What is Compendia’s Impact on Product Decision Making?

Pharmaceutical products with overlay

What is Compendia’s Impact on Product Decision Making?

What is “The Compendia”?

Most often, people describe the organizations that make up the Compendia as price books – and that’s understandable. After all, most of the submissions a manufacturer makes to Compendia involves price increases throughout the product launch year until they maintain price on a regular basis.

And yes, pricing is absolutely a key part of what they do, however, Compendia organizations have a much larger impact on your product.

Compendia data feeds every facet of the pharmaceutical industry, including retail pharmacy systems, wholesalers/3PL distributers, State Medicaid Formularies, eRX/EMR clinical data and pick lists, payer data… not submitting your product to Compendia has big consequences.

But it’s not enough to simply meet the minimum Compendia submission requirements – you’ll want to go above and beyond when submitting info because Compendia data impacts product classification, pick list and product selection, reimbursement, and dispensing, all key components of product decision making.

Product Classification:

Product classification is a major component of Compendia data. The therapeutic class that is assigned to your product will determine which group of products (made of both brands and generics) it’s lumped into.

These classes are especially critical for new product launches. If your launch plan consists of a Managed Care and/or Physician communication message on how your product differs from anything on the market today, you need to make sure that the clinical and class data that the payers and physicians receive supports that message. Nothing can break down a clinical communication message more than the response of, “I’m sorry but the data that I am referencing does not support that”.

Pick List and Product Selection:

A product’s classification has a direct effect on its pick list. It’s important to note that the pick lists you’re lumped with in these databases are going to consist of pharmaceutically equivalent versions of your product because the Compendia databases don’t look at orange book codes when they classify products. They do publish orange book information – they take it from the FDA and make it available – but they don’t make a determination on product positioning.

Pick lists determine a prescriber’s ability to select a product and determine brand, generic and pharmaceutical equivalent availability.


Both Compendia product classification and product selection impact reimbursement, from coverage, exclusion, payment to the pharmacy, co-payment, and more. For example, your product’s listing as a single-source or multi-source designation directly impact co-payments.

As a single-source product – meaning your active ingredients, strength, dosage format and route of administration comes from a single source – there’s a brand co-payment and no penalty because there’s nothing else like it.

Once that flag is switched from a single-source to a multi-source, payers immediately start to evaluate and change the co-payment.


Not only do the monographs that get stapled to prescriptions help the patient understand why they’re taking the medication, but they’re also used by the pharmacist to consult the patient during pick-up. But where does the important information for the monograph come from? You guessed it, the Compendia databases.

The interesting part is that because all the Compendia organizations are owned by publishers, they fall under publishing regulatory guidelines which differ from FDA requirements. They can share information about your products without FDA oversight. This is useful because it gives us more options when handling product positioning and lifecycle management in these Compendia databases. If you haven’t looked at the patient monographs for your products, you might want to do so as soon as possible. For example, the FDA has a subset of Dosage Forms that are available for SPL selection. However, the Compendia have almost twice as many Dosage Form options beyond the FDA subset. This can create product differentiation at the Compendia level.

But perhaps the Compendia’s most important impact on dispensing is the clinical information it provides to physicians and pharmacists. Compendia data fuels the systems that automatically checks for drug interactions and allergies. Because of this, it’s absolutely vital that you provide the Compendia with accurate, robust clinical information.

Want a partner than can help you avoid Compendia data lags, ensure your products are correctly classified, keep Compendia data accurate and up-to-date, and more? Click the button below to get in touch with our Compendia expert team!


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