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Manag Care Q. 2003 Winter;11(1):1-6.

Helping to manage the high cost of rare diseases.

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The recent innovations in electronic technology, discoveries in biotechnology research and changes in FDA policy have resulted in the fast-growing market of specialty pharmaceuticals. These drug agents offer treatment (where there was often none) for patients with rare, chronic diseases such as pulmonary hypertension, Gaucher disease, hemophilia and others. The new drug therapies are expensive, with an annual average cost of $71,000 a year, and often require specialized handling and administration. In response to market need, a new service sector called specialty pharmacy has emerged to manage these therapies. The specialty pharmacy provides services for specialized drug delivery and handling, patient education, drug administration, treatment oversight, and reimbursement assistance. These services assist healthcare providers and payors to enhance quality care and reduce the administrative burden of managing treatments for patients with rare disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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