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Published: May 22, 2017

Top 2 takeaways from Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit

May 20, 2017 - Curant Health COO, Marc O'Connor, in Managed Healthcare Executive - The 2017 Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit, held April 30 to May 3 in Las Vegas, delivered the goods in two of the hottest topics: value-based contracts and the race for health systems to enter the specialty pharmacy space.

Here are my top takeaways:

1. Integrated health system and specialty pharmacy integration—proceed with caution

Integrated health systems and large hospitals are racing to enter what they perceive to be a highly lucrative proposition: the specialty pharmacy space. The top question that they must address is will they build or partner to do so. This explains at least in part why we saw far more health systems represented at Asembia 2017 than in any other year in memory.

The interest is driven by an interest in moving towards an HMO (Kaiser) model and perceived profit generation. Health systems, however, should use extreme caution when considering their next steps in specialty pharmacy.

The resources required and mandatory risks associated with entering the specialty pharmacy space are high. As Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting, Inc., discussed during his presentation, “Specialty Pharmaceuticals and Pharmacy: Today, Tomorrow and Beyond,” there is a battle being waged over the patient journey, especially as it relates to data access, which may be driving systems to enter the specialty pharmacy space as well. But distribution network issues, DIR fees, and loss of focus from the core business for a poorly compensated piece of the puzzle are the top reasons health systems should proceed in their specialty pharmacy integration plans with extreme caution.

Partnering with a stable specialty pharmacy committed to improving patient outcomes through programs proven to improve adherence and reduce the overall healthcare might be the most prudent path forward.

To read Marc’s full article, visit Managed Healthcare Executive.

To learn more about Curant Health, contact Kristin Lindsey, Senior Marketing Director, at

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