More in specialty pharmacy mail order (From Pharmacy Best Practices, Dec. 2007)

December 1, 2007

Groups such as WellPoint are turning specialty pharmacy into a highly beneficial business model for everyone from the non-clinician to physicians.

Groups such as WellPoint are turning specialty pharmacy into a highly beneficial business model for everyone from the non-clinician to physicians.

WellPoint offers specialty pharmacy through PrecisionRx Specialty Solutions, which has a new state-of-the-art facility in Indianapolis that handles more than 1,000 drugs for 14 diseases, including hemophilia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Hepatitis C and cancer.

The new facility uses much of the same technology for specialty pharmacy as it employs to mail order, but also has implemented automated dispensing of large refrigerated boxes containing many of the specialty drugs. "Freeing up personnel enables us to shift resources from fulfillment to care management," says Matt Totterdale, staff vice president, PrecisionRx Pharmacy Operations.

Totterdale points out that patients using mail service are older than most availing themselves of specialty pharmacy, thus, opening up modes of communication, such as cell phones and computers, for the latter.

In addition to the monthly calls, clinicians conduct risk assessments, stratify patients, contact them and again determine next steps, which may include outreach to the member's physician. Issues such as non-compliance and hospitalization are two areas of concern. "We advocate for our patients," Totterdale adds. Results of these care management programs are not yet available.

Totterdale says that self-injected drugs sent to patients' homes far outweigh the office-infused or office-injectables, but he foresees that with the advent of some new biologics, the balance will fall more toward 50/50 between home- and office-based delivery.