Specialty pharmacy offers drug manufacturers important solutions for self-administered oncology drugs. With the increased use of the specialty pharmacy channel, specialty pharmacies are becoming a norm for standard operating procedures. For instance, all of the oral oncology products launched in 2011 and 2012 are distributed through specialty pharmacies. A number of factors are driving this trend, including:
According to EvaluatePharma, in 2016, seven of the top 10 best-selling drugs (by revenue) are projected to be specialty drugs compared with three in 2010. Physicians have become more willing to prescribe oral oncology therapies despite there being no financial incentive to their practice—in part, because of the services offered by specialty pharmacies.
Manufacturers use specialty pharmacies to gain greater control over the supply chain, and provide the clinical care or training—with oncology expertise—that the patient may not otherwise receive.
Payers have also identified specialty pharmacies as an important part of care for patients and at the same time controlling specialty spend. Payers also may be restrictive in which specialty pharmacy their members can access.
At least 18 months before launch, manufacturers may want to begin to incorporate a channel strategy into their commercialization plans since it is necessary to understand the opportunities and risks of strategic options in choosing channel partners.
Factors for manufacturer’s to consider when determining a specialty pharmacy network include:
The key to success when engaging a specialty pharmacy is to ensure that the specialty pharmacy is effective, efficient, and experienced in oncology—requiring nominal paperwork, avoiding redundant or unnecessary administrative steps, and offering expert-level clinical oncology support. Overall, the specialty pharmacy must be reliable and easy for oncology patients and oncologists to use lest they also become a barrier to what they promise to bring, optimal access to complex and costly medications.
By: Deni Deasy Boekell, Senior Director, Commercial Planning, Kantar Health
This blog is an excerpt from a full length article featured in the February issue of OBR green. You can visit the full length article here:
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