Letter from Community Oncology Alliance

Directions in Pharmacy, December 2019, Volume 3, Issue 2

A letter to community oncology pharmacists from Ricky Newtown, CPA, director of Financial Services & Operations, Community Oncology Alliance.

Dear Community Oncology Pharmacists:

Pharmacists know that pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) abuses often stand in the way of patient care. In a recent Community Oncology Pharmacy Association (COPA) members’ survey, an overwhelming majority of pharmacists in physician clinics said PBM restrictions make it difficult to provide the medications their patients need.

PBMs sideline pharmacists from the care team by forcing patients to use mail order or preferred specialty pharmacies that may be less accessible and more expensive, often delaying the start of treatment. As a result, some patients wait weeks to obtain medication they should have been able to access within a day. The survey also showed that PBM actions harm in-house physician dispensing pharmacies more often than retail pharmacies.

As PBMs increasingly put these unnecessary, profit-driven barriers up, community oncology professionals need to fight to protect patients’ access to life-saving medications in convenient settings like the pharmacies in their practices. We see firsthand how patient care is put first in pharmacies that are integrated at the point of care, resulting in better adherence, side effect management, financial assistance, and less overall waste.

The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) created COPA to help patients with cancer receive oral oncology drugs and ancillary oral therapies in a safe, reliable, accessible, and affordable environment that is tightly integrated with their overall cancer care.

Learn more about COPA and become a member at COAPharmacy.com. As the oncology pharmacy marketplace rapidly changes, driven in part by federal policies and market pressures from PBMs, it becomes even more important to raise awareness and share knowledge.

We are pleased to partner with Pharmacy Times® to bring you the latest news, information, and commentary on issues, trends, and viewpoints shaping community oncology pharmacy practices. We hope you enjoy this edition of Directions in Oncology Pharmacy™ and join us as we continue to work on behalf of community oncology pharmacies and quality patient care.

Best regards,

Ricky Newton, CPA,

Director of Financial Services & Operations

Community Oncology Alliance