Inc. 5000 list highlights the 'boom in specialty drug dispensing'

DrugChannels.net draws out specialty pharmacies from the annual list; only some work directly with manufacturers

Credit to Adam Fein, industry consultant at DrugChannels.net, for ferreting out the fastest-growing specialty pharmacies on the Inc. 5000 list. According to Fein, who has written here on the specialty pharmacy channel’s evolution, the 12 companies on this year’s list showed an average three-year growth rate of 352%, led by Diplomat Pharmacy, which is now a $1.1-billion/yr company. “Revenues in the pharmaceutical industry will shift from traditional brand-name drugs to specialty drugs over the next few years,” writes Fein, accompanied with a “boom in specialty drug dispensing.”

The 12 companies, ranked by annual revenue (not all of which comes from drug dispensing), are:

Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy

Avella

BioRx

Amber Pharmacy

Onco360

Pentec Health

MedPro Rx

HealthStat Rx

PharmaHealth Specialty Pharmacy

TNH Pharmacy

MedExpress Pharmacy

South Miami Pharmacy

Pharmaceutical Commerce looked into how these pharmacies are positioned vis a vis biopharma manufacturers. Only half of them expressly state that they work directly with manufacturers (a seventh, PharmaHealth, provides specialized packaging both for patients and for clinical research), at least according to what is stated on their websites. The others, presumably, obtain specialty products from wholesalers. Several of them feature their drug-compounding service which, in a limited sense, is counterpoised against manufacturers (South Miami Pharmacy’s slogan: “Better living through compounding.”) On the flip side, Diplomat has set up a Retail Specialty Network, so that it can provide specialty distribution to other pharmacies. Other business practices among these pharmacies include dispensing for long-term care facilities, rare disease management, and infusion services.

All that being said, the bigger picture is the dominance of the Big Three wholesalers’ specialty distribution divisions, as well as the arrangements at leading PBMs to handle distribution in either an open-distribution method, or a limited distribution method employing a small number of partner pharmacies. Revenues at these companies are measured in the tens of billions of dollars for specialty products.