Area of Interest

Specialty Pharmacy

By 2018–2020, 50% of all drugs sold in the United States are expected to be specialty pharmaceuticals, compared with 30% today.[1] These high-cost medications help treat patients with complex conditions such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, solid organ transplant and hemophilia. Whether infused, injected or taken orally, they typically require special handling, monitoring and specialty expertise.

With the shift toward value-based arrangements, both integrated delivery networks and academic medical centers are assuming more risk for total cost of care. Although these systems are well positioned to manage patients with specialty pharmacy needs, few are integrating it in a comprehensive way. This leaves them vulnerable to the coming market changes.

The $75.8 billion specialty market is projected to grow over 25% per year which presents financial challenges as well as opportunities. Moreover, it is estimated that five of the largest specialty drug manufacturers will control 75% of the market. With restrictive contracting from some payers and specialty drug manufacturers, health systems are susceptible to fragmented care of their most vulnerable patients.

Specialty drug spending to jump 67% by 2015[2]

Average specialty medications cost 50 times more[3] than average traditional drug

Expert Perspective

Explosion in specialty drug market

The specialty pharmaceutical industry is on the cusp of one of the largest growth periods in history.

Read More

Spotlight Solutions

McKesson Specialty Health for Hospitals
McKesson Specialty Health helps to advance the science, technology and quality of care through integrated technology and product distribution excellence. Learn More »

[1] Specialty drugs will account for 50% of all drug costs by 2018, Formulary, June 1, 2013

[2] Express Scrips, May 22, 2013

[3] Specialty Today + Tomorrow, Prime Therapeutics