Understanding and Exploring the Practice of Specialty Pharmacy - Episode 13

Episode 13: Challenges of Medication Adherence in the Oncology Population

Ray Tancredi, RPh, MBA, CSP, vice president of specialty pharmacy development at Walgreens; Cheryl Allen, BS Pharm, MBA, vice president of business development and industry relations for Diplomat Pharmacy; Nicholas Karalis, RPh, of Elwyn Pharmacy Group; Stacey Ness, PharmD, RPh, CSP, MSCS, AAHIVP, director of specialty clinical services for Managed Healthcare Associates*; and Renee Rayburg, RPh, senior director of clinical consulting at Artemetrx, discuss the challenges faced by patients and providers during treatment for oncology, and how to overcome them to ensure high medication adherence.

One of the many challenges faced by patients and providers in the oncology field, according to Ness, is the sheer amount of communication being disseminated to them from every possible direction. Specialty pharmacies can better coordinate that communication so patients feel less overwhelmed by information, she added. Karalis noted that assembling a management team with a set leader can be important to help manage the information and the patient’s experience. Allen added that this kind of stakeholder collaboration should begin even before product launch to help troubleshoot potential problems.

The road to treatment adherence in oncology, Allen said, begins with patient education and with assessing each individual patient’s situation in terms of caregivers, emotional state, and financial status. It is important that clinicians and pharmacists are armed with up-to-date and detailed information about the patient’s comorbidities and concomitant medications 24/7 if a problem occurs. When those issues arise, Ness added, specialty pharmacies can really make a difference by knowing how to properly triage, knowing when to offer home care solutions, or when to inform the provider about clinical events, for example.

*The views expressed are those of the individual alone and not of Managed Health Care Associates, Inc.