A specialty pharmacy is a niche pharmacy business that is designed to handle specialty drugs — pharmaceutical therapies that are either high cost, high complexity, and/or high touch. When we talk about high touch we are talking about a higher degree of complexity in terms of distribution, administration, or patient management which drives up the cost of the drugs.
Specialty drugs are used for treating different types of cancers, hepatitis C, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
If you want to start a specialty pharmacy business, it won’t be a bad idea to want to know how you are going to be making money from the business, and perhaps the profitability of the business. If that is part of your concern, then you are reading the right article.
6 Ways Specialty Pharmacies Make Their Money
Dispensing Specialty Drugs
One of the major sources of income for a specialty pharmacy store is the dispensing of specialty drugs. As a matter of fact, the whole concept of specialty pharmacy is to have a store that can dispense some special medications that are high cost, high complexity, and/or high touch.
Examples of specialty drugs or medications are Humira (adalimumab), Remicade (infliximab), Enbrel (etanercept), Rituxan (rituximab), Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), Herceptin (trastuzumab), Avastin (bevacizumab), Spinraza (nusinersen), and Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor) amongst others.
One interesting thing about specialty drugs is that you aren’t going to find them in your regular pharmacy stores. Please note that the markup for specialty drugs or medications is far more than the everyday drugs that you can find in a regular pharmacy store hence the reason why specialty pharmacy stores are considered highly profitable.
Distribution of Specialty Drugs
Aside from dispensing specialty drugs which is the major source of income for a specialty pharmacy store, a specialty pharmacy business can also make money by becoming a major distributor of specialty drugs.
There are pharmaceutical companies that are specialized in producing specialty drugs and they are always reaching out to qualified pharmacy businesses to serve as distributors for them. If you own a specialty pharmacy business and you have a qualified pharmacist that can handle specialty drugs, you may want to explore this idea if indeed you want to make extra money for your business.
Please note that you will require standard vehicles, permits, and licenses to be able to work as a specialty drug distributor in the United States of America.
Engage in Research and Clinical Trials for Specialty Drugs Manufacturers
Another source of income for a specialty pharmacy business is to help with research and clinical trials for specialty drug manufacturing companies. As expected, some specialty drugs manufacturing companies usually reach out to experienced specialty pharmacies to help them with research and even clinical trials.
They normally do this if there is a need for them to improve the effectiveness of their drugs or if there is a need to introduce new specialty drugs into the market.
Although securing a contract to help in research and clinical trials for specialty drug manufacturing companies might be highly competitive, if you have a proven track record for always delivering, you won’t struggle to secure one when the need arises.
From Endorsement and Support
If you are able to build a strong brand; that is a specialty pharmacy that is well-known and well-spread, then one of the ways you can make money is to sign endorsement deals with specialty drugs manufacturing companies and also other related drugs and medical equipment companies who may want to leverage your brand to promote their business.
Usually, new businesses who are looking for publicity leverage endorsement from known brands or influencers to announce their presence in the market space.
Sale of Specialized Medical Equipment and Instruments
Another source of income that is suitable for a specialty pharmacy store is to start selling specialized medical equipment and instrument. Interestingly, you don’t have to seek additional permits to be able to display and sell specialized medical equipment and instruments in your pharmacy store.
Please note that specialized medical equipment and instruments are used in various medical specialties for diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of patients hence there is a large and thriving market for them.
Examples of specialized medical equipment and instruments you should consider selling in your specialty pharmacy store are Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Machines, Computed Tomography (CT) Scanner, Endoscope, Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) Machine, Ventilator, Defibrillator, Surgical Robots, Ultrasound Machine, Infusion Pump, Laser Systems, Prosthetic Limbs, and Surgical Instruments et al.
From Patient Support Programs
Lastly, another service offering that a specialty pharmacy can leverage to earn additional income is to offer what is known as patient support programs.
The fact that people who usually need specialty drugs or medications are people with chronic or terminal diseases means that they may require a special patient support program to be able to effectively manage the sickness. Interestingly, specialty pharmacies are well-equipped and trained to provide comprehensive patient support programs for patients who are undergoing treatment.
Please note that the patient support programs that specialty pharmacies offer may include medication counseling, adherence monitoring, and any ongoing support services that will help the patient get better.
These are just some of the options available to a specialty pharmacy store that wants to earn additional income from offering additional services or products. Please note that a specialty pharmacy is at liberty to add additional services or products within the confine of what their business license and permits allow in the jurisdiction they are operating.
So, if you own a specialty pharmacy store and you are not sure of what is legal as regards the additional services and products you can sell to make additional money, then you might want to visit the regulatory authority in your city to find out what is expected of you.