New nonprofit represents specialty pharmacy

January 31, 2013

The specialty pharmaceutical market is currently fragmented with extreme variation in knowledge/education, patient care management, service, and outcomes.

The specialty pharmaceutical market is currently fragmented with extreme variation in knowledge/education, patient care management, service, and outcomes. This market fragmentation has fueled the formation of the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP).

 “Specialty will become the standard for pharmacy,” Gary M. Cohen, BSPharm, RPh, interim executive director of the Specialty Pharmacy Certification Board and CEO, NASP, told Formulary.

 NASP is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to represent all specialty pharmacy stakeholders. “NASP will provide an identity for all stakeholders in the specialty pharmacy industry and represent the best interests of the specialty pharmacy industry. Specialty pharmacy cuts across all distribution channels of pharmacy,” Michael A. Nameth, RPh, MBA, interim executive director, National Association of Specialty Pharmacy, told Formulary.

 “Deeper knowledge and educational programs are required for the drugs, complex therapies, and diseases,” Nameth said. “High-touch services are required for the handling, administration, and care management of specialty patients and drugs.”

 Only 3% to 5% of the population current use specialty drugs,  and in some cases the drugs are only available through a limited or exclusive distribution network of pharmacies.

 Specialty is the fastest growing segment in pharmacy today and the future, according to Nameth. “Payers are experiencing a 15% to 20% annual trend for specialty drugs and the management of specialty in the pharmacy and medical benefit will be a primary focus for payers going forward,” he said. “Specialty formularies will become an important tool for managing the rising costs.”

 Additionally, 50% of the top 100 drugs and 8 of the top 10 will be specialty pharmaceuticals by 2016.

Among other things, NASP will provide accredited educational programming for all healthcare professionals servicing specialty patients, provide preparatory programs for the Certified Specialty Pharmacist credential, provide organizational and business-to-business education and training for specialty pharmacy stakeholders to improve their operations and compliance to accreditation and licensure standards.