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Drug Store News launches new magazine

BY Alaric DeArment

BOSTON An estimated 100 people gathered last Monday for the official launch of the latest member of The Drug Store News Group of publications.

Armada is a specialty pharmacy channel management organizationThe attendees, including some curious representatives of retail pharmacy chains, crowded into the Stone Room at the Westin Boston Waterfront for a reception to introduce Specialty Pharmacy magazine, which Drug Store News began printing under a partnership with specialty pharmacy channel management organization Armada Health Care.

“When people outside of the business ask me what specialty pharmacy is, I try to keep the answer as simple as possible: I tell them it’s about patients with complex, chronic conditions; I tell them it’s about extremely complex, high-cost drugs,” Drug Store News editor-in-chief Rob Eder said in a speech at the reception. “And because of that, every single touch point of the operation, from managing the network, the utilization management, formulary management, sourcing the drugs, the buy and bill, the benefit design, the dispensing and fulfillment, the claims adjudication, etc. — all of it is more complex. So, that is our mission: to make a very complex business easier for the people who make their living in that business.”

Associate publisher Wayne Bennett noted the drug-development environment that has helped contribute to the rapid growth of specialty pharmacy.

“Our new publication, Specialty Pharmacy, will add to the broad portfolio of pharmacy publications published by the Drug Store News Group,” Bennett said. “As three-quarters of all new drugs currently in the drug development pipeline are biotech products, and the market for these products will grow by $40 billion in just a few short years, Specialty Pharmacy will be the voice for all stakeholders in this rapidly growing area of pharmacy care. We will also be collaborating with Armada Health Care, who has led in providing innovative solutions to make the specialty pharmacy market work more efficiently.”

Specialty products — most of them biotech drugs — have experienced rapid growth lately, generating just under $60 billion in U.S. sales last year, Specialty Pharmacy reported in its inaugural issue, and growing by 8.8% year-over-year, compared to 4.4% for traditional drugs. Meanwhile, two specialty pharmacies — Swartz Creek, Mich.-based Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Commcare Pharmacy — made Inc. magazine’s list of the top 500 fastest-growing private companies in the country for 2009.

“My colleagues and I are very enthusiastic about our collaboration with Drug?Store News to launch Specialty Pharmacy magazine. We are confident that this publication will become the media voice for this emerging segment of health care, while fostering a better understanding of the value proposition that specialty pharmacies offer to such key stakeholders as Pharma/Biotech, payers, prescribers and most importantly patients,” said Lawrence S. Irene, RPh, CEO Armada Health Care.

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Diplomat, Commcare named top companies by Inc. magazine

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Specialty pharmacies Commcare Pharmacy and Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy have earned the respective 235th and 374th places on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States.

 

This goes to show how rapidly the specialty pharmacy industry has grown thanks to its focus on complex illnesses and medication regimens that traditional pharmacies are mostly unable to support, growing 8.8% last year, compared to 4.4% for traditional pharmacies, while specialty drugs had nearly $60 billion in U.S. sales.

 

 

But specialty pharmacy can also give independent pharmacies without a large front end a good way to make money, with its emphasis on profitable biotech drugs and closer interaction between the patient and pharmacist, allowing the mom-and-pop street corner pharmacy to carve a niche for itself while the chain pharmacy down the road continues to serve traditional drug store functions.

 

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CVS Caremark study finds need for improvements in healthcare access, costs

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK CVS Caremark’s 2009 “Health IQ” study is yet another indicator coming from the private sector that health reform cannot wait.

 

The findings come on the heels of another sign: PhRMA’s resurrection of the Harry and Louise characters, the middle class couple who helped to defeat the Clinton healthcare reform proposal, in a new multi-million dollar ad campaign developed in collaboration with Families USA, the national organization for healthcare consumers. This time, however, Harry and Louise are in support of healthcare reform.

 

 

The reality is that the more the private sector leads the way on this, the more likely that reform will work for them, as well as the rest of America.

 

 

For instance, CVS’ MinuteClinic could play a major role in closing the gap on patient access. In addition, CVS’ Proactive Pharmacy Care program, as well as its new ReadyFill program, could help improve medication adherence ‹ another major problem in the U.S. healthcare system. Proactive Pharmacy Care is focused on helping consumers understand the benefits of taking their medication consistently and helps them understand ways to reduce costs. It is estimated that non-adherence costs the United States $177 billion a year.

 

 

The bottom line is that there is a sense that if it and other key stakeholders step up now and communicate how they can be a part of the solution — and the value in that — they just might be in the end. It’s the difference between driving health reform and getting run over by health reform. Either way, you get a sense that the key stakeholders know the train is rolling and they would rather drive the engine then lay on the tracks.

 

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