The specialty pharmacy industry is relatively young compared to other healthcare sectors, with its origins tracing back to the early 1970s. However, this industry’s explosive growth has certainly made up for its late start. Specialty drug spending has nearly doubled in the past five years, contributing to more than two-thirds of overall medicine spending increases between 2010 and 2015, according to healthcare data firm IQVIA. For the most part, this growth has been driven through innovative new therapies for conditions like cancer, HIV and hepatitis C.
No matter what the therapeutic class and indication, many specialty medications are delivered through some type of limited distribution network today. This means that a small number of pharmacies provide access to a particular therapy. Patients and providers may wonder why drug manufacturers chose to limit the size of a specialty pharmacy network, as well as what factors come into play when developing the optimal network size. To answer these questions and many others, Avella has created an in-depth report that details the advantages realized by this approach for everyone involved in the health care system—especially patients.
This fact-based white paper will explore the types of limited distribution models being used today, as well as insights on the following topics:
- Emerging industry trends, including opportunities for growth in top therapeutic classes such as oncology, hepatitis C, autoimmune/inflammatory conditions and multiple sclerosis.
- A perspective on how limiting drug distribution within a specialty pharmacy network leads to greater control and oversight by manufacturers, as well as improved quality.
- The characteristics of different limited distribution networks including Exclusive, Limited Small and Limited Large.
- Data that shows many limited distribution networks are shrinking, containing far fewer pharmacies than they did just a decade ago. While limited distribution networks for these drugs used to commonly include upwards of 25 or 30 pharmacies, today they on average include one to three.¹
- The top three issues that influence network size: the drug’s clinical profile, training and product launch needs as well as patient population size.
- The advantages of these networks for patients, manufacturers and payors.
- The key factors considered by manufacturers in selecting pharmacies for limited distribution networks.
¹Trends in Oral Oncology Specialty Pharmacy Distribution. SP Finder. Dec 2017.