Where does the use of specialty pharmacies fit into cancer care?
Specialty pharmacies have become a major force in health care by streamlining the process (and thus reducing the cost) of care delivery. In oncology, specialty pharmacies can provide access to and support for the majority of pharmaceutical and biologic products, which are costly and difficult to manage. These pharmacies work with physician practices to manage reimbursement issues, as they often have multiple contracts with pharmaceutical companies and suppliers. Troublesome issues with utilization of these pharmacies may include cost-sharing structures (co-pays) within insurances, annual deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, and coverage for off-label medication use. Specialty pharmacies offer a promise of clinical innovation and ease of care, but coverage, access, and reimbursement are still issues of concern. — Rosemarie A. Tucci, RN, MSN