Another approach to specialty patient support: independent pharmacies


KloudScript seeks to backstop local pharmacies with specialty services

The specialty focus of today’s pharma industry continues to produce ripples of change in the pharmacy business. First there was the growth of national specialty pharmacy (SP) providers such as Accredo (part of Express Scripts), Diplomat and others; then a seeming land rush for accreditation by hundreds of local, regional and national chains by the URAC organization (to enable these SPs to be part of limited distribution networks chosen by the specialty manufacturer). Now, a relatively new company, KloudScript (Oakbrook Terrace, IL) is hoping to bring in another part: local, mostly independent pharmacies.

“Traditional pharmacy practice has been focused on one thing—dispensing the drug,” says Rinku Patel, PharmD, founder and CEO. “Specialty pharmaceuticals require a host of patient services, and our goal is to enable community pharmacies to offer these services, even as the profession becomes a more recognized part of healthcare delivery.” Relative to the big, established national SPs, which usually depend on mail order to deliver drugs to patients (or the clinics where the drug is administered), and which frequently call on local nursing support for face-to-face interactions with patients, Patel suggests that the local pharmacists can be an equally good source of patient support.

KloudScript, which started in 2012, is still building out Patel’s vision. The company has a network of 400 pharmacies in 40 states currently, “and we expect to cover all 50 states before the end of the year,” she says. And it has a rather unusual “on course for accreditation” status from the Center for Pharmacy Practice Accreditation, a relatively new accrediting body backed by the American Pharmacists Assn. and others. (Many more SPs are accredited by URAC, which has been providing SP accreditation for years.) Patel says that KloudScript is partnering with CPPA to establish a system where local pharmacies have a pathway to CPPA accreditation through her company. KloudScript also provides a software platform, KETU, to enable pharmacists to generate the reporting necessary for SP services, as well as training and other forms of back-office support. KloudScript earns revenue from fees that network members pay, and the company has “multiple” discussions going on with pharma manufacturers, she says.

There’s a compelling logic to what KloudScript is setting up—the local pharmacist can be a key support for patients, available in their community. Patel also makes the point that for patients on multiple therapies will value having a single source for all their pharmaceutical needs. However, the marketplace is increasingly competitive, with limited distribution networks for many specialty drugs, and the combination of SPs and third-party hub service providers, all competing for pharma industry attention. Armada Health (Florham Park, NJ; the company has just rebranded itself as Asembia), which calls itself a “specialty pharmaceutical channel management organization,” also has a national network of SPs and provides IT and business support. And then there is ExceleraRx (Minneapolis), a network of 14 regional health systems with SP operations. Patel says that there’s plenty of room for KloudScript and its competitors in the booming SP field.

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