Cystic Fibrosis specialty pharmacies are getting national attention due to a new combination drug pending FDA approval. The combination of ivacaftor plus lumacaftor will be available for treatment of patients that are 12 or older who have been shown to exhibit the gene mutation found in nearly half of all CF patients. Ivacaftor by itself has been approved since 2012, but is really only useful in about 4 percent of cystic fibrosis patients so far. It is the first drug treatment for a disease targeting a specific gene mutation. “Genetic research is helping advance new treatments that target not just the symptoms of disease, but the actual genetic causes,” said Kevin Bowen, MD. “But these new treatments are coming with a steep price tag, as people with cystic fibrosis will take these drugs for several decades. Nationally, it could cost our health system as much as $4.5 billion per year to treat up to 15,000 people with cystic fibrosis who could benefit from this new combination drug. People with cystic fibrosis, their health plans and especially self-insured employers, must prepare now to manage the significant costs associated with these new treatments.”Now Cystic Fibrosis specialty pharmacies must also prepare to deal with the new drug combination.
Since December of 2012 CF pharmacies have been up against Walgreens, the nation’s biggest chain when it comes to competing for patient market share. That’s when the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation established an alliance giving Walgreens a significant ownership stake in Cystic Fibrosis Services, Inc. (formerly the CF Foundation’s own specialty pharmacy). The foundation stated that they entered the alliance to give CF patients better pharmacy services and expand its patient assistance programs. Yet the alliance has been seen as a major obstacle to existing independent Cystic Fibrosis specialty pharmacies throughout the country.
If you operate an existing Cystic Fibrosis specialty pharmacy or have plans on opening up a new one, we urge you to contact HCC today. Healthcare Consultants has been helping specialty pharmacies thrive for over 25 years now. Let an experienced, proven Pharmacy Consulting company provide you with the assistance you may need. We have a professional full-time staff of pharmacists with a proven track record in every area of pharmacy operations. HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all areas of your business. Call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.