Specialty Pharmacy in the Shifting Oncology Landscape

Specialty Pharmacy Times, May/June 2017, Volume 8, Issue 3

Each year that passes carries us closer to the dream of eradicating the insidious plague of cancer. In this, our seventh edition of the annual Specialty Pharmacy Times® oncology-themed issue, we examine emerging trends and hurdles that still need to be overcome to reach this goal.

The most recent data from the American Cancer Society shows a 25% drop in cancer death rates from 1991 to 2014, as there were more than 3000 clinical trials in oncology initiated in 2016 alone. With the continuing growth of oral oncology medications—along with significant room for improved adherence rates to these drugs—the spotlight will be set on specialty pharmacy. Because oral oncology drugs are self-administered and usually distributed via specialty pharmacies, enhanced medication therapy management programs and patient support services will be needed to accomplish the growing focus on achieving value-based treatment goals.

In “Management of Long-term Cancer Care Costs Related to Adherence and Patient Outcomes” on page 37, the authors discuss how oral cancer treatments provide new opportunities for improved overall survival rates, but patients are increasingly responsible for higher out-of-pocket costs as they self-manage their therapy. With the proliferation of value-based contracts for high-cost specialty drugs among payers and manufacturers, the acquisition and sharing of data among members of the cancer care team will become vital in setting optimal outcomes measures, and specialty pharmacy plans to play a prominent role in this process.

Also in this issue, in his editorial on page 8, our esteemed Editor-in-Chief, Dan Steiber, RPh, examines the growing opportunities for oncology to become a key driver of specialty pharmacy practices, along with how best to capitalize on this trend.

This is truly an exciting time of rapid advancements in cancer care, so stay on top of the latest trends that will influence specialty pharmacy in the years ahead, here in this print journal and our daily news website, www.SpecialtyPharmacyTimes.com. Follow us online, here in print, and in our e-newsletters (sign up at www.specialtypharmacytimes.com/link/1306) to ensure your pharmacy is poised to stay at the forefront of improving care for patients with cancer. 

Thank you for reading.

Mike Hennessy, Sr

Chairman & CEO