Specialty's Unique Role in Oncology Management

Specialty Pharmacy Times, May/June 2013, Volume 4, Issue 3

Specialty Pharmacy industry leaders are offering innovative practices and ideas as they look for real-world solutions for the best possible treatments and outcomes for cancer patients.

Specialty Pharmacy industry leaders are offering innovative practices and ideas as they look for real-world solutions for the best possible treatments and outcomes for cancer patients.

This special Oncology edition of Specialty Pharmacy Times brings a wealth of information about what is happening right now in the oncology space, and we highlight the unique role specialty pharmacists play in the delivery and management of oncology medications.

The business and practice of specialty pharmacy brings the best entrepreneurial instincts to the complicated world of cancer. As you read about the new, innovative practices and ideas presented in this issue, you’ll see that industry leaders are looking for realworld solutions for the best possible treatments and outcomes for cancer patients.

Our cover story focuses on a special pilot study by Walgreens that sought to prevent waste and save costs in an area of health care that has seen soaring costs and nonadherence. As part of its pharmacist-driven ConnectedCare Oral Oncology program, Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy recently conducted a unique 3-month monitored-dispense pilot program, called a “split-fill,” which reflects continued innovation, additional cost savings, and improved health care system communication.

Why is this so important? Because at the core of any successful program is a firm grasp of its financial aspects, so that the most cost-effective and best therapeutic decisions are made. Specialty pharmacists can offer a great deal as they develop these types of programs to increase adherence and save costs.

As “Current Oncology Pipeline Trends” (see page 28) reports, this is an especially important time to focus on emerging cancer treatments. As Stacey Ness, PharmD, says, “Many reports differ on the exact number of drugs in development and the precise number of projects in which these drugs are being studied, but in each and every case, oncology outpaces the other therapeutic areas by a wide margin. A 2013 PhRMA report lists 3070 projects under way for oncology development, while its nearest therapeutic area competitor, infections, stood at 750 projects in development.” That is an incredible number for the oncology space.

But what is just as incredible is the number of products that are represented. As Dr. Ness concludes, “If preclinical and research projects for the oncology therapeutic area are included, that number swells to over 5400 total projects representing 3436 different products.”

There is no doubt that these drugs will make a significant impact in the world of cancer—and the health professionals who are tasked to make sure these drugs are appropriately utilized, dispensed, and reviewed will have their work cut out for them. No doubt, it is an exciting time to be in this area of health care. Oncology Innovations—our contribution to the ongoing, vital discussion of cancer care.

Thank you for reading!

Mike HennessyChairman/Chief Executive Officer