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ComputerTalk: How does the reality of drug price changes differ from the conventional wisdom?

Trygve Anderson Elsevier VP of Commercial Pharmacy
Trygve Anderson

Trygve Anderson: Medication use continues to rise in the United States, with Americans filling 5.8 billion prescriptions in 2018, according to IQVIA. That amazing statistic was the impetus that got Elsevier started on a project to analyze our own drug database around drug pricing. For most of us, we seem to focus on “This drug now costs x as of some date y” and rarely do we step back and take a macro view. This project gave us the opportunity to do that.

We discovered that 4.5 million price changes were processed in 2018, including all publicly available price types. If we break that down a bit, that means on average there were more than 12,000 price changes every day.

As we dug into the data, we also discovered another surprising fact. Historically, January 1 has long been assumed to be the busiest day of the year for drug price changes. It isn’t! We found the busiest day is March 1. The next two busiest days by volume were June 1 and September 1.

One interesting point is that price changes often fell on a Saturday — a traditional non-business day for many companies.

Our study shows that 28% of all drug price changes occur Friday through Sunday. When we factor in that approximately 70% of all price changes arrive after 3 p.m., the Friday price changes are essentially weekend changes. This point represents over 2 million price changes occurring on the weekend and on holidays.

ComputerTalk: What’s the impact for pharmacies, when they can’t keep up with price changes?

Anderson: Given that timeliness is critical to accuracy, it is not hard to imagine the impact on a business if you are using outdated pricing data. With all this dynamic data, relying on a pricing source that can deliver changes fast and accurately in order to be current is absolutely necessary. Drug pricing that lags for days or even weeks is unacceptable in today’s world, as it can lead to misguided analysis and inaccurate reimbursements, and in the long run will affect financial performance.

ComputerTalk: How does Elsevier help pharmacies create a toolbox to address price changes?

Anderson: Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database’s pricing offering is an integrated data deliverable that fuels smarter price analysis, business intelligence, and insight to improve operational performance. ProspectoRx is a digital tool for drug pricing analysis and the only pricing tool that provides access to real-time pricing data. We leverage market-leading timeliness, superior price type coverage, and modern data architecture to facilitate actionable business insights.

With ProspectoRx you have immediate access to important pricing data. Our intuitive user interface provides a quick way to build queries into the pharmaceutical industry from the simple to complex. You can save those personalized queries for efficiency and consistency or export the result of your queries for any and all analytics to expand business intelligence capabilities and drive better and more informed pricing decisions.

The Predictive Acquisition Cost (PAC) methodology helps you operate in a complex environment by offering turnkey solutions for solving common drug pricing analytic problems. Using predictive analytics, PAC can provide insight into a drug’s true acquisition cost by establishing a pricing range to help determine the performance of pricing contracts, control costs, solve pricing challenges, and guide reimbursement rates. CT

For more information go to or speak to a drug information specialist. You can also listen to the Elsevier Drug Information Podcast Series at