Dispensing specialty medications can greatly benefit your pharmacy. It gives you an edge over the competition because, unlike retail pharmacies, there isn’t a specialty pharmacy on every corner. Doctors will send patients your way to receive their specialty medications, and it’s likely that for convenience they’ll transfer the rest of your meds to you, increasing your customer base and revenue.
However, there are some things you should know before you can start reaping the benefits of specialty pharmacy.
You Will Need a Specialty Certification
Not just any pharmacist can dispense specialty medications. Because of the complexity of the medications and illnesses and specialized knowledge needed to properly care for these patients, additional training is required before you can be certified to purchase and distribute specialty medications.
There are perquisites to obtaining your CSP certification and other requirements. For example, you can’t have any felony convictions and must have a certain number of hours logged in specialty pharmacy practice. This is in addition to taking and passing the CSP examination. Like with your pharmacy license, a specialty pharmacy certification requires CE credit to stay up to date.
You can find all the information you need on obtaining a specialty certification on the Specialty Pharmacy Certification Board website.
PAs Are Often Required
Because of the nature and cost of specialty medication, many third-party insurances require prior authorization from the doctor before they will reimburse for that medication. Unless you have a person in your pharmacy dedicated to tracking down the answers for the insurance company, it may be pertinent find a partner that can help you.
Your pharmacy software vendor should partner with a company, like Covermymeds, to offer electronic prior authorization services that remove a lot of the hassle and reduce the time it takes to complete a prior authorization. This will make the process that much easier on your pharmacy.
Manufacturers’ Coupons Will Be Necessary
It’s very likely that you will have patients who come in, needing these life-saving, specialty medications who either don’t have insurance or whose insurance is not sufficient enough to make the copay affordable for the patient. This is where coupons come in. Coupons take some research and reaching out on the part of your pharmacy. However, this effort could make all the difference for your patient and, in turn, your adherence ratings.
Specialty Patients Require Extra Care and Counseling
Specialty patients are likely fighting complex and serious illnesses. The medications to fight them are potent and very expensive. This makes it crucial that patients take their medications as prescribed. This will require extra care on the part of your pharmacy. You will need to have in-depth counseling sessions to discuss side effects or difficulties in their regimen, propose solutions, and collaborate with prescribers to ensure the patient stays on top of their medications.
Prescriber Relationships Are Important
Collaboration with prescribers is crucial to success in specialty pharmacy. Although you are an expert on medication therapy, working with the prescriber ensures that you are all on the same page as far as the effects of the medication and what’s working for the patient and what’s not. Additionally, having a great relationship with the prescriber will make those prior authorizations even easier to obtain.
Now that you know some of things you’ll have to consider before dispensing specialty medication, you can really weigh the benefits against the costs and decide whether it’s the right niche for your pharmacy business.
If you’re interested in finding out how an innovative pharmacy software solution could help alleviate some of the struggles specialty pharmacies face, don’t hesitate to reach out!