Perspective: Connected care | Capability: Pharmacy | By: Carelon
The use of specialty medications is on the rise. How can healthcare leaders ensure patients with complex and chronic conditions get the support they need to better manage their conditions and medications? In a recent conversation with CarelonRx President Paul Marchetti, we explore the rapidly changing landscape of specialty pharmacy and the need for having a patient-first mindset to drive affordability, accessibility, and foster collaboration within the healthcare ecosystem.
What does the specialty pharmacy landscape look like today?
Specialty medications are on the rise, and we don't see that trend slowing. Patients with complex and chronic conditions — such as cancer, Crohn's disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS) — need these medications to manage their conditions. And yet, less than three percent of specialty pharmacy prescriptions account for around 60% of total drug spending in the United States. That's up 28% from a decade ago.
We're seeing great advancements in drug discovery and development, too. Specialty medications are expanding to cover a range of complex conditions and disease states, including autoimmune disease, dermatological conditions, and rare diseases, among others. That means more biosimilars for those drugs and conditions will be coming to market over the next five to 10 years to help keep specialty medications affordable.
It's a rapidly changing landscape, and an expensive one, so those living with complex illnesses need our steadfast support as healthcare leaders.
How can specialty pharmacies better support patients and their care providers?
We can improve the health of our communities and support patients who rely on specialty medications by adapting a patient-first mindset in our daily roles. At the end of the day, this is why many of us got into healthcare. We are helping someone's mom, brother, or friend overcome some of the most challenging days of their lives. That might be through identifying the best treatment options, providing greater access to therapies, helping to keep therapy costs low, ensuring coverage of medications, connecting them to additional community resources, or directly administering treatments.
At CarelonRx, we have our own specialty pharmacy, called BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy, and we pride ourselves on the differentiated level of service that BioPlus offers to providers. For example, we guarantee providers will be notified within two hours if BioPlus or an alternative specialty pharmacy can fill a prescription, which helps lift some of that administrative burden off physicians.
We've invested a lot in our analytics, our digital capabilities, and the ability to engage consumers in a more simplified and seamless way, one that is born out of a whole-health approach. If a patient can't physically leave their home to get a prescription, we can deliver it to them. If they have transportation needs, we can accommodate that. Or they can chat with a pharmacist 24/7. It all goes back to that crucial patient-first mindset.
We’re really excited about what we’re delivering within CarelonRx to address future specialty pharmacy needs and provide greater affordability, access, and positive outcomes to the patients who need us most.
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