Lecia Bushak speaks with Micah Litow, chief operating officer of Kalderos, about prescription drug discount programs and the lack of collaboration among providers, manufacturers, and state Medicaid programs.

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From HLTH 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s the MM+M Podcast.

Hi, I’m Lasha bushak senior reporter at mmm and I’m here at the health 2023 conference in Las Vegas. I’m joined on the podcast by Micah Leto. He is the president and Chief Operating Officer at calderos calderos is a data infrastructure and analytics company that has created a drug discount management platform. And Mike is here with me today to discuss how prescription drug discount programs are often a good idea of not often well executed and sort of how calderos is addressing that welcome to the podcast.

Thanks for having me.

So to start tell me about your health experience so far and what it’s been like being here at the conference this year.

Well first off there’s great energy.

Being back in a large conference like this. It’s always good to still see people innovating and trying to think about how we can run the Healthcare System more efficiently and effectively I think given the trends over the last two or three years. I think there’s more and more of a focus of like how we can provide savings and sustainability and just overall more efficient system in terms of how it runs. And so I think it’s been you know, it’s always energizing just to be around a group of people that are trying to drive change into a really big system.

So let’s talk about prescription drug discount programs and change there. They’re often good ideas, but not always well executed. Can you talk about some of the problems we often see in prescription drug discount programs, whether it’s duplicate claims or a lack of collaboration among providers manufacturers and State Medicaid programs, and any other issues that you really think are our problematic there.

Yeah, I think well first off like you said all these discount programs which

Come out kind of over the last 30 years all at desperate times. Usually the intent is really good. I mean it’s usually focused either on trying to drive affordability or to trying to increase access. There’s usually a pretty solid intent behind them. The operationalization of some of those things is really challenging and that’s because going from a great idea to implementing something that works really well can be really hard. That’s why growing a business can be tough. But what happens is a lot of those programs have been implemented into an effectuated via technology Stacks that weren’t actually designed for that particular purpose and then scaled to be billions and billions and billions of dollars and I’m an engineer by background and there’s kind of like you always wanted to build something for the purpose. And so when you’re retrofitting stuff onto other infrastructure elements, you unfortunately can make it pretty hard to be compliant with those things and it can lead to a lot of waste and so at the core of these program

Grams, the intent was never the problem. It’s been able, you know being able to execute on those things and making sure that the intent is being fulfilled and all of the money that’s intended to be driving the outcomes. We want is actually going where it’s supposed to go and not to places where it where it isn’t.

Right and some of these problems sort of add up and then end up impacting patients and a bunch of other different parties, but you know, it could lead to higher drug costs for patients a lot of waste inefficiency. What are some of the impacts that we see of some of these problems?

Yeah, I mean, I think you did a great job of articulating it frankly at the end of the day. You know, I’m a believer that Healthcare should do three things should innovate things that extend and improve the quality of life. It should make sure that people have access to them and it should make sure that they’re affordable and so our goal and of course with the really big system there needs to be Administration costs, but the goal should be to minimize the cost of administration of those things and maximize the amount of money going towards one of those three things because those are the three things that help patients and help outcomes. And so I think we’re at a spot where the technology that we all use in our everyday life has certainly Advanced to a point where we can administer these things with technology and a much more cost-efficient and effective and frankly faster faster way. So the results that that should create at the end of the day whether that’s more affordable drugs or whether that’s more access to care or whether that’s new and different therapies. It’s gonna be should be a balance of

Things if we’re actually doing things that are in the best interest of patients as a system

and can you talk a little bit about about calderas’s platform and how it aims to address some of these issues. We’ve brought up.

Yeah. So like we talked about there’s all these disparate Technology Solutions that are being used to implement the drug discount programs today.

And because those different Tech Stacks are collecting different data sets those data sets become very very challenging to actually normalize and make sure that you’re paying the right discount rebate or whatever on the right transaction. So calderos acquires those normalizes them and then actually augments those data fields by creating exposures to different stakeholders so that you can actually know confidently that something was complying with the law or contract versus something that that wasn’t

and you mentioned that this is you know, you’ve been at this conference and years past, but I’m wondering what this year, you know your goal as calderos being here. What are some of your main goals at Health this year, you know as you’re walking around making connections and meeting people what are three things that you’re hoping to achieve here this year.

Well one I think you’re always trying to see what trends are in the marketplace. Where is where is there a density of innovation happening? And where are there are areas that maybe in the past there was more Innovation happening and now there’s less for whatever reason I think that’s one the second thing is I think networking’s always really important, especially if you’re trying to build what calderos is trying to build. So we’re a big believer in using a platform solution. And so that means trying to engage with folks that are on the provider side to pay your side the manufacturer side and they early stage companies that are trying to deliver value to those organizations. And then the third which is always

Helpful is being in contact with the the folks that Finance the early stage ecosystem and making sure that you know, your continuing to have those conversations that you’re always in a position to continue fulfilling your mission as a company and you’ve got access to the financing that you need.

Forward-looking when you leave the conference, what are a few things that you’re planning on sort of maybe following up on or implementing or anything that you’re kind of looking forward to once you are out of the conference and back home or back in the office.

Yeah, I think for us there are some you know, interesting trends that were kind of picking up and seeing that will definitely bring back and see if there are ways that that could provide us an ability to accelerate on the mission that we’re on plus deliver more value to the customers that we work with on a regular basis. So I think that’s really like the big one. I think the second one is identifying and exploring opportunities to partner with other organizations that I think there’s Mutual benefit in terms of what you can do and for Market impact

what are some of those trends that you’ve identified this year that you think are really pressing or we’ll sort of expect to see in the next year. So we’re kind of dominating being dominating Trends.

Yeah, I think for us like at a conference like this. I think there’s a whole host of patient things that are pretty interesting in terms of like who are

Who and what is being delivered to Market when it comes to things like adherence or removing barriers to access and what are the data feeds that those create so that we can better serve the patients that need access to those things. That’s one. The second one is is learning more about some of the opportunities that people are exploring for efficiencies and some of the operations part of you know in particular providers.

Great. And is there any other any other sort of parting thoughts you have for an audience of healthcare marketers that you think is important to sort of take away, you know, maybe from your mission or form from Health this year.

Yeah, I mean, so I’m super passionate of about trying to solve systemic problems in healthcare. I think for us to achieve just about patients earlier I think for us to actually achieve the best patient outcomes. We need to find ways to collaborate and so I’m a I remain optimistic and hopeful that if we can find ways to deliver technology that works to benefit multiple stakeholders instead of focusing on a particular stakeholder, whether that’s providers or payers or others that if we can bring those folks together help them realize value so that they can fulfill their missions and reduce the administrative costs that they have that we can all come together and deliver more value for patients. So I think for me

That would be like kind of my soap boxes. How can we actually do that to bring parties together in the in the benefit of patients while they can still realize value from collaborating more effectively together.

And before we let you go beyond the health conference. What is your favorite part of being in Las Vegas?


I feel like I haven’t been able to be in Las Vegas outside of the conference. I feel like I’ve been going between the conference and the hotel room.


I mean there’s a lot of great TVs with sports on the walk. So it’s kind of nice to be able to keep in touch with what’s happening in the sporting world. But and the food scene is really good.

That is true.

Well, thank you Micah for your time and thanks for joining us.

Yeah, thank you for having me

my Colletto president and Chief Operating Officer at kildaros. This is leshabushak for the mmm podcast. Thank you all for listening. Take care.