Imagine there are no PBMs. It’s easy if you try


article published in STAT, 8/23/18

Excerpt: “If you doubt that pharmacy benefit managers could go the way of the travel agent, start with this statistic: About 9 out of 10 drug purchases in the United States are for generic medications, and these in the aggregate consume about 15 percent of our annual spending on drugs. Purchasers could buy these directly from the generics manufacturers for about a third of that and just give them away. Next, they could “go direct” for the 1 in 10 branded drug purchases by removing rebates …

What can purchasers do to help the pharmacy benefit manager model go the way of the travel agent? Fight with your wallet.”

Full article can be read HERE.

Data Analytics and Outcomes Based Models to Help Employers Control Their Specialty Drug Spend


interview by Michael Menerey, 7/24/18

Discussed in this episode: the problems with the traditional prior authorization process and how VIVIO Health has changed the process to be a data-driven approach to determining the optimal therapy for the specific patient; how VIVIO Health’s data collection process helps an employer to monitor if the drugs that are being prescribed are actually working and effective; and, much more.

About the Host: Michael Menerey is a Senior Vice President and Benefits Consultant with one of the largest Employee Benefits Brokerage & Consulting firms in the country. He is a partner in the Employee Benefits Practice and works in the Los Angeles office.

Full interview can be listened to HERE.

’60 Minutes’ Was Right About Huge Drug Prices, But Wrong About The Villain


Forbes article featuring CHG and VIVIO Health, 5/11/18

Excerpt: Thurman continued to see the problem of very high-priced drugs as a top priority for her company. She hired a startup company called VIVIO Health to manage CHG’s specialty drugs … VIVIO Health also researches the clinical trials and other data to evaluate options with a patient’s doctor. This sounds obvious, but it’s a step often skipped–even in many cases by the FDA. “It’s just ridiculous,” VIVIO Health CEO Pramod John says. “We are the ones looking under the hood for the first time. We still require evidence and data. And just because for political or other reasons the FDA is going to bypass all standards of evidence we would have had normally, that’s not every employer in America’s problem.”

Full article can be read HERE.

VIVIO Health logo, press release

VIVIO Health customer CHG Healthcare wins Health Value Award



Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2018) – CHG Healthcare, a leading healthcare staffing agency, won a prestigious first place Health Value Award for its work with VIVIO Health to bring down the cost of specialty drugs for its members while improving service and quality.

“VIVIO Health’s specialty solution is exciting and innovative,” says Nicole Thurman, CHG’s Vice President, Talent Management. “They delivered on their dual promise of savings and happier members while helping us change the status quo.”

Full text and photo can be read HERE.

Pramod John, VIVIO Health CEO to speak at World Health Care Congress on April 29, 2018 in Washington DC

VIVIO Health, One Year Later


4/29/18 interview with Mabel Jong, World Congress Correspondent, at World Health Care Congress 2018

Pramod John, VIVIO Health CEO to speak at World Health Care Congress on April 29, 2018 in Washington DC

Preview: VIVIO Health’s 4/29/18 presentation at World Health Care Congress


interview by journalist Mabel Jong, 4/9/18

Excerpt: Mabel Jong: “We spoke last year and I’m very curious about what has happened the past twelve months. What market traction have you been able to experience?”

Pramod John: “We’ve had a great first year. We went from one customer at the beginning of the year to four by the end of the year. We have a strong pipeline because the specialty drug problem has become so troublesome for everyone. All the current solutions on the market still are primarily those that do the same thing, only slightly better. On top of that, things have gotten worse with all the big mergers between PBMs and carriers, meaning no-one’s even working on the problem in this space.”

Full interview can be listened to HERE.

VIVIO Health CEO Pramod John featured on Utah Public Radio

Companies Looking Outside Government Oversight For Lower Drug Prices


interview by Bronson Teichert for Utah Public Radio, 3/13/18

Excerpt: CHG, a 5,000-employee company in Utah provides healthcare staffing. They have turned to a California company, VIVIO Health, to lower pharmaceutical product prices. VIVIO Health compares the cost and quality of medicines available through a variety of prescription drug providers. This approach has dropped CHG’s employee benefit costs for prescription drugs by 30 percent.

“Our company focuses on using market mechanisms and asks the question of what market mechanisms could we use,” said Pramod John, CEO of VIVIO Health.

Full interview can be listened to HERE.

VIVIO Health CEO Pramod John quoted in Market Watch

Cigna’s Express Scripts deal could lead to higher prices


quoted in MarketWatch, 3/9/18

Excerpt: Independent PBMs essentially worked to create consistency in drug pricing and to restrict drug manufacturers from overpricing — though some have also accused the PBMs themselves of causing drug price inflation. But now with this deal and the recent Aetna-CVS merger, that model is gone. And that means consumers could be worse off. “The PBM industry was born because this is a terrible idea,” said Pramod John, CEO of VIVIO Health, a specialty drug management company. “We’re going backward.”

Full article can be read HERE.

VIVIO Health CEO Pramod John quoted in Modern Healthcare

Cigna to buy Express Scripts in $67 billion deal


quoted in Modern Healthcare, 3/8/18

Excerpt: “With all of these insurer-PBM mergers, none of them have shown to benefit the consumer,” said Pramod John, CEO and founder of VIVIO Health, a specialty pharmacy management firm. He added that Optum has some of the highest pricing and is resistant to sharing data. “Now there is less transparency because the lines between payer and provider are being blurred.”

Full article can be read HERE.

Pramod John, VIVIO Health CEO writes article for Benefits Pro

3 Tips to Help Tame the M&A Beast


article published in BenefitsPRO, 2/23/18

Excerpt: “Planning on larger mergers to control costs is a fool’s errand. Take a look at UnitedHealth Group (UHG) which owns UnitedHealthcare (UNH) and OptumRx. The company’s structure and scale is on par with a combined CVS and Aetna. UHG owns one of the largest health plan providers, one of the largest PBMs and continues to aggressively acquire other health care services companies.  Many corporate customers will tell you UNH is one of the most difficult insurers with which to work because of restricted data sharing and lack of transparency. UNH also makes it nearly impossible to use services other than their own. This is not a recipe to control costs and it’s going to get worse …

There are three things each of us as HR benefits professionals can do to help tame the M&A beast. First, insist on transparency.  This starts by making sure intermediaries – insurers and PBMs – never control supplier performance data …”

Full article can be read HERE.

Challenging Oncology Therapies With Moonshot Price Tags


article published as a Lundberg Institute Blog, 12/13/17

Excerpt: “New oncology therapies carry astronomical price tags—most people know this. Receiving far less attention is the question of actual therapeutic value. Drug manufacturers spend billions on advertisements and PR, but unfortunately, real-world patient results are frequently unimpressive.

Why do high-cost oncology therapies with questionable results continue to be prescribed? Let’s examine a situation my company is dealing with right now … ”

Full article can be read HERE.

VIVIO Health places second of thirty companies in TiE Pittsburgh's startup competition

VIVIO Health is a Winner in TiE Award Competition


accepts achievement certificate and $2,500 prize from TiE Pittsburgh, 12/12/17

T.J. Tedesco accepts $2500 award from TiE Pittsburgh for VIVIO Health's second place finish of 30 companies competing in 4th Annual Startup and Showcase

VIVIO Health places second of 30 entrants in TiE Pittsburgh’s 4th Annual Startup and Showcase event

Carving Out Specialty Pharmacy Benefits


interview by Stacey Richter for Relentless Health Value, 12/7/17

Excerpt: Specialty drugs that run through pharmacy benefit managers will soon comprise 50% of pharmacy budgets, even though they represent a small number of Rx’s taken by a small number of patients. Vested interests in the industry have a stake in seeing that this trend continues, as their share price depends on current profit margins and opportunities. Enter VIVIO Health, a new kind of plan with a new kind of carve-out benefit design for specialty pharmaceuticals.

Full interview can be listened to HERE.

What will the CVS-Aetna deal mean for consumers?


appearance on CNBC’s Capital Connection, interview by Nancy Hungerford, 12/4/17

Pramod John, VIVIO Health CEO, CNBC Capital Connection appearance with Nancy Hungerford, December 4, 2017

Click image to watch video clip (2 min, 19 sec)

CVS Health to buy Aetna for around $69 billion


quoted in CNBC, 12/3/17

Excerpt: “These high complex-care cost members, the very, very sick, or the ones that are using expensive drugs, tend to be the highest profit for the industry,” said Pramod John, CEO of VIVIO Health, a specialty pharmacy management firm.

Full article can be read HERE.

What if Amazon Breaks into the Pharmacy Business?


interview by Stacey Richter for Relentless Health Value, 11/2/17

Excerpt: “In this episode, I had the privilege of speaking with Pramod John, who sums up the four structural roadblocks Amazon will face if they decide to gin up a pharmacy division. One of his points I find particularly key – Getting cheap convenient drugs from Amazon is not the point, it’s their huge opportunity to reinvent how Pharmacy works.

VIVIO Health’s solution is challenging the current framework of efficacy and extending it to true effectiveness in the real world. It also offers significant drug acquisition savings and simplicity for the patient by integrating the supply chain into a unified and data driven process.”

Full interview can be listened to HERE.

Managed Healthcare Executive, Pramod John, VIVIO Health CEO Quote

Potential CVS-Aetna merger: Key takeaways for health execs


quoted in Managed Healthcare Executive, 11/1/17

Excerpt: “This is the first significant change to the carrier markets in a long time. This purchase squarely puts CVS Health and Aetna ahead of UnitedHealth Group [M&A activity] on many fronts,” says Pramod John, CEO, VIVIO Health, a specialty drug management company.

“CVS Health and Aetna can now play the same game that UnitedHealth Group has been playing for a long time with both medical/pharmacy coverage and manipulating the numbers on both ends to provide the ‘best’ deal and lock out competitors,” John says.

Full article can be read HERE.

VIVIO Health published in Insurance Thought Leadership Publication

A Test Case on Sanity of Drug Prices


article published in Insurance Thought Leadership, 10/18/17

Excerpts: “American healthcare dwells in never-never land. We have neither explicit price controls through regulation nor implicit controls through a functional market, resulting in the worst of all possible worlds: a system that’s entrenched, opaque and dysfunctional. It gets worse when we narrow our focus on the drug market. We don’t even understand what it is that we are purchasing because buyers neither spend much time understanding drug effectiveness in the real world nor tie effectiveness to payment.

… Mavyret, manufactured by AbbVie is the first example of a new brand name Hepatitis C drug that is actually better for patients and costs far less since Sovaldi hit the market at a price point of $1,000 a pill (never mind you can purchase it for $4 per pill in India).”

Full article can be read HERE.

Pramod John, VIVIO Health CEO writes article for Benefits Pro

Disrupting pharmaceuticals


article published in BenefitsPRO, 8/31/17

Excerpt: “Mavyret, manufactured by AbbeVie is the first example of new brand name Hepatitis C drug that is actually better for patients and costs far less. Eighty percent of patients with Hep C can do an eight-week course, versus the alternative, manufactured by companies including Gilead and Merck, which requires a 12-week course.

It is the only drug that works for genotypes 1-6 and it has a list price that is less than half of what the competitors charge, even when you factor in the bizarre middleman shenanigans … ”

Full article can be read HERE.

Kevin Knopf, MD, VIVIO health oncologist, publishes in American Society of Clinical Oncology publication

The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biosimilars and Cost in Oncology


article published on ASCO POST, 7/10/17

Excerpts: “Biosimilars are biologic products similar to the parent (branded) molecule in structure and function—such as erythropoietin and filgrastim (Neupogen). To truly bend the cost curve, we want to see a dramatic economic savings achieved as oncology biosimilars for rituximab (Rituxan), trastuzumab (Herceptin), and bevacizumab (Avastin) – the next expected oncology biosimilars – are introduced to the U.S. market.

Although a report from investigators at RAND optimistically estimates that biosimilars in oncology will achieve $44.2 billion in savings from 2014 to 2024 in the United States, this model had overly optimistic assumptions. We think a more likely outcome is to advise oncologists to “curb your enthusiasm … ” ”

Full article can be read HERE.

Why are Our Drugs so Expensive?  And, what do Businesses Need to Know?


6/29/17 interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett

VIVIO Health CEO Pramod John writes for The Health Care Blog

Can Amazon Crack the Rx Code?


blog article published, 6/22/17

Excerpts: “There is a lot of scuttlebutt about retail powerhouse Amazon bringing its proven brand of simplicity to the drug markets. We at VIVIO Health applaud this effort and hope it becomes successful as the result will be significant progress toward a market-driven industry, a much-needed first for healthcare consumers. Unfortunately, Amazon, even with its storied history of disrupting archaic industries must overcome four key structural roadblocks.

… American consumers desperately need innovators who have the scale and deep pockets to reengineer the drug supply chain along with the strength of character to stand up to a powerful and entrenched industry. Jeff Bezos and Amazon stand as good a chance as any to break some china and crack the Rx industry and that would be a consumer problem worth solving.”

Full article can be read HERE.

Pramod John, VIVIO Health CEO interviewed by Mabel Jong at World Health Care Congress 2017

Do Specialty Drugs Work?


4/30/17 interview with Mabel Jong, World Congress Correspondent, at World Health Care Congress 2017

Unrigging the High Cost of Drugs


interview with Steve Ambrose of Red Hot Healthcare, 2/2/17

In this episode, Steve Ambrose and VIVIO Health CEO Pramod John discuss:

  • The political process and healthcare consumerism
  • Health insurance vs. Health
  • Drug pricing…is where you ‘pick it up’
  • Major misunderstandings of the FDAs true role
  • A disruptive model (without a PBM) to get consumers and companies the most effective drugs at the best prices.

America’s Healthcare Challenge (AHC), Radio Appearance


VIVIO Health’s CEO and VP Customer Experience appeared on AHC hosted by Sean McGuire, 9/24/16

Segment 1: Pramod and T.J. are announced at 2:55

Segment 2:

Epi-Pen Pricing: It’s the System, Stupid


blog article published on LinkedIn, 8/29/16

Excerpt: “Drug manufacturers can’t catch a break, but are they the real culprit?

Sure, we could shake our finger at Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan, but didn’t we just do this to Martin Shkreli from Turing Pharmaceuticals and Michael Pearson from Valeant? The key question isn’t who’s the offender du jour? Instead, it’s why do these pricing ‘scandals’ keep happening, and is our best offensive strategy public shaming?

Complaining about Mylan is pointless because as a publicly traded company, they’re doing exactly what we would expect to meet the profit and growth expectations of their investors. Why is it their responsibility to compete against themselves? If this were the financial services industry, Bresch would be hailed as a genius.”

Full article can be read HERE.

Why Our Problem With Drug Pricing Goes Way Beyond Shkreli


blog article published on LinkedIn, 7/15/16

Excerpt: “I’d like you to know about an exciting development in my life. I recently became CEO of VIVIO Health, a company focused on solving one of the biggest problems facing our country today, the out-of-control costs of specialty drugs.

Over the past few months, many of us have heard of the abuses surrounding Martin Shkreli (who is in the news again after a judge set a 2017 trial date for his securities fraud case) and separately, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which was recently under fire for drug price increases. What we haven’t heard is that these sensationalized cases are truly insignificant when compared to the enormity of the problem facing America. Only a few years ago, specialty drugs comprised a reasonable sounding 10% of our overall drug spend. Last year, it bloated to … ”

Full article can be read HERE.

Explaining Rising Drug Costs


blog article published In healthreform EXPLAINED, 7/11/16

As a follow up to his 6/11/16 radio appearance, Pramod John, CEO of VIVIO Health, was featured in a blog article, Explaining Rising Drug Costs.

Excerpt: According to Pramod John, CEO of VIVIO Health, “in other countries the price for drugs are much lower and in some cases, developing countries are 1/10 of the same price.”  Compared to developing countries, the United states is 7-10 times the cost according to Mr. John. “The US is the only unregulated market drug and there is no regulation on how prices are set and studies have shown that the US spends two times more per capita on healthcare than its closest competitor.”

The full article can be read HERE.

America’s Healthcare Challenge (AHC), Radio Appearance


VIVIO Health’s CEO appeared on AHC hosted by Sean McGuire, 6/11/16

Segment 1: Pramod is announced at 3:40

Segment 2:

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