December 5, 2023

Speciality Drug Distribution Market Strategies: Analyzing Trends for Cost Efficiency

The global demand for speciality drugs is on the rise due to the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases. In response, manufacturers are reevaluating their distribution strategies for these pharmaceuticals. The distribution of speciality drugs involves careful consideration of product characteristics, patient education, market reach, and administration and dispensing characteristics. Patient access and safety are paramount, requiring strict adherence to federal regulations and rigorous safety monitoring, especially given the often complex and expensive nature of these medications.

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Traditional distribution channels for physician-administered products are becoming increasingly fragmented and costly. To enhance the patient journey and reduce costs, a shift toward direct distribution programs is being explored. This transformation aims to connect manufacturers directly with patients, streamlining the supply chain. Failure to establish efficient distribution channels can deter physicians from prescribing certain medications, particularly when alternative treatments are available.

Limited distribution drugs (LDD) are medications accessible only through select pharmacies, often complicating patient access. While limitations exist for valid reasons, it can challenge patients in need of timely medication. Managing the distribution through speciality pharmacy networks offers greater control and oversight from manufacturers. This approach fosters closer patient relationships with healthcare providers, leading to improved medication adherence and better treatment outcomes.

Differing business interests within the healthcare system, including those of drug companies and payers, can sometimes conflict with one another. In the United States, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) play a significant role in administering prescription drug programs, affecting the distribution of speciality drugs. These drugs span various therapy areas, from anti-infective and cancer treatments to rare diseases and conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. As the industry evolves toward value-based payment models, where drug reimbursement depends on treatment outcomes, limited distribution networks are being rapidly adopted by speciality drug manufacturers.

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The speciality product distribution landscape encompasses three primary customer groups:

  1. Retail, Mail, and Speciality Pharmacies
  2. Physicians’ Offices/Clinics
  3. Hospitals

The majority of manufacturers currently employ limited distribution models, with over 75% of them choosing this approach. The number of speciality drug approvals is on the rise, with 39 such drugs receiving FDA approval in 2018 alone. With a promising pipeline of speciality drugs in development, market spending on these medications is expected to increase.

Accreditation and compliance with industry standards and regulations play a crucial role in speciality pharmacy operations. Entities such as the Accreditation Standard for Speciality Pharmacy (ASHP), Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), and others contribute to maintaining high standards in the industry. Additionally, critical laws enforced by the FDA, DEA, and EPA ensure the safety and security of the drug supply chain, regulation of controlled substances, and the management of pharmaceutical hazardous waste.

As the market for speciality drugs continues to expand, major speciality drug distributors are playing a pivotal role in ensuring access to these vital medications. Some of the leading distributors include ASD Healthcare, AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Avella, Cardinal Health, and McKesson Speciality Health, among others.

The healthcare industry is at a crossroads, seeking greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the distribution of speciality pharmaceuticals. Manufacturers, distributors, and regulators are collaborating to ensure that patients receive the specialized care they need while navigating the complex landscape of speciality drugs.

Global Industry Analysis (2018 – 2021) – Growth Trends and Market Forecast (2022 – 2029)

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This press release first seen on Brilad