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Diplomat video series talks specialty pharmacy

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FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Pharmacy Inc. is launching a video Q&A series highlighting the role of specialty pharmacy and how it works with physicians to support patients with complex chronic conditions.

Called “Diplomat Dialogues,” the video conversations — in recognition of American Pharmacists Month — will feature industry leaders discussing specialty pharmacists’ skill set and personal approach to patient care. Diplomat said the goal is to identify ways that specialty pharmacies can be resources for their patients and the industry can come together to supplement and plan the future of specialty care.

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The Diplomat Dialogues panelists (from top left): Gary Rice, Diplomat; Micaila Ruiz, Amber Pharmacy; Thomas Menighan, APhA; and Burt Zweigenhaft, NASP.

The sessions will feature Gary Rice, senior vice president of clinical services, education and human resources at Diplomat; Thomas Menighan, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA); Micaila Ruiz, chief pharmacy officer of specialty pharmacy Amber Pharmacy; and Burt Zweigenhaft, board member and president of the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP).

“We are excited to partner with such industry leaders as we highlight pharmacists in specialty and recognize the role they have in taking care of patients each day,” Rice said in a statement. “With the expanding role of pharmacists, it is important for us to show our appreciation and their benefit to the health care system.”

The first video conversation, titled “All for the Patient,” is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 27.

“A specialty pharmacy serves the nation’s most critically ill patients,” APhA’s Menighan said. “Partnering with Diplomat to create this dialogue is a new way for us to bring patients and professionals together, listen to these stories and find insight for us all.”

Citing figures from the Association of American Medical Colleges, Diplomat reported that there’s a projected shortage of 61,700 to 94,700 doctors by 2025, which will largely stem from an expanding Medicare population and limits on support for physician training. That shortfall, Diplomat noted, will be especially acute in chronic and specialty conditions.

“Specialty pharmacies play a pivotal role in the lives of patients with chronic, complex conditions. This role extends far beyond simply dispensing medication,” Amber’s Ruiz explained. “As therapies become more complex and we face a physician shortage — particularly in specialty conditions — the specialty pharmacy industry and specialty pharmacist are perfectly positioned to help. They offer the clinical expertise and training to help fill the gaps and supplement the care of patients with specialty conditions.”

A fast-growing component of the health care ecosystem, specialty pharmacies provide services, support and solutions for patients with chronic and complex conditions such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, blood disorders and rare diseases.

“The delivery of pharmacy care is getting more complex with the new specialty pharmaceutical technology and disease knowledge we have today,” NASP’s Zweigenhaft stated. “Pharmacists in specialty who continue to push the boundaries of care are the thought leaders of tomorrow that we need to recognize for their commitment to patients and value-based quality care.”

The nation’s largest independent specialty pharmacy, Diplomat serves patients and physicians in all 50 states and focuses on medication management programs for people with complex chronic diseases, including oncology, immunology, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, specialized infusion therapy, and other serious or long-term conditions.


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