Experts: COVID May Cause Permanent Rx Delivery Changes
Industry experts expect the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic crisis, in addition to the trend of vertical integration in the PBM sector, will increase those companies’ direct interaction with consumers. The crisis has so far spared the margins of insurance companies, but it has forced patients to change their behavior toward medicine as jobs are lost and quarantine becomes a way of life.
The recent wave of payer acquisitions of PBMs has kept the latter on strong footing despite the crisis. CVS Health Corp.’s Caremark, UnitedHealth Group’s OptumRx and Cigna Corp.’s Express Scripts control approximately 74% of the market, according to a January 2020 estimate by Drug Channels Institute CEO Adam Fein, Ph.D. Each parent company posted strong first-quarter 2020 results and maintained its earnings guidance through the rest of the year.