Specialty Pharmacy Times Presents Expert Summit on Impact of ACA

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Specialty Pharmacy Times presents “Understanding and Exploring the Practice of Specialty Pharmacy,” a Peer Exchange faculty videotaped discussion of the issues facing the practice of specialty pharmacy in the face of national health reform.

The core definition of specialty is always around the patient and the driven outcomes of the medication that requires something special.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a good thing for the specialty drug marketplace, contributing to an increase in prescription drug spending. In light of this growth, many complex issues have arisen for stakeholders. To explore these developments, Specialty Pharmacy Times presents “Understanding and Exploring the Practice of Specialty Pharmacy,” a summit meeting of experts. Their provocative discussion was taped recently. The presentation is Specialty Pharmacy Times’s first entry into MJH & Associates’ successful and popular Peer Exchange series.

Moderated by Ray Tancredi, RPh, CSP, vice president of Specialty Pharmacy Development for Walgreens, the discussion focuses on a wide range of issues facing the specialty marketplace. Those include the changing definition of specialty pharmacy, measuring quality in specialty services, and methods to manage escalating specialty drug expenses.

The panelists are Cheryl Allen, BS Pharm, MBA, vice president of Industry Relations at Diplomat Pharmacy Inc; Nicholas Karalis, RPh, of Elwyn Pharmacy Group; Stacey Ness, PharmD, RPh, director of Specialty Clinical Services at Managed Healthcare Associates; and Renee Rayburg, RPh, senior director of Clinical Consulting at Artemetrx.

With various stakeholders each using a different method to define specialty pharmacy, the panel of experts gave their perspectives on the true meaning of specialty.

“I think the core definition of specialty is always around the patient and the driven outcomes of the medication that requires something special,” Karalis said.

These experts also took up new trends in drug development, such as the role of biosimilars, the rise of oncology drugs, and the controversy surrounding the high cost of new hepatitis C drugs.

Discussing biosimilars, drugs that are like an approved pharmaceutical drug but are not molecularly identical like generics, the panel agreed it is very likely these drugs will soon arrive in the US market. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted the first application in the United States for a biosimilar earlier this year.

But panelist Rayburg said the key question is whether biosimilars will be truly interchangeable with the reference product.

“There’s a lot of work that’s yet to be done before we can get too excited about biosimilars,” she noted.

On the process of measuring quality in specialty pharmacy, Dr. Ness pointed to the importance of benchmarking against various competitors in the industry.

“I think that the metrics that you really need to look at for quality come from some of the accreditation standards, but then I also think that the benchmarking component is increasingly important,” she said.

The video is available free online at http://www.specialtypharmacytimes.com/peer-exchange

About Specialty Pharmacy Times

Specialty Pharmacy Times is a bi-monthly journal and daily news web site serving the business and practice of specialty pharmaceuticals and therapy, with a focus on the key areas surrounding specialty pharmaceuticals and the enhanced practice needs of pharmacists in this arena. The journal is available on iPad and on [http://www.SpecialtyPharmacyTimes.com.

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