Welcome to the ninth annual Specialty Pharmacy Times® oncology issue, in which we focus on the challenges and progress associated with treating cancer in the specialty space. Since we launched this special edition, survival rates have shown progress at a rate that suggests the future of cancer therapy may begin to mirror the treatment and management of other long-term chronic conditions. Just a glance at the current oncology pipeline reveals the pharmaceutical industry’s focus on eradicating the plague of cancer.

The recent IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science’s report, The Global Use of Medicine in 2019 and Outlook to 2023, shows that the current oncology pipeline includes 748 drugs in late-stage clinical development. The report projects that 70 to 90 oncology products will launch in the next 5 years compared with 57 launched in the past 5 years.

The authors note that the pharmaceutical market is increasingly shifting toward specialty, orphan, biologic, and oncology products, with specialty drugs expected to represent approximately two-thirds of new product launches over the next 5 years, of which approximately 30% will be for oncology. This progress comes at a high cost, however, as specialty spending growth is projected to rise across developed markets from $336 billion in 2018 to approximately $505 billion by 2023, according to IQVIA.

With such a high cost for these therapies, the services and skills of specialty pharmacies will become more important than ever. In this issue, we shine a light on some of the innovative services in specialty pharmacy that improve the outcomes of patients with cancer.

In their article on page 22, Rob Osborne and Mary Dorholt, PharmD, examine the growing importance of specialty pharmacies in cancer care. They note that the role of specialty pharmacy care providers will continue to grow as physicians have less time and fewer resources to support patient needs related to drug therapy.

On page 35, Darcy Malard Johnson, PharmD, explores the use of an oncology service line, in which the care for patients with cancer is coordinated between a health system’s hospitals, clinics, infusion centers, pharmacies, ancillary services, and any other settings they must navigate during their treatment journey.

As always, the latest developments in oncology and other areas of specialty health care will be covered extensively in Specialty Pharmacy Times® via our print journal, daily news website, and e-newsletters and on mobile devices.

Our sister publications OncologyLive® (OncLive.com) and CURE® (curetoday. com) and our other oncology-focused publications will also continue to bring leading commentaries and news from the physician side of this fast-paced environment.