Barbara Anderson of Albany has taken statins for years to manage her cholesterol. Due to recent allergic reactions, her doctor prescribed her Repatha, a specialty statin medication given by injection.
Because Repatha is not a commonly used medication, Samaritan’s new specialty pharmacy program assisted her in filling the prescription.
“The co-pay was really high, but the Samaritan Specialty Pharmacy staff got some help for me on the co-pay,” she said. “They went over the medication with me and showed my daughter how to give me the injection. The pharmacist called me a week later to make sure I didn’t have a reaction. He definitely went the extra mile for me.”
Samaritan’s specialty pharmacy program works to bring specialty medications right to the patient, either to their appointment or by courier to their front door.
What’s more, Samaritan’s pharmacy team works with every patient to make sure they get their medications regardless of cost. The team’s patient advocates saved patients like Anderson more than $5 million in medication costs in 2019 alone.
“A lot of pharmacies provide specialty medications, but they talk to the patient by phone and they mail the medications to the patient,” said Kevin Russell, outpatient pharmacy operations manager for Samaritan Pharmacy. “What’s different about us is that we are part of the care team with the clinician. We collaborate with the team to monitor the patient’s condition, actively helping the patient to be successful with their treatment.”
Samaritan’s specialty pharmacy services are primarily available for cancer, rheumatology and infectious disease patients, but is also beneficial in dermatology and urology. In the area of cancer care, Samaritan Specialty Pharmacy has a pharmacist working directly with the oncology team.
The pharmacist brings prescribed medications to patient-clinician appointments and goes over them with the patient.
“We’ve found this leads to a reduced time of treatment, because patients gets their medications quicker and we monitor them closely, so we can make any necessary adjustments quickly,” Russell said.
Holly Almond, a nurse practitioner with Samaritan Hematology & Oncology Consultants, said she appreciates the pharmacy team’s work to create a seamless process for her patients to get their medications.
“They understand that behind each medication is a person who is burdened by a cancer diagnosis,” Almond said. “I have been so impressed by the kindness they show, the diligence in which they work on behalf of the patient and the education and ongoing support they provide.”
For more information, visit samhealth.org/SpecialtyPharmacy.