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HDA Foundation report looks at specialty supply chain

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ARLINGTON, Va. — Data published by the HDA Research Foundation reveal the changing market dynamics of the nearly $200 billion specialty pharmaceutical supply chain segment — and the important role HDA-member specialty pharmaceutical distributors play within it. The 2018 Specialty Pharmaceutical Distribution: Facts, Figures and Trends publication is based on an annual survey of HDA-member specialty distributors with sales greater than $1 billion for the 2017 (or most recently completed) fiscal year, and includes secondary data from leading healthcare organizations, such as IQVIA.

For the latest edition, the HDA Research Foundation updated its definition of specialty pharmaceuticals to align with IQVIA and other organizations. Specialty pharmaceuticals include those that treat chronic, complex and rare diseases while meeting at least four out of seven criteria related to cost, delivery, distribution and patient care. Information on specialty delivery models, payer/insurance-related issues and the continued emergence of biosimilars also is covered.

“Over the past five years, specialty product sales grew to comprise 43% of the total U.S. pharmaceutical market,” said Perry Fri, executive vice president of industry relations, membership and education, HDA; and chief operating officer of the HDA Research Foundation. “Our research quantifies the valuable role specialty distributors play, while analyzing the various factors that may lead to more modest segment growth in the coming years.”

Among the data reported in the latest edition:

  • Oncology products accounted for the bulk of specialty distributor sales volume by therapeutic area, though this category experienced a slight decrease to 49.2% in 2017 from 50.6% in 2016.
  • Distributors reported they expected the autoimmune/immune, central nervous system, inflammatory and ophthalmology therapeutic areas to rise in importance.
  • Each individual surveyed specialty distributor served 28,263 healthcare provider accounts and more than 43,853 unique ship-to points. Independent physician-owned clinics made up most of these ship-to points — more than 18,000 outlets on average.
  • Specialty distributors received more than 4,400 orders daily from their provider customers and picked 7,300 lines per day, with a nearly 99 percent fill rate.
  • Nearly 1 percent of specialty pharmaceutical product units was returned in 2017, with “damaged in transit” or “overstocked product” the most commonly mentioned reasons for returns.

      •  Of the survey respondents, 75% noted experiencing shortages of more than 11 products over the previous 12 months. These events were communicated to providers via email or Web portal, among other methods.

The 2018 Specialty Pharmaceutical Distribution: Facts, Figures and Trends was made possible through the sponsorship of Genentech, A Member of the Roche Group and Value Drug Company (silver sponsors); and Amneal Biosciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. (bronze sponsors). The publication is available as a complimentary download through the HDA website.


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