WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT If specialty pharmacy is the future of the pharmaceutical industry, as evidenced by the amount of research and development currently being placed against specialty pharmaceuticals, then this partnership can only mean one thing — the future is now.
(THE NEWS: Hy-Vee, specialty pharmacy Amber form Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions. To read the full story, click here)
Hy-Vee and Amber may be one of the first druggists to form such a joint venture, but they most assuredly won’t be the last. Already, national pharmacy operators like CVS/Caremark and Walgreens have made significant investments with regard to their specialty pharmacy offerings.
According to the 2009 Medco Drug Trend Report, specialty pharmaceuticals realized a 15.8% increase in drug spend thanks both to new products and the fact that there presently are no generics on the market.
Projected double-digit growth and a sound business opportunity aside, specialty pharmacy coupled with retail pharmacy will help lift the overall perception of what pharmacy brings to the healthcare table. Specialty pharmacy represents individualized care; retail pharmacy ease of access and convenience. In specialty pharmacy, for example, compliance to the medicinal regimen is crucial, which probably explains why many specialty pharmacies assign every patient a team of experts to help them learn more about their disease state and to help navigate those patients through the healthcare system. You can’t get much more personal than that, but now you can add a whole other level of personalization by brining the community pharmacy and all that traditional retail drug stores have to offer into the mix.