YAFI Online Programming // Disease State Management and Drug Therapy

Special Considerations for Special Conditions

The Community Pharmacist's Guide to Specialty Medications

Educational Objectives

After participating in this activity pharmacists will be able to:

  • Discuss the rapid growth of specialty pharmacy and the products most likely to be included in this category and provided by specialty-at-retail
  • Identify recent changes in oncology/neutropenia, rheumatologic conditions, and dermatology products provided in specialty-at-retail settings
  • Distinguish each FDA-approved product by condition it addresses
  • Maximize the community pharmacist's role in specialtyat-retail product provision and counseling patients

After participating in this activity pharmacy technicians will be able to:

  • Discuss the basic facts about specialty pharmacy and specialty-at-retail
  • Acquire reputable sources of information for patients who engage in specialty-at-retail programs
  • Distinguish between specialty products for oncology/neutropenia, rheumatologic conditions, and dermatology
  • Infer when to refer patients who use specialty-at-retail programs to the pharmacist for recommendations or referral

Special Considerations for Special Conditions

Session Offered

Release Date: July 15, 2019

Expiration Date: July 15, 2021

Course Fee

Free

Session Codes

19YC46-FXW93 Pharmacist

19YC46-TKX48 Pharmacy Technician

Accreditation Hours

2.0 hours of CE

Abstract

Specialty medications are used to treat complex, chronic, or rare conditions, such as Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, growth hormone disorders, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, oncology, and rheumatoid arthritis. They often require special storage and administration, increasing the need for support programs and patient education services. Specialty-at-retail programs provide the option for patients to pick up their specialty drugs at a local retail pharmacy. This provides an additional opportunity for pharmacist counseling before the medication reaches the patient. Oncolytics, medications to treat neutropenia, and drugs to treat rheumatologic and dermatologic conditions are among the most common dispensed via specialty-at-retail programs. Pharmacy teams are positioned to recognize patients who would benefit from additional counseling and teaching. Many specialty medications require specific storage and handling, and may have complicated administration techniques. Damaged medication due to improper storage and improper administration can lead to treatment failure. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should be able to assist patients with specialty medications and be aware of reputable resources to consult when they are unfamiliar with a specialty medication or condition. With proper education and training, pharmacy teams will be prepared and comfortable with counseling for medications dispensed via specialty-at-retail programs.

Accreditation Statements

The University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are eligible to participate in this application-based activity and will receive up to 0.2 CEU (2 contact hours) for completing the activity, passing the quiz with a grade of 70% or better, and completing an online evaluation. Statements of credit are available via the CPE Monitor on- line system and your participation will be recorded with CPE Monitor within 72 hours of submission

ACPE UAN:
0009-0000-19-046-H01-P
0009-0000-19-046-H01-T

Grant funding: Funded by an educational grant from Celgene

Cost: Free

Initial Release Date: July 15, 2019
Expiration Date: July 15, 2021

To obtain CPE credit, visit the UConn Online CE Center

Use your NABP E-profile ID and the session code 19YC46-FXW93 for pharmacists or 19YC46-TKX48 for pharmacy technicians to access the online quiz and evaluation.

First- time users must pre-register in the Online CE Center. Test results will be displayed immediately and your participation will be recorded with CPE Mon- itor within 72 hours of completing the requirements.

For questions concerning the online CPE activities, email joanne.nault@uconn.edu

Faculty

Kelsey Giara, Pharm.D. is a community pharmacist and freelance medical writer based in New Hampshire.

 

 

Faculty Disclosure

Dr. Giara has no actual or potential conflicts of interest associated with this article.

Disclosure of Discussions of Off-label and Investigational Drug Use

This activity may contain discussion of off label/unapproved use of drugs. The content and views presented in this educational program are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.

 

 

Content

Introduction

Specialty medications—given by injection or orally—are used to treat complex, chronic, or rare conditions. They often require special storage and administration, increasing the need for support programs and patient education services. Specialty drugs are loosely defined by two main factors: cost and complexity. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) categorizes a specialty drug as one with a minimum cost of $600 per month under the Part D drug benefit.1,2 Other organizations may establish higher cost thresholds, often exceeding $10,000 monthly or $100,000 annually. Specialty drugs encompass many factors, including2,3:

  • Treatment of complex, chronic, and/or rare conditions
  • Availability through restricted or limited distribution
  • Special storage, administration, and/or handling requirements
  • Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program necessity
  • Ongoing need for safety and efficacy monitoring

Due to specialty drugs’ sensitive nature and price points that are higher than traditional medications', self-identified “specialty pharmacies” are becoming increasingly more common entities. Specialty pharmacies’ standard care surpasses the services offered at a typical retail pharmacy. These additional services may include2:

  • 24-hour access to a pharmacist
  • Adherence management
  • Dispensing of specialty medications and shipping coordination
  • Financial assistance and enrollment in patient assistance programs
  • Patient education and adverse effect counseling
  • Monitoring for safety and efficacy
  • Prior authorization assistance
  • Proactive patient outreach for timely refill and renewal

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