The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unrelenting trial—one that, in many ways, accelerated the pace of change in the life sciences industry. In the wake of breathtakingly fast novel vaccine development, an abrupt shift toward virtual care and a renewed focus on digital therapeutics, things look vastly different than they did less than two years ago.
But amid this industry-wide evolution, where does that leave specialty pharmacy? With roughly two-thirds of novel therapies approved as specialty drugs in 2019, it’s clear that the specialty pharmacy space is poised to continue its rapid ascent.
I’ll be learning more about the changes on the horizon at this year’s Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit, taking place Oct. 26-29 in Las Vegas. Here are three key industry trends that I expect will be top of mind for attendees:
- The role of value-based contracting in specialty pharmacy: Value-based contracting is on its way, and in some therapeutic areas it’s already here. When it comes to an industry shift this large, there’s much to discuss: How will pharma companies and payers work together to assign a monetary value to product performance? Will third-party organizations like ICER help move the needle? How will innovative yet costly therapies like CAR-T fit within a value-based care framework?
Now is the time for a careful examination of healthcare stakeholders’ business models, policy development and data, which will be essential for evaluating where value-based contracting makes the most sense.
- Increased scrutiny on specialty products: In light of economic pressures brought on by COVID-19, plan sponsors are becoming increasingly savvy at controlling costs, especially when it comes to specialty drug spend. We’re seeing plan sponsors experimenting with various cost-cutting strategies, from keeping a closer watch on product utilization to offering alternate sites of care for drug administration.
While controlling costs is everyone’s game, it will be interesting to see how plan sponsors leverage tools and technology to assess the value of specialty products and the impact on their members.
- The abundance of specialty drugs in the pipeline: As specialty products continue to dominate new drug development, it’s increasingly important to understand what’s coming down the pike. Payers, in particular, benefit from having insight into what’s coming to market: What are the key trends in specialty drug development? Which medications can payers expect to see within key therapeutic areas? Which specialty products might impact their plan populations and the marketplace at large?
While it’s an exciting time for the specialty pharmacy industry, clearly there are more questions than answers when it comes to what the future holds. But much like the rest of the industry, especially over the course of the pandemic, I expect that change will be the only constant.
MMIT will be on site at this year’s Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit. Schedule a meeting with one of our experts to discuss your team’s needs and how MMIT’s solutions can help.