Implementing a Health-System Specialty Pharmacy


Willis Chandler, SVP & President, Health Systems & Specialty Services, AmerisourceBergen, showcases the many benefits of investing in an in-house specialty pharmacy, and thoughtfully walks through the process of evaluating the opportunity, formulating a plan, implementing the pharmacy, and ensuring access to distribution networks and payer contracts.
Modern medicine continues to push the boundaries of patient care, and specialty pharmaceuticals continue to be at the forefront of this innovation. The increased prevalence and utilization of specialty therapies has had a profound impact on the pharmacy industry overall. Inclusive of brand, generic, and specialty products, revenues for the industry are expected to exceed $483 billion in 2020. Experts predict specialty drugs will account for 44% of that revenue, a 5-fold increase from 2010 to 2020, according to the 2016-17 Economic Report on Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Specialty Distributors, by the Drug Channels Institute. To capitalize on this trend, more health systems are offering specialty pharmacy services. In 2016, roughly 1 in every 11 hospitals had their own specialty pharmacy and nearly 50% of larger health systems (600 beds or more) owned a specialty pharmacy, according to the Drug Channels report.

Health systems are adding and investing in specialty pharmacies for many reasons. In-house specialty pharmacies allow hospitals to increase speed-to-therapy and improve clinical coordination for better care. As a growing number of health systems participate in risk-based contracts, having an in-house specialty pharmacy enhances a hospital’s ability to deliver a consistent, high-quality patient experience and continuity of care that leads to better outcomes. Improved value-based reimbursement is only one of several potential financial benefits, as 340B programs and specialty dispensing can also create new revenue streams.

To read the full article, as originally published in Specialty Pharmacy Times, click here.