The Rise of Specialty Pharmacy

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) traditionally determine two things facing American taxpayers: the affordability and accessibility of drugs. According to industry expert Albert Thigpen, the scope of PBM’s influence is shrinking as the federal government solidifies its place as the largest single payer of prescription drugs. Thigpen is hopeful, however, that the rise of specialty pharmacy will provide consumers with more options. Albert Thigpen sits down with GLG to discuss PBMs, retail consumerism, and the major trends affecting American consumers.

Albert Thigpen most recently worked as Senior Vice President of Industry Relations and Supply Chain Management at Catamaran/Optum–the third largest PBM in the U.S. with over 61 million members. In his tenure, he managed pharmaceutical industry partnerships, which included $65 Billion in cost of goods relationships across the commercial PBM, government and public sector, and specialty business verticals. Prior to joining Catamaran in 2011, Thigpen spent a decade with CVS Caremark, serving as Senior Vice President of Industry Relations.

Thigpen has extensive M&A expertise, developing and assisting in deals between Caremark and AdvancePCS, Caremark and CVS, and CVS Caremark and the Universal American Corporation. He was also instrumental in the merger of SXC Health Solutions and Catalyst Rx, which formed the Catamaran organization. Perhaps most noteworthy was Thigpen’s role in Optum’s acquisition of Catamaran by the United Health Group company. Thigpen previously held leadership positions at HealthNet in California, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans in Texas and Ohio, and the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He is a licensed pharmacist and a graduate of the University of Toledo.


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