Physician Perspectives on Specialty Medications (North Star Opinion Research)

Key Findings

Key Findings

In 2013, North Star Opinion Research conducted a national online survey of 500 physicians in the rheumatology, nephrology, infectious disease, oncology, and neurology specialties who prescribe specialty medications.

In 2015, they conducted an online survey of 400 physicians in the cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, rheumatology, nephrology, infectious disease, oncology, pulmonology, and hematology specialties who prescribe specialty medications.

Based on these two online surveys, key findings are:

  1. There are high levels of usage and satisfaction among physicians with specialty pharmacies.
  2. Two-thirds of physicians who work with specialty pharmacies believe very few, if any, traditional retail drug stores have the expertise to provide specialty medications to patients.
Specialty Medication Access

Specialty Medication Access

In the first survey, physicians said their patients have access to specialty medications from a variety of sources:

  • 30% from a specialty pharmacy, compared to…
    • 21% from a drug store
    • 10% from a doctor’s office or practice
    • 8% percent from an outpatient clinic
    • 6% percent from a mail service pharmacy
    • And, 22% from a combination of sources

In the follow up survey, these specialists noted a move toward specialty pharmacies:

  • 38% from a specialty pharmacy, compared to…
    • 17% from a drug store
    • 8% from a doctor’s office or practice
    • 8% from a mail service pharmacy
    • 3% from an outpatient clinic
    • And, 23% from a combination of sources
Specialty Pharmacies

Specialty Pharmacies

In the first survey, physicians who worked with specialty pharmacies were overwhelmingly satisfied with their services. 66% of the physicians who prescribe specialty medications worked with specialty pharmacies and were satisfied with their services by an 89 to 7% margin.

In the follow-up, physicians who worked with specialty pharmacies continued to be overwhelmingly satisfied with their services. 70% of the physicians who prescribed specialty medications worked with specialty pharmacies and were satisfied with their services by an 89 to 9% margin.

Retail Pharmacies

Retail Pharmacies

In 2013, only 5% of the physicians who worked with specialty pharmacies believed that all drug stores “have the expertise and capability to provide the different types of specialty medications to patients.”

In 2015, only 2% of the physicians who worked with specialty pharmacies believed that all drug stores “have the expertise and capability to provide the different types of specialty medications to patients.”

Patient Copays

Patient Copays

Physicians believe that drug companies should offer discounts to individuals who can’t afford expensive specialty drugs instead of making small businesses offer lower copays.

Only 35% of the physicians in these fields believed that small businesses should be required to have lower copays for expensive specialty medications, while 45% believed drug companies should be required to offer discounts to individuals who cannot afford the drugs.

Resources & References

Resources & References

Key Findings from the Survey of Oncologists, Neurologists, Rheumatologists, Nephrologists, and Infectious Disease Specialists Regarding Access to Specialty Medications. North Star Opinion Research. November 6-20, 2013.

Key Findings from the Survey of New York Physicians Regarding Specialty Medication. North Star Opinion Research. April 24-30, 2015.