Approaching the Promise of a New Year During a Pandemic

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Directions in Pharmacy, February 2021, Volume 3, Issue 1

Our cover article focuses on notable oncology trends for 2021.

The new year holds a great deal of promise for oncology pharmacy, along with persistent challenges. Although coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to dominate the health care landscape— forcing cancer care to evolve along with the global pandemic—many care providers are rising to overcome obstacles inhibiting the delivery of quality patient services.

In the first 2021 issue of Directions in Oncology Pharmacy®, we examine just how far we’ve come since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States early last year and look forward to where oncology pharmacy is headed.

Our cover article focuses on notable oncology trends for 2021. These trends include the administration of COVID-19 vaccines for patients with cancer, a need that was largely unheard-of at this time last year. On page 47, Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, BCOP, writes that many patients with cancer are expected to be prioritized to receive the vaccine and discusses the availability of doses for immunization against COVID-19 as 2021 progresses.

As vaccination services widely expand and new challenges are confronted, the role of the oncology pharmacist is also evolving. To that end, there is no way to explore 2021 trends without the inclusion of telehealth services, which experienced accelerated growth in 2020, largely because of the pandemic.

The past year also showed the power of technology in bridging care gaps. Video conferencing software and patient data collection through wearable devices are just a couple of ways that technology is assisting cancer care providers more frequently than ever before. Throughout this issue, several articles explore what new methods of care are working for pharmacists and examine potential new technologies on the horizon.

An overview of this year’s oncology drug pipeline is another notable topic in this issue, including what could be the first anti-BCMA chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy for multiple myeloma. The article on Page 12 also discusses therapies for hematologic malignancies that have recently received FDA approvals.

Despite the many uncertainties of 2021 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, oncology pharmacy continues to provide quality care to patients with cancer as we develop new and innovative ways to forge ahead.

We hope you all have a great year!