Biosimilars Get Call-Out in PBMs’ 2nd Quarter Earnings Calls

Despite experiencing medical cost trends during the second quarter of 2021 that were much less favorable than they were a year ago, publicly traded health insurers during their recent earnings calls were eager to tout the performance of their pharmacy-related holdings. They placed particular emphasis on how integrated PBMs are poised to mine the cost-saving potential of biosimilar drugs.

“During the quarter, the strength of our Evernorth business was clearly a standout,” Cigna Corp. CEO David Cordani, for example, said during the company’s Aug. 5 conference call with investors to discuss quarterly financial results. Specifically, adjusted revenues for the segment — which includes the PBM Express Scripts — grew 14% year over year to $32.6 billion, and Evernorth’s pretax earnings grew 13% to $1.4 billion.

“Evernorth’s strong results in the quarter were driven by ongoing organic growth, driving both top and bottom line contributions, and continued progress on a range of affordability initiatives for the benefit of our customers and clients,” Chief Financial Officer Brian Evanko said. On the subject of affordability initiatives, Cordani singled out Cigna’s program that incentivizes patients to switch from branded immunosuppressive drug Remicade to various biosimilars.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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