How I Would Use Generic Lipitor To Improve Mail Order Utilization

The fact that Lipitor is scheduled to go generic towards the end of 2011 is the big news many have been waiting for.  The key question of course is whether payers see immediate savings in pricing or whether the price drop is only minor until there are more manufacturers providing the generic. 

I keep thinking about how to leverage this event in other efforts as a PBM or a pharmacy.  This seems like a great chance to drive to a preferred pharmacy (retail or mail).  If it was me making decisions (and I had my pricing and copays aligned correctly), I would do something like the following:

  • Reach out to all brand Lipitor users before their September / October refill.
  • Offer to refill their medication at no out-of-pocket cost to them (i.e., copay waiver) if they move to mail order (or a preferred pharmacy).
  • Provide them with a conceirge service (i.e., fax their physician to get the new Rx) to make it easy to do.
  • Convert them to the generic when available. 

Yes.  This will cost some money, but the 12-months savings (payer) or increased profit (pharmacy/PBM) should outweigh the costs.  It’s a great opportunity to co-mingle your messages and leverage a market event to everyone’s benefit. 

Of course, this should be only part of your broader strategy around the world’s biggest drug.  Your going to want something that addresses:

  • Inbound IVR messaging
  • Web messaging
  • Mobile application messaging
  • MD communications
  • Messaging integrated into outbound communications (print, call, pharmacy inserts)

This is similar to the control room concept my team designed at Express Scripts years ago around Zocor.

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