Specialty Pharmacy


Specialty pharmacy and specialty pharmaceuticals is a unique and growing industry. It refers to distribution channels that are designed to handle specialty drugs and therapies that are either high cost or high complexity.

Classifications of medication that may be considered specialty could include any or all of the following:

  • Treatment of complex, chronic, and/or rare conditions
  • High cost, often exceeding $10,000, with some costing more than $100,000 annually
  • Availability through exclusive, restricted, or limited distribution
  • Special storage, handling, and/or administration requirements
  • Ongoing monitoring for safety and/or efficacy
  • Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy

Here are a few of the services specialty pharmacies offer that might not typically be offered by a normal pharmacy:

  • 24-hour access to pharmacists
  • Adherence management
  • Proactive patient outreach for prescription refill and renewal
  • Prior authorization assistance
  • Benefits investigation
  • Patient education and medication adverse effect counseling
  • Patient monitoring for safety and efficacy
  • Payer and/or manufacturer reporting
  • Communication and follow-up with the physician
  • Dispensing of specialty pharmaceuticals and shipping coordination
  • Enrollment in patient assistance programs
  • Financial assistance

Specialty pharmacy is a growing practice that all pharmacists should have an understanding of. Collaborations between specialty pharmacies, manufacturers, payors and providers will help shape the future of the pharmaceutical industry as a whole, ultimately striving to provide the best patient care.