Understanding and Exploring the Practice of Specialty Pharmacy - Episode 16

Episode 16: Encouraging Medication Adherence in Hepatitis C

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 issues related to medication adherence in the hepatitis C space.

With the high cost, impressive cure rates, and relatively short treatment durations of new hepatitis C treatments, it is critical that patients adhere to their prescribed medication regimens. The panelists agreed that this is a typically noncompliant patient population, so Allen stressed the importance of frequent touch points, as with cancer patients. Rayburg said that every effort must be made to make sure patients understand that full compliance for 12 weeks will lead to a cure.

Karalis explained that many patients acquire hepatitis C through drug or alcohol abuse, and there is a wide array of possibilities for them to be noncompliant. Because of this, newer treatment options such as oral therapies or once-a-day options can be easier to manage. Adherence can be facilitated through excellent patient engagement and education, Ness added.

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