Specialty Pharmacy Times announces the addition of a new department, Oncology Trends. This section will focus on the management of oncology medications under the pharmacy and medical benefits, clinical pathways, pharmacogenomic and companion testing, and clinical practice guidelines in oncology.


Specialty Pharmacy Times is pleased to announce the addition of a new department called Oncology Trends. This new section was added in response to the overwhelming amount of oncology medications in the pipeline, which, according to Express Scripts’ 2012 Q3 Drug Trend Quarterly report, account for 17.4% of the specialty spend. Spending on oncology drugs is expected rise more than 20% annually for the next few years, reaching $173 billion by 2020, according to Express Scripts’ 2011 Drug Trend Report.

Although many new oncolytics are being developed as oral medications, the change in formulation is not expected to reduce costs. Because of formulary restrictions and the adoption by health plans of clinical pathways, new oral products may also have more complicated reimbursement systems. Oncolytics are also associated with adverse effects, which may cause patients to be less adherent, leading to higher total costs. In addition, exclusive distribution channels and limited networks have made getting these specialized drugs to patients increasingly more challenging.

“Specialty pharmacy providers (SPP) must implement dynamic strategic and operational plans which will result in the SPP being top-in-class for provision of patient-centric care and pharmaceutical manufacturer satisfaction while generating profitability,” wrote Royce Burruss, RPh, MBA, FASCP, in the inaugural installment of Oncology Trends. In his article, Burruss outlines the characteristics specialty pharmacy providers associated with oncology practices must have in order to achieve sustained success over their colleagues in the industry.

Specialty Pharmacy Times will publish this new department in each edition with a focus on the management of oncology medications. It will contain critical information about the management of costly medications under the pharmacy and medical benefits, clinical pathways, pharmacogenomic and companion testing, and updates to clinical practice guidelines in oncology. As Milayna Subar, MD, vice president and national practice leader in oncology for the Oncology Therapeutic Resource Center (TRC) at Express Scripts noted in a web exclusive article on SpecialtyPharmacyTimes.com, “Oncology is at the forefront of personalized medicine.”