Health tech company Surescripts picks up ActiveRADAR to expand therapeutic alternatives to prescription drugs

Health information network Surescripts acquired ActiveRADAR to build out therapeutic alternatives for prescription drugs.

ActiveRADAR (formerly known as RxTE Health) offers evidence-based, formulary-specific and medically accepted use-specific therapeutic alternatives, along with corresponding dosage strengths, quantities, and plan-specific patient and health plan costs.

The company developed healthcare analytics systems intended to identify the lowest-cost prescription options. It operates a customized data-driven prescription program and informs individuals about therapeutic equivalents to enable members to benefit from immediate savings.

The company's clinical catalog covers more than 165 therapeutic categories, including more than 30 specialty drug categories and more than 33,000 drug pairs, as well as both clinical and economic value on medication alternatives, and has been shown to reduce costs for employers and employees by 15% to 20%, according to the company.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

By incorporating ActiveRADAR’s therapeutic alternative-identifying solutions weekly into their platform, Surescripts will optimize network solutions to help providers get patients started on the best, most cost-effective medications based on their specific care and payment needs at the point of prescribing, according to company executives.

"We are always looking for ways to broaden our impact on patients and the people who care for them," said Frank Harvey, Surescripts CEO, in a statement. "Our acquisition of ActiveRADAR underscores our commitment to optimizing our network solutions with even more comprehensive clinical and cost data available at the point of prescribing. Together, we can make it simpler and faster to get patients started on the best medication for them."

E-prescribing is growing rapidly as healthcare providers and payers are using the technology to process patient prescriptions in a more streamlined and cost-effective way compared to paper prescriptions. Surescripts is a dominant player in the market.

In 2022, Surescripts processed 2.34 billion electronic prescriptions filled by pharmacies nationwide, and, as of October 2023, more than 777,000 prescribers in the U.S. use its real-time prescription benefit solution.

Its ownership structure is unusual—half owned by the National Association of Community Pharmacies and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and half owned by Express Scripts and CVS Caremark.
Dave Teckman, former CEO of ActiveRADAR, said the company's analytical processes target and prioritize savings opportunities to minimize member disruption and maximize savings, "which ultimately improves the patient experience and takes waste and costs out of the system."

Medication costs continue to rise, often impairing patients' adherence to prescriptions. 

Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. patients taking prescription medications say it's difficult to afford their medicines, and about 3 in 10 (29%) adults report not taking their medicines as prescribed at some point in the past year because of the cost, according to a KFF poll.

According to company executives, access to a platform that features both Surescripts’ real-time prescription benefit and ActiveRADAR’s clinical catalog solutions will be crucial for providers to have more informed conversations with their patients on the right treatment options and generate savings that will make it easier for patients to stick to potentially life-saving treatments. 
“Providing faster access to insights and optimizing the value delivered by our data are two of our biggest priorities, so we’re thrilled to have the ActiveRADAR team joining Surescripts,” said Lynne Nowak, M.D., Surescripts' chief data and analytics officer, in a statement. “With access to their extensive catalog of therapeutic alternatives data, we can reduce drug spend and help provide more alternatives when deploying prescription pricing information to providers.”

Surescripts recently settled a 2019 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit that accuse the company of using anticompetitive tactics to illegally monopolize two e-prescription drug markets.

The FTC had filed its complaint in April 2019, alleging that the health tech company was excluding competitors from certain e-prescribing markets and enforcing noncompete agreements. It kicked off years of legal contests that culminated in a March 2023 order from the court granting the commission’s motion for partial summary judgment and referring the dispute to mediation.

The settlement mandates Surescripts follow a set of requirements including not entering or enforcing contracts that impose a majority share requirement on routing and eligibility customers, stopping the practice of preventing customers from promoting competitors’ services and banning noncompetes for current and former employees from working for rival e-prescribing service providers.