Published Online: Monday, January 1, 2007

With the demand for high-dollar specialty pharmaceutical products expected to grow by 20% annually, chain drug industry leaders have developed a new white paper and business plan designed to help community pharmacies position themselves to play a key role in dispensing and managing these drugs.

That new plan, developed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' (NACDS) Pharmacy Industry Council Supply Chain Committee, in partnership with VCG & Associates, focuses squarely on high-cost medications used to treat chronic and/or rare diseases, including those that are administered by injection, infusion, or inhalation.

By 2008, chain drug industry officials expect that the specialty pharmacy market will account for $73 billion in total sales—>26% of all drug costs. With prices for these drugs averaging $1000 to $1500 monthly per patient, the NACDS believes that community pharmacies can make an important contribution toward ensuring the affordability of specialty drug products.

"Community pharmacy is uniquely positioned to care for patients requiring specialty medications, as the patient counseling component of these therapies is critical to success in treating patients' needs," said Edith A. Rosato, RPh, senior vice president of pharmacy affairs at NACDS.

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