Building a Bridge Between a New Specialty Drug and Specialty Pharmacies
As specialty pharmacy continues to rapidly grow, it has become an essential consideration for industry stakeholders. Driving this growth are manufacturers that create specialty medications for chronic and complex disease states and the health care stakeholders working to manage the expense of these medications.
The biopharmaceutical drug pipeline focuses on specialty drugs and rare diseases. Today, specialty pharmacy drugs are more often available in a dosage form that patients can administer themselves, such as a tablet, capsule, pill, patch, or subcutaneous injection.
However, specialty drugs may have special requirements for handling procedures and administration, including the necessity of having rigidly controlled environments (e.g., highly specific temperature controls) to ensure product integrity.
What’s more, they are often only available through a limited distribution network, such as a network of specialty pharmacies, which has proven to be a key hurdle for manufacturers of specialty drugs who need to gain access to patients and payer networks. This is why most manufacturers want to utilize specialty pharmacies that have the capability to effectively and efficiently serve patients, providers, and payers.
Hub services providers have paralleled the growth of specialty pharmaceuticals and have played a major role in managing the increasing complexity of their use. Approximately 15 years ago, Hub programs were created 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.
- Hub services providers are expanding facilities and staff as products and services they offer are becoming increasingly specialized.
- Pharma manufacturers need to determine whether to offer a Hub service program in-house or through external vendors, often on a product by product basis.