Kroger announced Thursday it will acquire the outstanding shares of Axium Pharmacy Holdings, a leading specialty pharmacy, and merge the two companies. By now, it should be clear that specialty is becoming an increasingly important part of the retail pharmacy mix, having grown more than sixfold in revenues between 2000 and 2011, with everyone from Rite Aid to Costco to Hy-Vee biting off a piece for themselves.
As Specialty Pharmacy magazine reported in its fall 2012 issue, specialty drug development is starting to play a much bigger role in drug development overall than traditional pharmaceuticals. According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, seven of the top 20 drug therapy classes will be in specialty by 2016, including cancer, autoimmune disorders and antivirals, and specialty and bioengineered drugs remain one of the few growth centers in the drug industry in 2012. And according to Express Scripts, the market for specialty and bioengineered drugs is expected to grow from 2011's 17.1% to 22% by 2014.