Grocers expand specialty pharmacy services
and seek accreditation.
BY GROCERY HEADQUARTERS STAFF
ALBERTSONS COS. IS THE LATEST OF A GROWING NUMBER OF SUPERMARKETS TO DIVE INTO THE SPECIALTY PHAR; MACY BUSINESS with its late May acquisition of MedCart Specialty Pharmacy, which provides customized care ser- vices and medication management for patients dealing
with complex diseases, such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
“MedCart Specialty Pharmacy has built an exemplary operation
which complements our patient-centered care strategy and pharmacy
services growth plan,” says Mark Panzer, senior vice president of pharmacy health and wellness for the Boise, Idaho-based retailer. “Their
team has done a tremendous job establishing a service culture that
focuses on the patient.”
Functioning as a new business unit under Albertsons’ pharmacy
team, Livonia, Mich.-based MedCart will continue to operate as it did
prior to the acquisition, providing its specialty prescription services
and medications from two facilities in Michigan. MedCart is accredited
by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC).
Albertsons is one of the largest food and drug retailers in;the U.S.,
operating stores across 35 states and the;District of Columbia;under 20
banners. With this acquisition, the retailer joins the ranks of supermarkets including Kroger, Publix, H-E-B, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Meijer,
Hy-Vee and Price Chopper, which have launched specialty pharmacies
in recent years.
THE BOOM IN SPECIALTY
The specialty pharmacy business is booming, according to Adam J.
Fein, Ph.D., president of Philadelphia-based Pembroke Consulting and
CEO of Drug Channels, who estimates that for 2016, retail, mail, spe-
cialty and long-term care pharmacies dispensed about $115 billion in
specialty pharmaceuticals. This is up from $98 billion in 2015.
“Given the challenges of accessing and dispensing specialty drugs
from a retail setting, many drugstore and grocery chains instead oper-
ate central-fill specialty pharmacies,” explains Fein.
While he notes that, “specialty dispensing at retail pharmacies con-
stitutes a minority of the specialty drug market,” with about 16 per-
cent of specialty prescription revenues coming from retail chains and
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