As it kicks off its annual Specialty Pharmacy Summit (Las Vegas, Apr. 29-May 2), Asembia has announced a new offering that provides a level of patient support to drugs that typically are not budgeted for the high-touch, high-cost services of hub providers. The Asembia Managed Retail Network combines the company’s network of 25,000 affiliated pharmacies with its platform for digital communications around prescription fulfillment, benefits verification and prior authorization, thus combining a “light” hub service with patient followup care. The combination promises to improve the speed to therapy, reduce prescription abandonment, and generate positive patient reaction.
Hub services, whether provided in-house by a specialty pharmaceutical company our outsourced to numerous providers (including Asembia) generally provide those digital services, combined with care coordinators that can assist in the patient journey. As the volume of specialty pharmaceuticals has grown, so has the need for patient support. Other hub providers have been providing this light service (one, Triplefin, now owned by McKesson, trademarked “Hub Lite”), but few have the large number of pharmacies that can provide the in-store support of the Asembia network.
The specialty pharmacy channel is growing fast, but still represents a challenge for companies that want national coverage and to get as close to patients as possible. Adam Fein, head of consulting firm Pembroke Consulting, has just published his annual listing of specialty pharmacies that have garnered specialty-pharmacy certification of one sort or another: The channel has grown by 25% in the past year, now amounting to just over 900.
“Our manufacturer clients are really excited about jumping on this service,” says Bill Fitzgerald, VP marketing at Asembia. “In some cases, where we’re connected to the electronic medical records (EMR) system that the doctor might be using, the patient will know their coverage and copay before leaving the doctor’s office.”
Asembia, over the years, has carved out a unique position as both a hub services provider and a sort-of group purchasing organization for independent pharmacies. Its annual Summit is expected to attract over 6,500 attendees, with exhibitions from many of the specialty pharmaceutical companies who want to connect with the specialty pharmacy channel.