Health System Specialty Pharmacy Expansion Continuing


Becker’s Hospital Review recently published two stories on health systems detailing the expansion of their specialty pharmacy operations.

Access Market Intelligence’s Specialty Pharmacy Database notes that hospital and health specialty pharmacies are the fastest growing segment of the market, comprising nearly 40% of the specialty pharmacy market.


Michigan Medicine makes specialty pharmacy a strategic focus. As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have lessened, the University of Michigan Health and the university’s medical school have been able to invest in innovative care, including expanding its specialty and mail-order pharmacy program.

Among the goals were increasing the number of prescriptions it fills annually through its in-house pharmacy, as well as reducing the time it takes to fill prescriptions for patients.

Roughly 18 to 24 months ago, the organization decided to increase these efforts. In March 2022, the university board of regents approved the $6 million purchase of an industrial building and land in Dexter, Mich., where the University of Michigan Health specialty pharmacy operates, as well as the $52 million renovation to grow pharmacy services and update the facility.

All of the specialty pharmacy efforts are part of the organization’s strategic focus. Michigan Medicine has been able to gauge the success of expanding specialty pharmacy services through research being conducted by the university’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

The institute found that Michigan Medicine’s specialty pharmacy services, which include about 5,000 patients, reduced unadjusted hospitalizations, improved provider experience and saw no change in medication adherence with specialty medication fills.

Baptist Health’s central pharmacy center is months away from filling up to 14,000 prescriptions a day, and the facility will be the nation’s most automated central pharmacy.

Baptist Health is a nine-hospital system based in Louisville, KY. By June, the $40 million project will be ready for distribution, and by July or August, it’s expected to start filling special medications.

Apart from the goal of reducing human errors, the 90,000-square-foot center in La Grange, Ky. will offer visibility into the system’s inventory, including Baptist’s hospital pharmacies, community pharmacies and about 250 clinics that order medications.

To ensure compliance with the 340B program across different care sites, the pharmacy center’s technology is set up to handle different classes of trades, from hospitals and ASCs to retail pharmacies and clinics.