14th Annual EMD Serono Specialty Digest™ Educates Health Plans on Latest Trends in Unmet Payer Needs and Patient-Centric Services
- Digest's Launch at 2018 Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit Reveals Increase in Physician Collaboration, Infusion Site-of-Care Programs

ROCKLAND, Mass., April 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada, today announced the launch of the 14th edition of the EMD Serono Specialty Digest™ at the Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit in Las Vegas, NV.  The Digest is an annual industry resource that provides market data on pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) and health insurance plans' management of biopharmaceuticals and identifies common trends occurring across plans. The Digest is available to those who request a copy at https://specialtydigestemdserono.com.

 (PRNewsfoto/EMD Serono)

"This year's Specialty Digest reveals noteworthy findings – particularly the increase of infusion site-of-care programs and rise in physician collaboration for cancer treatment development – that we believe will serve as an important benchmarking tool in this highly complex managed care environment," said Robert Truckenmiller, Senior Vice President, Market Access & Customer Solutions, EMD Serono. "Similar to previous years, our Specialty Digest shares insights on emerging opportunities and management challenges, offering our market access partners an actionable resource to make health plan decisions that better meet the needs of patients."

The 14th edition EMD Serono Specialty Digest outlines the results of a survey of 59 commercial health plans representing nearly 100 million covered lives in 2017.  Among the interesting trends identified this year:

  • Payer Strategies to Manage Specialty Drugs: Since 2013, there was a 135 percent increase in health plans that are using site-of-care programs - hospitals, community offices, ambulatory infusion suites, or home-based settings. Of those that do not have a site-of-care program, more than half plan to implement one in the next 12 months.
  • Challenges and Opportunities in Oncology: Today, 84 percent of plans now collaborate with physicians, including oncologists, to develop cancer treatment pathways, while only 38 percent did so in 2016; Plans are now concentrating on collaborating rather than solely focusing on use of third party organizations and/or internally-developed pathways.
  • Benefits Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Seventy-six percent of plans cover injectable drugs under the pharmacy benefit only. Furthermore, most plans (78 percent) require injectable drugs for MS to be dispensed through a contracted specialty pharmacy provider (SPP).

"Compiling the changes and trends in health plan decision making offers a unique opportunity for decision makers to see the big picture of how plans are impacting care," indicated Kevin Host, Pharmaceutical Strategies Group.  "This year, we were pleased to see an increase in focus on access, goals to improve disease remission rates and other trends that will benefit patients."

Originally developed in 2004 to serve as a reference and benchmarking tool for managed care decision makers, the EMD Serono Specialty Digest has been accessed and used annually by thousands of stakeholders, including health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, employers, specialty pharmacies, and pharmaceutical companies.

Findings are available in the full text of the EMD Serono Specialty Digest, at https://specialtydigestemdserono.com.

About EMD Serono, Inc. 
EMD Serono is the biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada - a leading science and technology company - focused exclusively on specialty care. For more than 40 years, the business has integrated cutting-edge science, innovative products and industry-leading patient support and access programs. EMD Serono has deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as a robust pipeline of potential therapies in oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology as R&D focus areas. Today, the business has 1,300 employees around the country with commercial, clinical and research operations based in the company's home state of Massachusetts. www.emdserono.com

About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany 
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2017, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 15.3 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, holds the global rights to the "Merck" name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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