Understanding and Exploring the Practice of Specialty Pharmacy - Episode 9

Episode 9: Role of Biosimilars in the Specialty Marketplace

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 how biosimilars might be handled.

The panelists agreed that the decisions made by payors and by each individual state will affect how specialty pharmacies handle biosimilars. Rayburg said that payors may not be able to rely on biosimilars to provide all of their savings, because unlike generic versions of small molecules, the manufacturers of the original biologics will continue to market their brands, and they may be able to be competitive through rebates and services.

There are many questions that remain to be answered concerning biosimilars, the biggest one being whether they will be interchangeable. Another, raised by Allen, is whether manufacturers of the biosimilar products will offer the same types of services offered by manufacturers of the branded products. Regardless of the answers, the panelists agreed that specialty pharmacies will need to play a big role in education regarding biosimilars.

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