Navigating Distribution Challenges for Rare Disease Drugs

By March 16, 2022 March 31st, 2022 No Comments

Brandon Salke, Pharm.D., Pharmacist-in-Charge, Optime Care, quotes featured in Pharmaceutical Technology on Feb. 28, 2022:

Bringing a new treatment for a rare disorder to the market often presents challenges such as reaching niche patient populations, handling complex delivery needs and getting insurers to cover costly drugs. Unlike other drugs, orphan drugs require specialty pharmacies with high-touch capabilities and with the increase of orphan drugs spending in the U.S., manufacturers and specialty pharmacies are seeking new distribution strategies.

This article discusses the different distribution strategies for rare disease treatment and how specialty pharmacies and value-based contracts could shape drug distribution. Some strategies include a “hub and spoke” model for rare disease with around 50,000 patients which involved multiple specialty pharmacies offering the best reimbursement and access opportunities, a consolidated distribution solution which normally leads to a lower net cost for drug manufacturers and lastly, an exclusive agreement with one specialty pharmacy which ultimately allows manufacturers to decrease costs and streamline vendor management.

Gene therapies can cost hundreds of thousands, even up to a million dollars and as more therapies enter the market, payers will seek out innovative payment structures to help curb the cost and provide a safety net.