Prescription Growth Trends March 2010

These charts from IMS and Barclays Capital show 0.9% script growth for 2010 YTD. Retail continues to grow while mail continues to decrease volume.


So, I guess the question is what to make of this.  Is it right? 

  • IMS doesn’t get all the data (e.g., Wal-Mart and I think some mail order data).
  • The independent pharmacies all complain about the PBM’s taking business away.  This would say that’s not true. 

Let’s just take Express Scripts as an example.  In 2004, Express Scripts filled 39.1M mail Rxs out of 437.8M total claims.  In 2009 (after the Curascript, Priority, and MSC acquisitions), Express Scripts filled 41.8M mail and specialty claims out of a total of 530.6M total claims.  So, over 5 years and with lots of effort, the number of mail claims has grown slower than the total claims growth.  Some of this is due to client mix and plan design.  Some of this is due to things like the $4 generic programs at Wal-Mart.  But, how does this gel with the IMS data and the independent pharmacy complaints?

Or, is this due to the increased growth and focus on 90-day retail?

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