About Specialty Drugs + Specialty Pharmacies
Specialty medications, specialty drugs, and specialty pharmaceuticals are three different ways to talk about the kinds of prescription you can only get through a — surprise — specialty pharmacy.
What is a specialty medication?
So, what makes specialty medications different from standard medications? While the specialty drug market is growing to include treatments for more standard health conditions like asthma and eczema, as a general rule, they will fit into one or more of the following categories:
- Formulated to treat complex, rare, and/or chronic medical conditions
- Available only at high costs — often thousands of dollars per month
- Filled only at specialty pharmacies, and not at standard retail or community pharmacies
- Require special handling, shipping, storage, or administration
- Humira — used to treat inflammatory conditions including moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease
- Stelara — used to lower inflammation in treatment of plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
- Enbrel — used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, etc.
- Dupixent — used to treat moderate to severe eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- Trikafta — used to treat cystic fibrosis
- Biktarvy — used to treat HIV-1 and help control infection
- Tremfya — used to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
- Revlimid — used to treat myeloma and blood disorders; also used as part of clinical trials for other cancer types
- Otezla — used to treat plaque psoriasis and oral ulcers associated with Behcet’s disease
- Norditropin — used to treat children with low or no growth hormone
These are just the most popular specialty pharmaceuticals — there are currently more than 450 of these drugs on the market, treating more than 6,800 diseases.
Many specialty medications are biologics, a class of drug developed using components derived from blood, proteins, viruses, or living organisms. They’re harder to produce, harder to replicate, and come with the risk of serious side effects and require close monitoring.
Why specialty drugs require specialty pharmacies
To get your specialty medication requires a different plan than getting regular prescriptions. You’ll need to develop a relationship with a specialty pharmacy. And that’s after dealing with your insurance. (Specialty drugs can be covered through a prescription drug benefit or through your medical benefits — it typically depends on how the drug is administered. You can learn more about that here.)
A specialty pharmacy isn’t just certified to dispense specialty medications, though. They often specialize in high-touch, patient-centric relationship management to help improve the patient experience and outcomes. Patients with complex illnesses taking specialty drugs often require added education, monitoring and support.
Sona Specialty Pharmacy
An excellent specialty pharmacy will serve as an advocate for its patients. That’s our mission at Sona. Sona Specialty Pharmacy offers enhanced services to ensure patients have the best possible experience. As a URAC accredited specialty pharmacy, it’s our aim to keep prescriptions simple, serve patients better, and support patients and practitioners in driving the best possible outcomes.
Our specialty pharmacy services include:
- Quick, convenient order placement
- Claims management services
- Clear conversations around cost and financial assistance
- Free specialty drug shipping
- Complimentary injection training
- Adherence monitoring
- And more
If you’re in the market for a specialty pharmacy, our team would love to help. Give us a call at (828) 348-3033.