By Brenda Hawkes, Patient Advocacy Manager, and Justine Dolorfino, Social Media Specialist & Communications at Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy

If you have a prescription to treat a serious disease or condition such as HIV, psoriasis, or cancer, chances are that you get your medications through a specialty pharmacy. You may have wondered what the ‘specialty’ in the title means and why that makes a difference.  We can help explain that here.

What Is A Specialty Pharmacy?

Specialty pharmacy is a branch of pharmacy care that helps people with special and often long-term needs. These people include those with conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV, as well as people with fertility issues or who’ve received a transplant. Specialty pharmacy care allows people to continue leading lives outside a hospital, with better outcomes and lower overall costs.

To treat these diseases and conditions, specialty pharmacies focus on specialty and limited-distribution drugs, which require special handling, storage, and dosing.  These treatments are often expensive, and typically, they’re offered only at specialty

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Sumanah was a 26 year old event planner in New York City when suddenly diagnosed with congestive heart failure.  Sumanah was like many typical 26 year olds, without health insurance and no savings capable of paying for her medical bills. Taking 10 medications for her condition, Sumanah was paying full price at what she “thought” was the cheapest pharmacy. After she discovered that not only were some pharmacies cheaper for the same exact medication, she learned that some pharmacies can be upwards of 16 times more expensive than another pharmacy right across the street. Using this information, Sumanah was able to price shop for the right pharmacy and save a lot on her prescription costs. This story, although not uncommon, shows how important shopping around for medications can be.

In their May issue, Consumer Reports published an article confirming the experience Sumanah and many others have each time they go to fill a prescription. The study focuses on five of the most prescribed medications in the U.S. and reviews more

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