June 11, 2014


The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) today released a new ad campaign in New York — “I’m Not Willing to Send My Patients to Just Any Pharmacy” — that highlights how specialty physicians believe that not all drugstores are capable of safely dispensing and administering specialty medications that treat chronic conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis.

See the new ad, “I’m Not Willing to Send My Patients to Just Any Pharmacy”

Legislation (S.3995-B) exempting drugstores from performance standards raises patient safety concerns and could increase prescription drug costs by $6 billion over the next decade, according to a recent study.

A national survey of physicians who prescribe specialty medications found that just 5% believe that all drugstores “have the expertise and capability to provide the different types of specialty medications to patients.”

“Ensuring patient safety for those taking complex medicines for conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses should be a top priority,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt. “It’s wrong to make employers contract with drugstores that may not be qualified to dispense these complex specialty medicines.”

In addition, a new report by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) notes that federal and state policymakers should avoid undermining specialty pharmacies’ expertise in dispensing costly specialty medications. The NCPA report states:

“Specialty drugs require a level of experience and expertise that most drugstores simply do not possess. Stocking and dispensing specialty drugs often involves handling biological agents that are very fragile — often requiring complex distribution channels. For instance, many biological agents require sophisticated logistical planning — including climate-controlled shipping and meticulous storage — with specific protocols and documentation.”