June 15, 2015

(Washington D.C.)— 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” — highlighting a new survey of specialty physicians in New York that finds only two percent think all drugstores have the “expertise and capability” to provide specialty medications to patients.

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

Specialty medications treat conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis, can require special handling, and are often infused intravenously or injected.

New York legislation (S.2530/A.6194) exempting drugstores from certain safety and performance standards threatens to undermine patient safety and could also increase prescription drug costs by $400 million in 2016 and $6 billion over the next decade, according to a new study. The legislation would force public and private sector payers to contract with any drugstore to provide complex specialty medications — regardless of its qualifications.

“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.”

Specialty pharmacies lower costs for these medications by promoting generics, reducing medication errors, and administering biologic medicines that can be injected or delivered intravenously.

A recent report by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) notes that state policymakers should avoid undermining specialty pharmacies’ expertise in dispensing costly specialty medications. The NCPA report states:

“Specialty drugs are very expensive, costing thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per month — creating a gold rush among firms vying to provide these lucrative services.

“Well-managed, exclusive specialty pharmacy networks allow manufacturers to track drugs that require specific or complex dosing and laboratory monitoring. FDA monitoring requirements favor tightly controlled networks for safety reasons. Moreover, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) agrees exclusive networks are an effective means of cost control. Regulations that inhibit drug plans from establishing highly efficient, preferred specialty networks also make it more difficult to ensure the integrity of these drugs.”