effectiveness and quality of care provided via telehealth also depends on these critical in-office tasks.

Rivaling the explosion of telehealth, digital health is experiencing its own dramatic growth in its ability to enable remote monitoring and testing. Real-time blood pressure readings, glucose measurement, medication compliance, weight, and cardiovascular performance can now be captured on both wearables and in-home devices.

Increasingly telehealth services are offering integrations into digital health, thereby enabling more timely and efficient quality care.

Telehealth and 5G

If the coronavirus pandemic has been the catalyst to jumpstarting adoption of telehealth technologies, 5G will be the fuel that catapults it into the future.

Critical to any telehealth technology is a network that can support high-quality video in real time. To date, this has mostly meant wired networks. The coming 5G revolution, which promises mobile data speeds that far outperform the fastest home broadband currently available to consumers, will mean that telehealth can be delivered anywhere to anyone.

5G will mean that patients can be treated sooner and get access to specialists currently not available to them. It will also allow doctors and other staff members to collaborate more efficiently.

According to a recent op-ed co-authored by the president of the New York State healthcare association and president of the New York State Medical Society:

“5G…will not only advance telemedicine — it will transform the future delivery of healthcare and every aspect of modern life, from basic interpersonal and business communication to transportation, economic development and education.”

With 5G, patients will be able to use a wide array of devices at home to real-time data to their physicians, including blood pressure, weight, glucose levels, and more. Physicians, in turn, will be able to quickly and securely download and transfer large data files like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, reducing wait times and allowing for the delivery of faster, more comprehensive patient care.

5G will also make emergency medicine more effective and efficient, saving countless lives in the process. First responders will be able to pinpoint locations more quickly and communicate optimal treatment to hospital staff via video conferencing during transit, significantly improving emergency room outcomes.

Telehealth and Direct-to-Patient

For pharmaceutical manufacturers looking to streamline the supply chain and reach patients directly, telehealth is a valuable tool.

Direct-to-patient (DTP) channels leverage e-commerce technology, anticipatory pharmacy services, and fulfillment solutions that include innovative final-mile technology. Add e-prescribing services to the front of this solution and patients can get the brand medication of their choice delivered direct to their doorstep without ever having to leave home.

When telehealth services are built into an e-commerce DTP channel, patients have the option of being seen by a physician as a seamless part of their visit to a pharmaceutical brand’s website.

Via embedded videoconferencing technology, a physician can diagnose the patient after a brief consult and prescribe the medication they need all within the same online experience. A short registration and purchase sequence later and the patient need only wait for the product to be delivered to their home.

For patients, prescribers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers alike, the future of medicine is telehealth. Now that it has redefined health care in the COVID-19 age, bolstered by digital health and 5G technology, telehealth is poised to bring manufacturers closer to patients in ways previously thought unimaginable.

Reach Patients Faster

Our direct-to-patient platform collapses the supply chain and brings manufacturers closer to patients. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach patients faster.

TALK TO AN EXPERT

About Us

At Medvantx, we give pharmaceutical brands a better way to connect with patients who need them: directly and immediately.That’s how we’re Redefining Pharmacy.

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The Definitive Guide to Direct-to-Patient

Everything pharmaceutical manufacturers need to know about direct-to-patient channels.

Listen: Healthcare Logistics in the Age of Coronavirus

Listen: Healthcare Logistics in the Age of Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to every aspect of our modern lives. The closures of businesses and schools have resulted in profound anxieties for the everyday American, but for those in the healthcare industry, the challenges are infinitely more complex. At the heart of these challenges is healthcare logistics.

The demand for healthcare supplies and medicines has never been more vast, immediate, or widespread. The country’s response to the pandemic—and indeed the lives of many thousands of Americans—depends on the ability of transportation and logistics companies to get lifesaving provisions to the hospitals, clinics, and other frontline providers who need them, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In this informative episode of UPS’s Longitudes Radio podcast, Medvantx CEO Rob Feeney sits down with UPS Healthcare President Wes Wheeler to discuss the impact that coronavirus and “black swan” events like it have on the global supply chain.

Healthcare logistics experts with decades of experience between them, Feeney and Wheeler answer questions including:

  • How do we ensure the delivery of healthcare supplies to those who need them most?
  • What strategies should be implemented to expedite coronavirus testing?
  • How is telemedicine meeting the needs of a “shelter in place” society?
  • What lessons from previous pandemics are logisticians tapping into today?

The global healthcare supply chain is complex and highly interdependent, making the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic particularly vexing. Modern technology including direct-to-patient channels and enhanced cold chain solutions have moved healthcare logistics from reactive to proactive, leveraging innovations including AI and machine learning to anticipate needs before they arise.

Wheeler and Feeney look at UPS Healthcare’s visibility, tracking, and management of critical healthcare shipments, and how its partnership with Medvantx is driving direct-to-patient solutions and in-home treatment in the new era of medicine.

With the development of coronavirus vaccines and treatments on an unprecedented fast track, healthcare logistics will be key to world’s evolving response to a crisis of truly historic proportions.

Reach Patients Faster

Our direct-to-patient platform collapses the supply chain and brings manufacturers closer to patients. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach patients faster.

TALK TO AN EXPERT

About Us

At Medvantx, we give pharmaceutical brands a better way to connect with patients who need them: directly and immediately.That’s how we’re Redefining Pharmacy.

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The Definitive Guide to Direct-to-Patient

Everything pharmaceutical manufacturers need to know about direct-to-patient channels.

The Cost of Prescription Abandonment and Non-Adherence

The Cost of Prescription Abandonment and Non-Adherence

Nearly two-thirds of Americans have a prescription for medication. Unfortunately, about half of them don’t take their medications as prescribed.

The problem of prescription abandonment and non-adherence is well known to those in the pharmaceutical industry, but their hard costs to the industry and the healthcare system at large often go overlooked.

The question is, why do so many Americans find it so difficult to fill and take their medications as prescribed? How much do prescription abandonment and non-adherence cost, when all is said and done? And is there a solution to the problem?

In what follows, we take a look at the answers to these questions and explore how direct-to-patient channels can improve prescription abandonment and adherence, leading to better outcomes for patients and increased sales for manufacturers.

Prescription Abandonment

The phenomenon of patients receiving prescriptions from their doctor but never filling them continues to rise. Studies have consistently shown that up to 30 percent of medication prescriptions are never filled by patients.

When it comes to patients with chronic, life-threatening conditions, abandonment is even worse. Research shows that nearly 37 percent of prescriptions written for chronic conditions go unfilled.

The costs of prescription non-adherence are staggering. They result in nearly $300 billion in avoidable health care costs and 125,000 potentially avoidable deaths. It’s a huge amount of unnecessary physical and emotional suffering, financial loss, and premature deaths.

While many factors contribute to these statistics, one of the leading reasons for prescription abandonment is the out-of-pocket cost of medications.

In a survey of 1,000 patients, fully 75 percent received a prescription that ended up costing more than they expected it would. Half of these patients ultimately decided not to fill the prescription because it cost too much when they arrived at the pharmacy.

The research shows that patients are more likely to abandon their prescriptions when cost sharing rises.

69 percent of patients who were commercially insured did not fill their prescriptions when they had to pay more than $250 out of pocket. By comparison, when their out-of-pocket costs were less than $30, only 11 percent of patients abandoned their prescriptions at the pharmacy.

Other analysis found that those patients who did abandon a prescription usually don’t go on to fill a prescription within three months, meaning they’re not opting for lower-cost medications, but simply failing to start their prescribed treatment altogether.

Prescription Non-Adherence

The problem doesn’t stop with patients abandoning prescriptions at the pharmacy. Those who do fill their prescriptions typically take only about half the prescribed doses—whether it’s for a simple infection or a life-threatening disease. Other non-adherence statistics include:

  • Nearly 50 percent of patients with a prescription for a chronic condition like cardiovascular disease stop taking it within the first year.
  • 1 in 5 Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged, and half of these are due to non-adherence.
  • Somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of mentally ill patients take their medication infrequently or not at all.

The research shows that improvement in non-adherence leads to measurable savings in healthcare costs. For every 10 percent improvement in medication adherence, healthcare costs are reduced by up to 29%. Another study showed that every 1 percent improvement in adherence can save about $50 in healthcare spending.

Patients with chronic conditions like hypertension or diabetes who took their medications as prescribed saved an average of between $4,000 and $8,000 per year on healthcare costs.

How Direct-to-Patient Can Help

As we’ve seen, prescription abandonment can largely be attributed to the cost of medication. Sticker shock is increasingly common for patients picking up their medications.

Compounding the problem is the rapidly increasing patient cost sharing for brand medications. Increased use of deductibles and coinsurance in the commercial market mean that patients are responsible for a higher percentage of the cost of treatment than in years past.

There are two ways the impact of cost on prescription abandonment can be mitigated. First is reducing the out-of-pocket costs themselves. Second is increasing pricing transparency for providers and patients at the prescribing stage of the process.

Direct-to-patient channels offer practical solutions to both of these approaches. By eliminating the byzantine complexity and inconvenience of legacy pharmacy channels, direct-to-patient offers ways to reduce the real costs of medications themselves.

And by allowing pharmaceutical manufacturers to set fixed, transparent costs of their brand drugs, direct-to-patient channels give providers and patients access to the true cost of medications at the point of prescription, without the unknown variables of deductibles and co-pays.

Fueled by the convenience of e-commerce, final-mile solutions, and home delivery, direct-to-patient channels eliminate the hassle and mitigate the cost of the traditional supply chain, addressing the problem of abandonment and adherence at its root.

Direct-to-patient offers patients the same prescriptions they used to get by way of a complex and inconvenient process through a branded customer experience meticulously designed for utmost convenience, efficiency, and speed.

Smart checkout technology and easy payment options are optimized for mobile, enabling patients to fill their prescriptions on the go, while custom packaging ensures patient delight the moment their medication arrives, fostering brand loyalty. Automated refills delivered directly to patients’ homes cut down on the current problem of refills going unfilled, while providing a recurring revenue stream for manufacturers.

Research has shown that 68 percent of physicians are interested in receiving notices if patients become non-adherent. The automated and anticipatory pharmacy technology that is central to a comprehensive direct-to-patient platform has the capability of doing just that, keeping doctors informed of patient behavior.

The convenience, efficiency, and transparency of direct-to-patient channels address many of the systemic problems within the traditional pharmacy process that lead to so many patients abandoning their prescriptions and/or not taking them as prescribed.

As more and more patients fill their prescriptions online, direct-to-patient has the potential to improve patient outcomes and measurably cut the significant costs of prescription abandonment and non-adherence to the pharmaceutical industry and the healthcare system at large.

Schedule your Direct-to-Patient consultation today

Reach Patients Faster

Our direct-to-patient platform collapses the supply chain and brings manufacturers closer to patients. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach patients faster.

TALK TO AN EXPERT

About Us

At Medvantx, we give pharmaceutical brands a better way to connect with patients who need them: directly and immediately.That’s how we’re Redefining Pharmacy.

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The Definitive Guide to Direct-to-Patient

Everything pharmaceutical manufacturers need to know about direct-to-patient channels.

Why Brands are Leaving Amazon (And What it Means for Drug Companies)

Why Brands are Leaving Amazon (And What it Means for Drug Companies)

Nike has called it quits with Amazon. Effective November 2019, the athletic giant said it will no longer sell its products on the world’s largest e-commerce website. Thus ended a pilot program started in 2017 wherein Nike acted as a wholesaler to Amazon, instead of just allowing third-party merchants to sell its products on the site. In a statement, Nike said:

“As part of Nike’s focus on elevating consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships, we have made the decision to complete our current pilot with Amazon Retail. We will continue to invest in strong, distinctive partnerships for Nike with other retailers and platforms to seamlessly serve our consumers globally.”

Wow. Nike’s estimated annual sales on Amazon amounted to almost $3.3B in 2019, or 30% of its global revenues. And Nike isn’t alone in its decision to part ways with Amazon. The growing list of brands breaking ties with Bezos and company includes Ikea, Birkenstock, Ralph Lauren, Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Patagonia, and North Face. It looks like a new megatrend has started.

So, why are all of these global brands deciding to leave Amazon? And what does it mean for pharmaceutical manufacturers in the new era of digital pharmacy where Amazon is set to be a major player?

Let’s take a closer look.

The Amazon Exodus

Until recently, most major retail brands depended on Amazon to sell online. As the largest online marketplace, Amazon makes up more than half of all online sales in the U.S.

Of interest, the majority of products listed on Amazon are not actually Amazon products. Rather, they come from third-party sellers, who pay a fee to stock Amazon’s shelves with their products.

In 2007, only 26% of the products that were sold on Amazon came from third-party sellers. Today, that figure has doubled, as more than half of all Amazon products are from third-party sellers.

Nike’s ostensible move toward “more direct, personal relationships” with its customers is one reason it left Amazon. But it’s certainly not the whole story.

Brands have long complained that Amazon isn’t doing enough to curtail the widespread problem of counterfeit products available on its site. A marketplace awash in cheap knockoffs of their products is not a place where brands are highly incentivized to sell. In fact, Amazon has a history of helping generic products become category leaders only to be replaced by the Amazon brand once successful.

Beyond the counterfeit problem, though, is Amazon’s strict control over branding, merchandising models, pricing and data. The inability of companies to control their brand and dictate their own prices on Amazon can commoditize the value of their products in the wider global marketplace. The consumer is trained to see Amazon and not the actual manufacturer product’s brand.

Another glaring problem for retailers who sell through the Amazon marketplace is that Amazon maintains a stranglehold on all of their customer data.

Regardless of whether brands use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or not, they are still ultimately responsible for customer satisfaction, despite the fact that Amazon essentially owns the customer relationship.

Ultimately, the downsides of selling on Amazon have begun to outweigh the benefits for a growing number of the world’s top brands.

The question is, what does the growing Amazon exodus mean for pharmaceutical manufacturers?

Drug companies will soon be faced with the same decision that brands like Nike and Ikea have had to make: sell their products on Amazon or develop independent online channels to reach customers directly?

Let’s look at what each of these options entails.

Amazon Pharmacy

With its acquisition of PillPack in 2018, Amazon now has pharmacy licenses in all 50 U.S. states. And no fewer than 85% of Amazon Prime’s 100 million members say they’re ready to start filling their prescriptions on Amazon.

Amazon’s access to all of that consumer data has the potential to fundamentally change the pharmacy industry. In the coming decade, the Prime algorithm could replace PBMs and retailers altogether. Hyper-targeted marketing based on a prescription history could redraw the boundaries of patient privacy.

Amazon’s algorithmic approach has a tendency to commoditize the brands in the industries it enters. In the wake of the now-familiar Amazon Effect, brands are incentivized to cut costs in a race to the bottom.

Generic alternatives make the pharmaceutical marketplace particularly ripe for an extreme version of the commoditization inherent to the Amazon Effect. In the Amazon model, pharmaceutical brands risk losing the brand equity they’ve spent billions of dollars to build over the lifespan of each brand franchise.

A Move Toward Independence

The list of companies leaving Amazon doesn’t end with large global retail brands like Nike and North Face. Smaller mom-and-pop brands are joining the exodus as well, thanks to a growing crop of services that lets them run independent online stores with many of the same features as Amazon.

Retailers today can farm out every step of the online store process—from shipping to returns and even one-day delivery. Services like Shopify, Stripe, Returnly, ShipBob and DarkStore are freeing retailers from the clutches of Amazon.

Pharmaceutical brands have similar options when it comes to determining their fate in the Amazon era of online pharmacy. A growing number of direct-to-patient (DTP) providers are giving manufacturers independent ways to engage patients directly.

Direct-to-patient is a fundamentally different approach to the traditional pharmacy supply chain. The traditional supply chain is rife with complexities, intermediaries, and inefficiencies. DTP collapses the supply chain and connect with patients directly—without the need for costly and inefficient middlemen.

In addition to giving drug companies independent ways to avoid the commoditization of Amazon and retain valuable patient data, direct-to-patient also offers solutions to two of the most existential threats that any pharmaceutical brand has to face: loss of exclusivity (LOE) and PBM formulary exclusion.

By giving manufacturers an independent way to connect with patients directly, direct-to-patient ensures that patients continue to have access to the brand drugs they know and trust, even when those drugs lose their patents or are blocked by formularies.

Not all direct-to-patient brands are created equal, however. When selecting a DTP partner, pharmaceutical manufacturers are advised to look closely at which offer proven, scalable platforms complete with pharmacy licensure and robust logistics, and which are just e-commerce telehealth providers.

The Future of Pharmacy

As pharmacy moves inexorably towards a future in which every stage of the patient journey will transpire online—a future dominated by Amazon’s presence in the industry—pharmaceutical manufacturers have a choice to make.

Accept their fate as just another commoditized product in the Amazon marketplace, competing against Amazon-brand generics at Amazon-brand prices, or secure an independent future where they can continue to leverage the brand equity they’ve built investing billions of dollars into each of their brand franchises?

The former scenario will be the future for drug companies who don’t secure independent ways to connect with patients directly. The latter will be the reality for pharmaceutical brands who invest in direct-to-patient channels, especially those that include dedicated e-commerce websites, anticipatory pharmacy services, and innovative final-mile delivery.

Specifically designed to bolster patient choice and enhance patient experience, direct-to-patient is how tomorrow’s pharmaceutical brands will connect with the patients who need them: efficiently, personally, directly.

Schedule your Direct-to-Patient consultation today

Reach Patients Faster

Our direct-to-patient platform collapses the supply chain and brings manufacturers closer to patients. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach patients faster.

TALK TO AN EXPERT

About Us

At Medvantx, we give pharmaceutical brands a better way to connect with patients who need them: directly and immediately.That’s how we’re Redefining Pharmacy.

LEARN MORE

The Definitive Guide to Direct-to-Patient

Everything pharmaceutical manufacturers need to know about direct-to-patient channels.

Direct-to-Patient Brands: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Direct-to-Patient Brands: A Side-by-Side Comparison

As the frictionless economy defined by brands like Uber, Postmates, and Amazon continues its advance into every corner of the consumer experience, more and more patients are filling their prescriptions online.

In 2014, the global online pharmacy market was estimated to be worth roughly $29 billion. By 2023, it’s predicted the market will reach around $128 billion. It should come as no surprise, then, that it feels like a new direct-to-patient (DTP) pharmacy program emerges every week.

Telehealth companies like Hims, Roman, and Nurx are cashing in on pharmacy’s entry into the frictionless economy with smartly designed e-commerce websites featuring streamlined user experiences.

Online physician consults and customer service chat bot capabilities remove the friction of awkward doctors’ visits, while slick, private equity-backed marketing campaigns and custom-branded packaging create a personalized patient experience.

Many of these brands are breathing new life into multi-source generics by rebranding them under their own name. Others focus on specific disease states or offer digital versions of the traditional pharmacy experience.

Still others are B2B models, playing a supporting role for the more consumer-facing brands or, in unique cases like Medvantx, offering an integrated, comprehensive model that caters directly to pharmaceutical manufacturers themselves.

Of course, any survey of the direct-to-patient landscape would be woefully incomplete without a mention of the proverbial elephant in the room. With its acquisition of PillPack—and the company’s pharmacy licensure in all 50 U.S. states — Amazon has laid the groundwork for a DTP prescription marketplace that has the potential to redefine pharmacy marketing and retail entirely.

So, what does the wide-ranging current crop of direct-to-patient brands mean for pharmaceutical manufacturers? Each represents either a unique threat or an imminent opportunity for drug companies, as the consumer landscape continues to be redefined by the frictionless economy.

To help, we’ve compiled a side-by-side comparison of some of the nation’s top DTP brands, looking at a range of critical attributes and offerings.

When looking for partners to help design, develop, and execute their direct-to-patient strategies, manufacturers are advised to look closely at which companies offer proven, scalable pharmacy platforms and licensure and which are just e-commerce telehealth providers.

Some direct-to-patient brands have retail pharmacies in addition to online prescription fulfillment capabilities. Some have robust logistics platforms, including final-mile home delivery.

Noteworthy also is accreditation as a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS) by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), which confirms pharmacies as meeting strict standards of compliance and security.

The Direct-to-Patient Competitive Grid

Direct-to-patient platforms give manufacturers powerful ways to leverage brand loyalty, compete against the rise of rebranded generics, and avoid the commoditization of the forthcoming Amazon prescription marketplace.

But it’s clear that not all DTP brands are the same.

By partnering with the right direct-to-patient platform, manufacturers can bypass legacy channels, avoid the hassles of formulary exclusion, and reach patients upstream of competing platforms, with a personalized experience centered on convenience and patient delight.

Schedule your Direct-to-Patient consultation today

Reach Patients Faster

Our direct-to-patient platform collapses the supply chain and brings manufacturers closer to patients. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach patients faster.

TALK TO AN EXPERT

About Us

At Medvantx, we give pharmaceutical brands a better way to connect with patients who need them: directly and immediately.That’s how we’re Redefining Pharmacy.

LEARN MORE

The Definitive Guide to Direct-to-Patient

Everything pharmaceutical manufacturers need to know about direct-to-patient channels.

Why Invest in Direct-to-Patient?

Why Invest in Direct-to-Patient?

The pharmaceutical industry is changing by the minute. Regulations and restrictions are constantly evolving, generics await the expiration of every patent, and with its purchase of PillPack (and its pharmacy licenses in all 50 US states), Amazon has officially entered the industry.

These industry changes are largely driven by two paradigmatic shifts. The first is the healthcare industry’s move to more patient-centric models of care. Patients today have more choice than ever and value-based care means that patient satisfaction and health outcomes matter. The second shift at hand is the larger consumer marketplace transition to a frictionless economy.

Consumers today expect nothing less than a frictionless experience. The time it takes to realize a need, find a product to fulfill that need, and purchase that product has been reduced to seconds. The subsequent time it takes to have that product materialize on one’s doorstep without ever leaving home is now measured in minutes. Any area of friction within the customer journey risks the customer going elsewhere for their purchase.

The frictionless economy is a generational shift that will define the buying practices of tomorrow’s customers. The trend is only going to accelerate in the years to come. How can pharmaceutical manufacturers hope to survive in a new era of pharmacy where patients expect their prescriptions to be filled and delivered direct to their home in just hours? With independent direct-to-patient solutions.

Direct-to-patient is how tomorrow’s pharmaceutical brands will connect with the patients who need their medications. Efficiently, immediately, personally. Let’s take a look at what a direct-to-patient platform includes and why manufacturers would be wise to invest in one.

What is Direct-to-Patient?

The traditional pharmacy supply chain is rife with complexities, intermediaries, and inefficiencies. From loss of exclusivity to formulary exclusion, pharmaceutical manufacturers are subject to the whims of forces beyond their control when trying to get their products into the hands of patients who need them.

Direct-to-patient (DTP) offers manufacturers an alternative to the traditional supply chain. Leveraging e-commerce technology, anticipatory pharmacy services, and fulfillment solutions that include innovative final-mile technology, DTP collapses the supply chain and enables manufacturers to connect with patients directly.

These three components—e-commerce, pharmacy, and fulfillment—are the foundation of a direct-to-patient platform. When fully integrated and powered by the right logistics partner, they can give manufacturers the power to reach patients anywhere in just hours.

1. E-Commerce

E-commerce solutions include everything from strategic marketing that builds product awareness to UX-driven websites that maximize conversion. These elements are designed to boost brand awareness and amplify customer engagement with powerful strategies dedicated to online sales.

2. Pharmacy

Pharmacy services are an essential part of any direct-to-patient platform. They enable you to streamline patient engagement, reimbursement, and reporting with nationwide reach. Fully automated and streamlined by anticipatory logistics, direct-to-patient pharmacy services are an alternative to the fragmented and overly complex traditional pharmacy process.

3. Fulfillment

The final piece to the direct-to-patient puzzle is fulfillment. A fully integrated component of a direct-to-patient platform, fulfillment solutions give manufacturers the power to reach patients faster with anticipatory logistics, home delivery, and final mile services.

Why Invest in Direct-to-Patient?

From reaching patients faster and more efficiently to overcoming the challenges of loss of exclusivity or an NDC block, there’s no shortage of reasons why direct-to-patient is a great investment for pharmaceutical manufacturers. Let’s look a little more closely at some of DTP’s most valuable benefits.

A direct-to-patient program can help you…

Reach Patients Faster

A dedicated direct-to-patient platform lets you reach more patients faster and grow your market share. By taking control over the supply chain and eliminating costly and inefficient middlemen, DTP can help you get products into patients’ hands in a quick, seamless, and customer-friendly way.

Improve Abandonment and Adherence

Studies have shown that fully a third of all new prescriptions written by physicians for the treatment of patients with chronic diseases are never filled. The research says that much of this abandonment rate can be attributed to the byzantine complexity and inconvenience of today’s pharmacy process. Fueled by the convenience of e-commerce and innovative final mile solutions, direct-to-patient eliminates the hassle of the traditional supply chain, addressing the problem of abandonment and adherence at its root.

Take Back Control Post-LOE

Loss of exclusivity (LOE) doesn’t have to be the end of the line for brand drugs and the patients that rely on them for improved quality of life. A direct-to-patient program lets manufacturer take back control over access to their products post-LOE. Manufacturers continue to generate revenue post-LOE and patients enjoy convenient, reliable access to the medication they need.

Give Patients the Power of Choice

A direct-to-patient platform gives you the power to support brand-loyal patients who want continued access to your product after it’s been blocked by a formulary or stymied by generic alternatives. Patients enjoy convenient, reliable access to the medication they need, and manufacturers continue to generate revenue. It’s a win-win solution.

Compete in the Era of Online Pharmacy

Consumers have come to expect frictionless e-commerce and fast, free delivery for nearly everything they buy. This increasingly includes their prescriptions. Direct-to-patient gives manufacturers an independent way to compete in an online marketplace that gets evermore crowded with pseudo-pharmacies and telehealth brands offering rebranded generics and convenient e-commerce experiences.

Leverage Brand Equity

The rebranded generics offered by the growing crop of online pseudo-pharmacies and telehealth brands represent a real threat to manufacturers, but within that threat exists a valuable opportunity. Manufacturers, after all, have one thing that new companies don’t have: brand equity. And brand equity is a powerful thing. Direct-to-patient lets manufacturers leverage their brand equity with tools to engage and serve brand-loyal patients directly.

Improve Patient Experience

Direct-to-patient offers patients the same prescriptions they used to get by way of a complex and inconvenient traditional pharmacy process through a branded customer experience meticulously designed for utmost convenience. Smart checkout technology and easy payment options are optimized for mobile, enabling patients to fill their prescriptions on the go, while custom packaging ensures patient delight the moment their medication arrives.

Is Direct-to-Patient Right for My Brand?

How can you know if a direct-to-patient program is right for your product? There are many scenarios where DTP is a good fit. The following are a couple of the most common:

Your Drug Has Been Blocked by a Formulary

You’ve found out that your product has landed on a formulary exclusion list. Do you have a plan in place for getting the drug to patients who need it? A direct-to-patient program can let you skip the formulary and connect with brand-loyal patients directly. It’s a reliable alternative to an increasingly unreliable traditional supply chain. Direct-to-patient is helping pharmaceutical manufacturers overcome the challenge of NDC blocks.

Your Drug is Facing Loss of Exclusivity

According to the a recent survey, $8.3 billion of small molecule sales were at risk due to loss of exclusivity in 2018. LOE may be inevitable, but it no longer has to mean such a catastrophic loss of revenue for drug companies. Direct-to-patient gives you the power to support brand-loyal patients who want continued access to your brand medication. Continued patient access means continued revenue post-LOE.

The Takeaway

Driven by e-commerce, streamlined by anticipatory pharmacy, and delivered by innovative fulfillment solutions, a fully integrated direct-to-patient platform is a powerful, independent way for pharmaceutical manufacturers to leverage brand loyalty in a new industry paradigm defined by patient choice and frictionless commerce.

Direct-to-patient lets manufacturers take control back from drug formularies and competing generics, and offer patients a new way to access the medications they know and trust. Why invest in direct-to-patient? In a consumer landscape that changes by the day and becomes increasingly unaccommodating to the traditional pharmacy supply chain, the real question seems to be, why wouldn’t manufacturers invest in an innovative, independent solution?

Schedule your Direct-to-Patient consultation today

Reach Patients Faster

Our direct-to-patient platform collapses the supply chain and brings manufacturers closer to patients. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach patients faster.

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About Us

At Medvantx, we give pharmaceutical brands a better way to connect with patients who need them: directly and immediately.That’s how we’re Redefining Pharmacy.

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The Definitive Guide to Direct-to-Patient

Everything pharmaceutical manufacturers need to know about direct-to-patient channels.

Medvantx Pharmacy at UPS Louisville Facility Completes Significant Expansion

Medvantx Pharmacy at UPS Louisville Facility Completes Significant Expansion to Meet Increasing Demand for Direct-to-Patient Prescription Orders

Medvantx ‘end of runway’ fulfillment operations within UPS Supply Chain Solutions campus has surpassed $3.7 billion in pharmaceutical inventory management

San Diego, January 13, 2020 – Medvantx, Inc., a leading provider of ecommerce pharmacy and final-mile delivery solutions, today announced a major expansion and technology upgrades of its embedded, end-of-runway pharmacy at the UPS Supply Chain Solutions campus in Louisville, KY. The expansion doubles Medvantx’s pharmacy space to support the company’s continued growth; Medvantx recently surpassed $3.7 billion in pharmaceutical inventory management annually.

The location of the Medvantx end-of-runway pharmacy, adjacent to the UPS Worldport® global air hub, enables the company to fill prescriptions and ship medicines for expedited delivery to patients or doctors’ offices via the UPS air network. With an order cutoff time of 1AM ET, Medvantx has one of the industry’s most comprehensive shipping capabilities.

“As Medvantx undergoes tremendous growth, an agile, scalable and best-in-class supply chain is absolutely critical,” said Robert J Feeney, Jr., CEO of Medvantx. “Our pharmacy services at UPS Supply Chain Solutions, combined with our innovative relationship with UPS staff, help provide Medvantx with the resources needed to meet consumer expectations for more rapid, on-time delivery of medications.”

Medvantx’s expanded pharmacy space is fully licensed and cGMP-compliant, and supports a full range of distribution and warehousing services — including secured storage, packaging and labeling — for temperature-sensitive healthcare products such as specialty pharma and controlled substances.

“Direct-to-patient services are a growing trend,” said Wes Wheeler, president of UPS Healthcare and Life Sciences. “We are pleased to help customers like Medvantx meet specialized, priority needs for critical therapies with a robust supply chain that enables better health and business growth.”

“Speed to therapy can be a significant contributor to patient engagement and adherence, especially for patients beginning a new drug regimen,” Feeney added. “One of our goals at Medvantx is to increase our fulfillment and delivery speed to foster greater adherence for patients.”

About Medvantx, Inc. Medvantx, Inc., partners with pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies to bring medicines to patients with a direct-to patient platform that streamlines delivery, minimizes cost and enhances the patient experience. Managing the entire process from end to end, Medvantx offers e-commerce solutions, pharmacy services and innovative final-mile fulfillment. Licensed

in all 50 states and handling more than $7.5 billion in prescriptions annually, Medvantx has been redefining pharmacy for over 15 years.

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Media contact:

Anne King
King PR Anne.king@kingpr.net
646 281 5229