The Asembia conference looked a bit different in 2021 amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as attendees were required to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and wear masks while indoors. However, attendees were excited to return to the annual Specialty Pharmacy Summit after a necessary pause on events in 2020. This year’s summit brought to light a variety of new topics surrounding the ever-evolving specialty pharmacy market.
The dominance of oncology drugs within the specialty pharmacy sector was made abundantly clear in this year’s event. Michelle Booth of MagellanRx Management mentioned that oncology drugs were at the top of the spending category for commercial, Medicare and Medicaid lines of business. Manufacturers and pharmacies recognize the importance of patient access and education programs, especially for high-cost oncology drugs, and are looking for better ways to provide assistance to patients. Brands are beginning to harness technology to connect with patients directly and provide them with copay assistance, savings coupons, and educational leaflets.
In addition to cost and access, specialty pharmacy professionals understand that getting patients to follow their prescribed therapy is yet another challenge that needs to be faced. With oral oncology drugs, adherence to the medication regimen is absolutely essential to achieving quality outcomes in cancer treatment. However, oral oncology regimens are extremely complex and often include several doses per day. To alleviate the stress of staying on track, specialty pharmacies are deploying technology like Groove Health to provide cancer patients with medication management tools such as reminders, education, and symptom tracking.
It was evident that stakeholders at Asembia 2021 are committed to utilizing innovative technology to support and empower their patients throughout the care journey to achieve better outcomes at a lower cost.