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Published: May 20, 2016

Learnings from the 2016 Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit

This year the Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit, previously known as the Armada Specialty Pharmacy Summit, left us with some key learnings. Here are four of my takeaways from Armada, nay, Asembia 2016:

The absence of the PBMs was noticeable and curious.
There were two PBMs with noticeably sparse attendance at this year’s gathering - Express Scripts and Aetna - much to my surprise. This translates into a missed opportunity, for if stakeholders want to make a smooth transition into at-risk based dialogues and developments, PBMs are going to have to be involved.

The conference is growing fast.
This year there were 4,500 attendees, which cannot be a surprise given the fact that the sheer number of specialty drugs increased from 10 in 1990 to 700 that are currently under development. It would make sense that this growth would translate into an increased number of stakeholders as well.

Someone turned up the volume on patients and adherence.
We’re noticing that other healthcare entities are putting the patient experience, adherence and education first. We’ve been emphasizing these points ever since our conception in 2000. It’s nice to see more healthcare conversations in tune with patient-centric practices, policies and conversations.

The payers sound worried.
At the end of the day, payers want to know how their bottom line will be affected by new at-risk contracts and specialty drugs. For next year’s conference, we still have a few questions:

  • Will “at risk” contracts be more than value-based window dressing?
  • Will payers and manufacturers be closer to a relationship in which everyone benefits through improved adherence and patient outcomes?
  • What will limited distribution networks look like 12 months from now?

These are questions for which we will seek answers at Asembia 2017.

To learn more about Curant Health, contact Kristin Lindsey, Marketing Director, at

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