Specialty Pharmacy in 2022: Our Key Takeaways from Asembia’s Summit

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December 9, 2021

By Chris Drashner


The Remedy Group had the opportunity to attend Asembia’s 2021 Specialty Pharmacy Summit in Las Vegas. This year’s summit honed in on a post-pandemic outlook for specialty pharmacy. Key topics included:

  • Growth in the industry
  • The battle for control of the specialty patient
  • Market access channels getting more organized, causing new risks and potential for creative partnerships
  • The importance of health equity and literacy

The following are the main takeaways from the summit revolving around the above topics:

With Growth Comes Competition

By 2025, specialty pharmacy will account for over half of the pharmaceutical industry’s revenues. With this continual growth, many healthcare organizations are battling to integrate specialty pharmacies within their existing structures. Just in the past five years, the number of pharmacy locations with specialty pharmacy accreditations (ACHC or URAC) has quadrupled.

A Need to Prioritize Communication

Throughout the entire summit, there was a continuous emphasis on improving communication between specialty pharmacies and patients. Speakers repeatedly stressed that specialty pharmacies should be optimizing their treatment options to be as navigable as possible for patients and their families. Having open communication and a clear path will help diminish families’ feelings of confusion, worry, and hopelessness before a diagnosis.

How the Pandemic Shifted the Future of Pharmacy and Orders

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of the modern world – and the specialty pharmaceutical industry is no exception. During the summit, Lance Grady of Avalere showcased the increased popularity of mail-order and non-retail, while traditional retail declined. This shift in order placements showcases telehealth’s capabilities and indicates that mail-orders will continue to grow and retail orders will continue to drop.

Oncology Drugs 

Oncology is the leading drug class in the United States and is one of the biggest growth drivers in specialty pharmacy. For commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid lines of business, oncology drugs were the top spend category. It is projected that by 2025, United States’ oncology spending will exceed $110 billion, with growth slowing to 10 percent from biosimilar savings.

The Importance of Health Equity

One of the biggest trends to emerge in 2021 is the awareness of the impact of disproportionate access and affordability for minority and underserved populations. Throughout the entire summit, speakers emphasized the importance of taking the time to understand the specific needs of patient populations. It’s imperative to think of ways to customize and deliver patient-centered healthcare. The goal is to provide people an equal opportunity to live their healthiest lives – no matter their race, sexual orientation, or income level.

Additionally, health literacy was a point of conversation in this panel. Panel speaker George Van Antwerp warned that while specialty pharmacy’s future is bright, it may be difficult for patients to keep up. This concern is especially true for:

  • Older adults
  • Minority populations
  • Medically underserved people
  • Individuals with low socioeconomic status

Hire Top Talent with The Remedy Group

At The Remedy Group, it’s our duty to stay up-to-date on specialty pharmacy industry trends to better serve our dynamic clients. If you’d like to discover how we can empower your company to find its next top-performing team member, contact our team at The Remedy Group today.