Specialty Pharma Hub Providers Market Keeps Evolving

Specialty drugs are being used to treat many types of difficult-to-manage conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C, diabetes, hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, among others. In addition, specialty drugs are now being used to treat infertility, neurological disorders, defective genes, and even high cholesterol levels.   

As stated, the threshold cost of specialty drugs can be thousands of dollars per year. However, the upper end of this range can be hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Many factors determine the cost. Most specialty drugs require years of research and more complex development processes compared to conventional drugs. Once developed, they need special handling, storage and distribution. All of this adds to the cost of bringing a specialty drug to the patient.

Hub services providers have paralleled the growth of specialty pharmaceuticals and have played a major role in managing the increasing complexity of its use.

Approximately 15 years ago, hub programs were created to develop to help industry stakeholders manage the use of specialty drugs. Over this period, the market for hub services has grown in complexity as industry stakeholders work to develop successful strategies.

As the hub services marketplace evolves:

  • The number of companies entering the market to offer services continues to increase as they observe a growing opportunity.
  • The pace of mergers and acquisitions in the market is rising as companies seek to broaden their products and services and expand geographically.
  • Government regulators are playing an increasingly important role as the focus on patients grow.
  • Hub providers are expanding facilities and staff as products and services they offer are becoming increasingly specialized.
  • Pharma manufacturers need to determine whether to offer hub service program in-house or though external vendors, often on a product by product basis.

Among the many noteworthy hub provider activities that have taken place over the past year since AMI published the 2019 Hub Services Providers report:

AmerisourceBergen’s Lash Group and Medisafe, a leading medication management platform, announced that, together, they will provide an end-to-end patient adherence solution that combines a top-rated mobile platform within Lash Group’s current hub services programs. Also, Lash Group and AllazoHealth, an artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics company focused on ensuring optimal patient outcomes, announced a partnership that will enhance patient adherence and engagement programs through targeted and personalized recommendations that will empower at-risk patients to ultimately make healthier choices.

To meet the growing needs of the market, Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions has strengthened its cell and gene therapy capability with a coordinated suite of specialty distribution, third-party logistics (3PL) services, and specialty pharmacy dispensing services. As part of this offering, Cardinal Health is collaborating with PANTHERx Specialty Pharmacy.

Diligent Health Solutions acquired Envoy Health’s healthcare contact center based in Chantilly, Virginia. WRB was well known in the industry for nearly 20 years as a multi-channel healthcare contact center before being acquired in 2017 by Diplomat Pharmacy, the parent company of Envoy Health.

EVERSANA announced the expansion of its channel management and 3PL (third party logistics) operation with the addition of a new 260,000 square foot Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributor (VAWD) certified distribution center in Memphis, Tennessee.

ICON acquired Symphony Clinical Research, a leading provider of at-home patient and site support services. The acquisition further enhances ICON’s patient, site and data strategy and complements ICON’s existing PMG Research and MeDiNova Research site networks in the US and EMEA.

OptimizeRx signed an agreement to acquire RMDY Health, a leading provider of collaborative digital therapeutics solutions. Also, EVERSANA and OptimizeRx announced their partnership to modernize the patient experience and improve health outcomes by combining a real-time electronic health records (EHR) network with customized, wraparound patient support services.