Expert Discusses Role of the Pharmacist in Care Team for Targeted Therapies At AMCP Annual Meeting

In an interview with Pharmacy Times®, Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA director of pharmacy at Emory Healthcare and Winship Cancer Institute, discusses the pharmacists role in care teams for targeted therapies at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Annual Meeting.

In an interview with Pharmacy Times®, Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA
director of pharmacy at Emory Healthcare and Winship Cancer Institute, discusses the pharmacists role in care teams for targeted therapies at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Annual Meeting.

Q: What is the role of the pharmacist in the care team for patients with cancer being treated with targeted therapies?

Ryan Haumschild: Yeah, the pharmacist plays such an important role. I think we're there, we understand that genomic testing, what are the best therapies for each unique target, and as there's innovative research coming out, we're the ones that are staying on top of that and can recommend those therapies. So it's really a shared decision making process, right? We work with the provider, and we make sure the right panels are in place that we can test the right genomic factors. Then the pharmacist gives recommendations talks to the patient educates them on what to expect, and then also what's the best treatment, what's the right dose adjustments that are needed throughout therapy, and they really provide great monitoring. I think when you create a pharmacist as part of the multidisciplinary team, you improve care, you improve patient education, and ultimately, patients can be on the right therapy longer, which is improving their outcomes.
Q: How has the advancement of targeted therapies changed the way in which patients with cancer are treated?

Ryan Haumschild: Targeted therapies, I think are changing the landscape, they have changed that, they are changing it, I think the great thing is we have more therapies for patients, which is exciting. I think we're changing the side effect profile. You know, a lot of times there might be traditional chemotherapy like cisplatin required, and patients get worried about that, their counts dropped, they might lose some hair, but I think when we leverage immunotherapies, we're leveraging the immune system. So sometimes we can decrease some low side effects. Patients have better activities of daily living when they're on therapies, and I think when you put those together, that's really what I think is the game changer. Also some patients that might be a pancreatic patient that have a lynch gene that you can leverage, then you have more targeted immunotherapy, you can give them better overall survival and progression free survival, when traditionally, they may not have had a ton of options in the past.

Q: What are the biggest challenges for patients being treated with precision medicines today and how can pharmacists help overcome some of these challenges?

Ryan Haumschild: I think a lot of the challenges are just getting the education out there. The landscape is changing so dramatically, so quickly, and you need experts like pharmacists that can say, “Oh, this patient came back with this, you know, next generation sequencing, and this is one of the genomic expressions they had. This is probably the best therapy.” We have so many providers that are doing an incredible job, but especially community setting, they've got to be experts of so many different disease states. Why don't they work to create the right diagnosis, the right testing of the right panels, and leverage the pharmacy team’s knowledge in terms of what's the best treatment to complement that and also to monitor that patient over the course of their therapy.