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Six Reasons the Specialty Pharmacist Role is Increasingly Important

At a specialty pharmacy, all roads lead to the pharmacist. Pivotal to ensuring effective management of drugs for complex conditions, specialty pharmacists are at the center of virtually every critical interaction with all parties involved in the process, including patients, healthcare providers, caregivers, prescribers, and prescriber offices. We salute the irreplaceable, invaluable contributions specialty pharmacists make to our connected community.

1. Specialty pharmacists are educators.

In contrast to most medications dispensed at a pharmacy, specialty drugs can pose a challenge for patients, requiring extensive explanation and training on the right way to use them. Specialty pharmacists are committed to this vital task, providing thorough and thoughtful education throughout the patient journey on:

  • Dosage
  • Adverse events
  • Potential drug interactions
  • Management of side effects
  • Importance of medication adherence
  • Safe handling of medications
  • COVID-19 and infection control
  • Other relevant healthcare issues

2. Specialty pharmacists drive value-based healthcare with a powerful commitment to a positive patient experience.

In their role as trusted counselors and advisors, specialty pharmacists prioritize the three measures that matter most to patients1:

  1. Capability – the ability of patients to do the things that define them as individuals and enable them to be themselves
  2. Comfort – the relief from physical and emotional suffering and addressing the distress and anxiety that frequently accompany or exacerbate illness
  3. Calm – the ability to live normally while getting care

3. Specialty pharmacists have a direct impact on patient compliance and outcomes.

Their high-touch job is designed to be patient-centric, helping expedite access and adherence to care. A specialty pharmacist gives essential support for medication adherence using a range of helpful digital tools, efficient coordination, ongoing consultation, and a genuine passion for their patient’s well-being.2 To better recognize and quantify the effectiveness of the specialty pharmacist’s role, research is now in progress at Vanderbilt University, based on the proposition that: “Increasing specialty medication adherence through patient-tailored pharmacist-led interventions may:

  • Improve clinical outcomes
  • Reduce direct and indirect remuneration fees
  • Improve outcomes-based contracts and standard accreditation performance by specialty pharmacies. 3

4. Specialty pharmacists influence lower costs all along the healthcare spectrum.

Consider that the specialty pharmacist’s expertise ensures expensive medications, many costing more than $700 monthly, are used optimally.4 At Orsini Specialty Pharmacy, these dedicated healthcare workers are available 24/7 to help patients:

  • Avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits
  • Prevent their condition from worsening with ongoing monitoring of treatments for safety and efficacy
  • Streamline the processes for prior authorization, refill, and renewal of medications
  • Continuously communicate and follow up with their physician

5. Specialty pharmacists expertly manage a constantly expanding list of drugs.

As research into rare diseases and complex conditions accelerates, more specialty medications are available than ever before. Consider that in the mid-1990s, fewer than 30 specialty medications existed, while now, more than 300 specialty drugs may be under the purview of a specialty pharmacist.5 These specialty drugs frequently:

  • Require special handling
  • Involve unique administration routes such as injectables
  • Are included and restricted by a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy6

6. Specialty pharmacists will be in more demand than ever in the next decade.

Their upward trajectory is clear when you consider the following key statistics:

  • Specialty medications account for 75% of the approximately 7,000 prescription drugs currently in development.7
  • By 2023, it is predicted that 65% of new drug launches will be specialty therapies treating cancer and other rare diseases.8
  • Specialty medications are expected to account for 50% of overall drug spending in the next five years, at a total of approximately $250 billion.5

Providing patients with comprehensive and compassionate care since 1987, Orsini Specialty Pharmacy is the leading independent specialty pharmacy focused on rare diseases, gene therapies, and complex conditions. Orsini’s high-touch care model centers around experienced, therapy-specific teams that provide personalized care to patients. Learn more about Orsini’s essential services for rare and complex disease therapies and our dedicated support for physicians, manufacturers, payors, and patients.