Marsh & McLennan Agency Blog

2018’s Top Ten Drugs

Humira, AbbVie’s TNF inhibitor, will lead the pack again in 2018 with an expected $20 B in sales, the first drug to ever pass that threshold.  It will more than double the sales of Revlimid which holds the number two spot at $9.2 B in sales. Not surprisingly, five of the top ten spots belong to cancer treatments and the remaining are medications for diseases of the retina, auto immune disease and a blood clots.










For more information on how we can help you with your pharmacy solutions, please contact us today!

Source: 2018’s Best-Sellers? AbbVie’s Humira, Obviously, but Newcomers are on Their Way

Pharma CEO: “Contribution to Science Watered Down Without Action on Cost”

At a recent health care conference David Ricks, Eli Lilly CEO, shared his thoughts around the mounting criticism the pharma industry is facing around cost.  Speaking on the topic he stated, “If you look at where we are as an industry, there has never been a better time for science…that’s the good news.”  On using innovation as an excuse for sky high prices Ricks said the industry, “can’t just keep saying that and do nothing on the affordability side. We need to do more.”

It is well documented that pharma’s pricing has been and will continue to be under the microscope of consumers and regulators. In response to some major pricing controversies of late, payers have tightened the reigns on new drug launches by making manufacturers prove drug values and politicians continue to promise a crackdown on price hikes.  Ricks praised efforts of the Food and Drug Administration to boost competition and calibrate the “balance between reward for innovation and access.”  So what are possible solutions?  Ricks offered two:

Value-Based Drug Pricing

Value-based drug pricing means the price of a drug reflects its benefits in terms of improved quality of life and longevity. In practice this means regulated assessments of the value of new drugs to set their prices.  While the concept has taken off in Europe, America has just tipped its toe in the water.  Today about one in four health plans have one outcomes-based contract with a drug maker tying health outcomes to payment.

Rebate Passthroughs

While consumers currently do not benefit from the rebates that are shared between insurers, PBMs and pharma, plan sponsors can with the right contract language an expert at their side.  MMA Rx Solutions offers expertise on negotiating transparent contract terms including passthrough pricing if it is in the best financial interest of the client.

While there is still much to be desired from pharma as it relates to cost, MMA Rx Solutions clients have peace of mind in knowing they receive the best pharmacy deal available to them in the market as well as financial protection should their PBM underperform on contract terms.

For more information on how we can help you with your pharmacy solutions, please contact us today!


Lilly CEO: With Pharma Friends in High Places, It’s “Time for Action” to Ease Drug Costs

As Drug Prices Soar, Value-Based Pay Hits Pharmaceutical Industry

The CVS-Aetna Merger – Key Thoughts

On December 3, after much speculation, CVS Health announced its plans to acquire Aetna – a $69 billion acquisition and the largest health provider merger in history.  The announcement touted the new company’s plans to revolutionize the industry by providing individualized, integrated and less-expensive healthcare given their newly gained access to both medical and pharmacy data.  CVS Health President and Chief Executive Officer Larry J. Merlo stated, “We will create a health care platform built around individuals. We look forward to working with the talented people at Aetna to position the combined company as America’s front door to quality health care, integrating more closely the work of doctors, pharmacists, other health care professionals and health benefits companies to create a platform that is easier to use and less expensive for consumers.”  So what does the formation of this mega-company that combines an insurer, pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) and retail pharmacy truly mean for the industry?  Here are some key thoughts:

The Significance of Timing

It is no coincidence that the news of the CVS-Aetna merger comes on the heels of Anthem’s announcement of plans to partner with CVS to form a new PBM as well as a rumored move by to throw its hat into the pharmacy ring.  Given rumored shake ups in the industry, the message behind this merger is clear – CVS is looking to gain more market share by boosting foot traffic in its retail locations, offering a wider breadth of services to clients and increasing the number of members served by its PBM arm.  The acquisition of Aetna allows it to do all three. Continue reading…

Are You Ready for Robotics in Health Care?

While there are those who have expressed concerns that machines will replace people in the workforce, the benefits of using robotics in health care are enticing. Machines never need to eat, or sleep, making them the perfect round-the-clock caregiver. And imagine a health care worker that is not judgmental or prejudicial and how that might make a tremendous difference in the way that sick people are treated. Planning and preparation can go a long way toward ensuring the human touch stays relevant in medicine while taking advantage of the benefits of robotic allies. Continue reading…

Employee Benefits in 2018: Riding Out The Storm

For those in the employee benefits arena, 2017 was a year of market chaos, regulatory uncertainty, consumer confusion, and technological complexity.

2018 may be more of the same.

But both employers and brokers can take some comfort from their experience with the twists and turns of recent months—knowing that the hard-won lessons of tumultuous times will come in handy in 2018. New innovations, new technologies, and a new emphasis on
education and communication may be reshaping the benefits world in ways that will have long-term positive effects.

Read the full document now…

2017 ACA Reporting Guide

There were numerous legislative efforts by the Trump administration in 2017 to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, including retroactively eliminating the individual and employer shared responsibility mandates. As part of the recently passed tax reform law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the individual mandate penalty was repealed beginning in 2019. However, that law does not include a repeal of the employer mandate. Nor does it repeal the employer reporting requirements. Employers should be prepared to respond to any IRS penalty letters and continue to prepare for 2017 reporting (in 2018).

Download the full ACA Reporting Guide now…

Property & Casualty Overview for 2018 Planning

The property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry continues to face economic and marketbased challenges. New risks demand coverage; catastrophes are surfacing in unexpected ways and experience shifts are driving casualty lines’ capital needs. In this current environment of disruption and dynamic innovation, managers must analyze all factors in order to adapt to changing opportunities. The understanding of insurance risk requires review of many cyclical drivers, some of which affect costs, while others affect revenue. An understanding of the investment environment is also crucial. In this article, we will explore the P&C industry’s operating performance, historical balance sheet and capitalization to provide insight into industry trends for strategic decision making.

Read the full overview now…

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations for 2017

A new entry emerged in the Top 10 list of OSHA’s most frequently cited violations for fiscal year 2017, joining the ranks of a rarely altered field.

Assessing the addition of Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503) at No. 9, Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, treated the matter with the same urgency reserved for the list’s usual suspects.

“Many of these violations were specifically related to training requirements and ensuring that a training program for each employee who may be exposed to fall hazards is established,” Kapust told Safety+Health. “Often, these violations occurred in the roofing, framing and residential modeling industries.

Read the full article now…

Will the Internet of Things Save Us from Intersection Accidents?

Most intersections today are controlled by traffic signals, stop signs or roundabouts. However, even when people do follow these protocols, intersections are still the source of many traffic jams and accidents. Even though they take up a small percentage of our roadways, roughly one-quarter of all accidents and one-third of all fatal accidents occur at intersections.

What would happen if these drivers were computers, not humans? It is now apparent that autonomous vehicles are well on their way to becoming a reality. At first they will need to follow the same intersection control protocols that were designed for human drivers. But once most vehicles on the road are autonomous, can we do better at managing intersections by using an autonomous intersection (AI) based mechanism? Continue reading…

Top Four New Year’s Resolutions and How to Protect Your Identity

The transition to a new year is a time for self-reflection. Many attempts to become a better you, however, can jeopardize your identity. Follow these tips to protect your information:

Get in shape. Ready to hit the gym and search for your elusive six-pack abs? When you apply for membership, be cautious about how much personal information you give. If you are required to provide a Social Security number or copy of your driver’s license, don’t be afraid to ask how the gym keeps that information safe.