Catch up on the latest pharmacy issues and trends with Doug Long, vice president of industry relations at IQVIA.
At this year’s National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo (TSE) NACDS TSE, held August 12 to 14, 2023, in San Diego, California, Drug Topics caught up with Doug Long, vice president of industry relations at IQVIA to discuss the latest trends and issues as well as the forecast for 2023 and beyond.
Drug Topics: What are the top pharmacy trends that you are anticipating through the end of 2023 and into 2024?
Doug Long: The big one is the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists. That's top of everybody's mind; they’re growing, they're largely unprofitable to the pharmacy. So that's a that's a big one.
Another one is a potential for drug shortages, because we now have the FDA starting to inspect the plants in India and other places that they didn’t do during COVID-19. We’ve seen some drug shortages because of that.
The other issue that’s not related to pharmaceuticals is the number of overdoses due to fentanyl—and it’s not prescription fentanyl, it’s street fentanyl. Something like 70,000 people die every year because of fentanyl. Whether its intentionally or not intentionally, they do die. And that is huge, bigger than people that overdose on prescription narcotics.
Drug Topics: Which of these trends are most surprising to you and why?
I think the biggest one is the GLP-1 medications. That kind of came out of nowhere, but when you think about it, it’s an untapped market, a huge market. So it would be that one.
Drug Topics: Looking at the trends, what is the biggest concern that pharmacists should expect to face in the coming months?
I think that there's suffering from staff shortages, a shortage of pharmacists, a shortage of technicians. At the same time, their workload has increased, and the population seems to be angrier than they've ever been before; sometimes you have to deal with very difficult people.