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The Active Ingredient features expert insights and commentary from leaders of ZS Associates' global pharmaceuticals practice.

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The CVS/Aetna Merger Got the Greenlight, but Pharma Is Stuck at an Imaginary Red

Posted by Paul Darling on Mon, Oct 15, 2018

CVS Health and Aetna. Cigna and Express Scripts. Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase. Each one of these deals is evidence that corporate America will continue to march into the medical arena, uniting once-distinct healthcare enterprises under one roof. While the long-held divisions between U.S. healthcare stakeholders may be getting hazy, the aim is clear: to deliver convenient, high-quality care to consumers at a lower cost.

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Topics: vertical integration, Paul Darling, artificial intelligence, real-world evidence, digital health tools, pharma business model, health and wellness

Ready for Your Customers to Tear Down Some Walls—and Build Others?

Posted by Paul Darling on Wed, Apr 25, 2018

The walls are coming down throughout the healthcare ecosystem as cross-industry M&A activity continues. From Walmart’s interest in Humana to Cigna’s push for Express Scripts, vertical integration is pairing up pharmacies, payers and PBMs. Healthcare sectors once separated by rigid corporate HQs now will be separated by the flimsy, pushpin-filled walls of office cubicles. Such deals abound across the healthcare landscape, and in corporate America, too, where companies—many of which already act as their own payers—are teaming up with providers to offer in-house healthcare options to employees.

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Topics: vertical integration, healthcare ecosystem, consolidation, value proposition, pharma companies, commercial transformation, B-to-B selling, device manufacturers, new partnerships, Southwest Airlines

Is ‘BerkshAmazMorgan’ Testing a Cure for What Ails US Healthcare?

Posted by Pratap Khedkar on Thu, Mar 29, 2018

Paul Darling co-wrote this blog post with Pratap Khedkar.

This is the second post in a two-part series on the recently announced Berkshire Hathaway/Amazon/JPMorgan Chase healthcare venture. 

The U.S. healthcare system is broken. Most healthcare stakeholders now are willing to admit that, and many are actively trying to fix it—or at least starting to talk about what it would take to do so. Many of the recent consolidations and vertical integrations are the involved parties’ attempts at solving for links in the healthcare chain that they previously had no access to, or influence over. Now three giants from corporate America are looking to wade deeper into healthcare delivery to see if they can make some fixes for their employees—and for themselves.

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Topics: Pratap Khedkar, healthcare, vertical integration, healthcare ecosystem, Paul Darling, Amazon, pharmaceutical ads, data and analytics, data strategy, BerkshAmazMorgan, behavior modification, preventive care, healthcare model, employee health and wellness

What’s ‘BerkshAmazMorgan’ Really Capable Of?

Posted by Howard Deutsch on Tue, Feb 20, 2018

Bill Coyle, Paul Darling and Pratap Khedkar co-authored this post with Howard Deutsch.

This is the first post in a two-part series on the recently announced Berkshire Hathaway/Amazon/JPMorgan Chase healthcare venture. 

Look! Out in the distance! What’s that creature that’s destroying everything in its path? Why, it’s the scariest three-headed monster this side of Cerberus! It’s… it’s… it’s BerkshAmazMorgan! Will any of us be safe from this dreaded, rampaging beast?

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Topics: Bill Coyle, Pratap Khedkar, Health Outcomes, healthcare, vertical integration, healthcare ecosystem, Paul Darling, Howard Deutsch, Amazon, collaboration, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase, corporatization, BerkshAmazMorgan, employees, healthcare costs

The CVS/Aetna Effect: How Pharma Can Prepare for Change

Posted by Paul Darling on Thu, Dec 21, 2017

CVS Health’s proposed purchase of Aetna and UnitedHealth Group’s plan to buy DaVita’s primary care units could bring a sea change for healthcare delivery. They are two examples of the corporatization of healthcare delivery and the broader evolution of the healthcare landscape that’s currently under way. In addition to securing the position of immediate care facilities and pharmacies as first-line healthcare providers—which is expected to continue to reframe the healthcare delivery model as we know it—these deals would affect all corners of the healthcare ecosystem in areas from data and analytics to drug pricing and pharmaceutical customer influence.

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Topics: customer insights, customer engagement, Pharma, vertical integration, healthcare ecosystem, m&a, consolidation, local healthcare market, commercial strategy, CVS/Aetna, healthcare delivery, immediate care facilities

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