Survey of NY Specialty Physicians:Most Drugstores Lack the ‘Expertise and Capability’ to Provide Specialty Medications to Patients

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PCMA: Don’t Force Employers to Contract with Drugstores Not Qualified to Provide Specialty Medications

A new survey of specialty physicians in New York finds these physicians are highly satisfied with their specialty pharmacies and do not think most drugstores have the “expertise and capability” to provide specialty medications to patients. Specialty pharmacies lower drug costs by promoting generics, reducing medication errors, and administering biologic medicines that can be injected or delivered intravenously.

Only two percent of these physicians say all drugstores have the expertise and capability to provide these specialty drugs, while only 23 percent say most do, according to the survey from North Star Opinion Research and released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA).

This runs counter to “any willing specialty pharmacy” legislation (S.2530 and A.6194) that would force public and private sector payers to contract with any drugstore to provide complex specialty medications — regardless of its qualifications. A new study also finds this legislation could increase prescription drug costs by $400 million in 2016 and $6 billion over the next decade.

“It’s wrong to make public and private employers contract with drugstores that aren’t qualified to provide complex specialty medications,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.

North Star Opinion Research conducted a survey of 400 physicians in the cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, rheumatology, nephrology, infectious disease, oncology, pulmonology, and hematology specialties who prescribe specialty medications. Detailed results from the survey are below (and here):

1.    These specialists say their patients have access to specialty medications from a variety of sources. Thirty-eight percent say their patients typically get their specialty medications from a specialty pharmacy, compared to 17 percent from a drug store, 8 percent from a doctor’s office or practice, 8 percent from a mail-service pharmacy, and 3 percent from an outpatient clinic, with 23 percent saying patients get their medications from a combination of sources.

2.    Only two percent of the specialists who work with specialty pharmacies believe that all drug stores “have the expertise and capability to provide the different types of specialty medications to patients.” Two percent of these physicians say all traditional drug stores have the expertise and capability to provide these specialty drugs and 23 percent say most do, while 65 percent say some do and 4 percent say none.

3.    Specialists who work with specialty pharmacies are overwhelmingly satisfied with their services. Seventy percent of the specialists in these fields who prescribe specialty medications work with specialty pharmacies, and they are satisfied with the specialty pharmacy services by an 89 to 9 percent margin.

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