You might be familiar with retail pharmacies. These are establishments where you can purchase over-the-counter medications such as pain relief, allergy care, and cough suppressants. You can also pick up your usual prescriptions from retail pharmacies. The pharmacists here provide general healthcare advice to the public. Most retail pharmacies sell many other items and can be seen as stores of convenience for most of your needs.
Specialty pharmacies, on the other hand, deal with specific specialty medications that cannot be found in retail pharmacies. These pharmacies are targeted on high cost products that are used to treat complex specific disease states including chronic and rare conditions. Specialty pharmacies not only dispense oral, injectable, and biologic agents, but provide remote patient care. Employees at specialty pharmacies fulfill completely different duties using a unique skill-set to navigate the complexities between insurance, providers, and the patient. They are patient advocates, helping with co-pay assistance, medication management and therapy compliance, all to improve the patient's health. Communications with patients can occur a variety of ways including phone calls, mobile-enabled patient assessments, and/or patient pickup.
Specialty medications are oral, injectable, inhaled or infused medications characterized as high cost drugs. These medications are large molecules and complex proteins that undergo a biotech process to create. Non-specialty drugs are simpler to create using a chemical process and typically pressed into a pill or filled in a capsule. Specialty medications are more complex to administer and handle, often necessitating special shipping and storage requirements such as temperature control. these medications require advanced patient support needs usually due to severe side effects that can impact adherence. They have complex payor coverage requirements under medical or pharmacy benefits. Specialty medications are used in treatment of many different therapeutic categories.
Some common specialty therapeutic categories that you've probably heard of are:
How does a specialty pharmacy support patients, providers, pharma, and payors?
Therigy's specialty therapy management platform, TherigySTM, is integrated with select dispensing systems and EHR platforms, creating a scalable and automated clinical management tool to help specialty pharmacies manage their patients and grow their business.