Express Scripts to launch stand-alone digital health formulary in 2020

The pharmacy benefit manager will be vetting each of the tools featured within the new formulary for therapeutic value, usability, security, privacy and cost effectiveness.
By Dave Muoio
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Express Scripts will be releasing a stand-alone formulary in 2020 that highlights vetted digital health tools for the pharmacy benefit management firm’s payer and consumer customers, according to an announcement released this morning.

The company said that it will be treating the new formulary in much the same way it would a similar resource for traditional medications. To be included, a digital health device or software tool will be reviewed by physicians, pharmacists and other experts who will gauge the product’s clinical outcomes, therapeutic value, effective usability, security and privacy standards, and cost effectiveness.

Express Scripts’ digital health formulary will first focus on prevention and management tools for diabetes and cardiovascular, behavioral and pulmonary conditions, with support for more chronic and complex conditions to come.

WHAT’S THE IMPACT

In its announcement, Express Scripts outlined four major benefits it hopes the formulary will bring its customers:

  • Reassurance that a digital health product has been objectively vetted for clinical use and deployment;
  • Reduced burden in terms of contracting and managing digital health companies;
  • Reduced costs due to the scale and purchasing power of the pharmacy benefit manager; and
  • Establishment of a new pathway for prescription-only digital therapeutics looking to enter the market.

“We are in an exciting age when technology is giving people even greater control of their own health and well-being. However, much of this technology is still emerging, and there are many digital health solutions that require clinical review and validation,” Mark Bini, VP of innovation and member experience at Express Scripts, said in a statement. “We see a need to put mechanisms in place to help carefully manage these innovations, and are proud to lead again by being the first health services organization to establish a formulary of this nature. This formulary will help ensure developers do right by payers and consumers, while increasing patient access to technology that can help improve their health.”

WHAT’S THE TREND

The calls for digital therapeutic validation have been growing nearly as fast as the market itself, with providers and industry members alike looking to establish accountability across the heterogeneous landscape of digital health. New partnerships with established pharma players has earned some of these novel treatments recognition and a path to market, although such collaborations are not always without their challenges.

ON THE RECORD

“In addition to helping payers manage currently available digital health solutions, our digital health formulary lays the groundwork to manage new solutions and tools that have yet to be invented,” Bini said. “We want to create a level playing field for inventors and entrepreneurs to encourage continued innovation in this space, and to ensure a pathway to deliver those innovations to patients with assured safety, accuracy and affordability.”

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