Asembia 2024 Unwrapped: Insights and Key Takeaways

This year’s Asembia Summit was not just an event; it was a powerhouse of innovation and strategic conversations that set new benchmarks for patient care within the pharmaceutical industry. Asembia served as the nexus for fostering connections and driving transformative ideas. Below, we dive into the key insights and takeaways that are steering our industry toward a more innovative and efficient future, spotlighting the groundbreaking work and collaborations that are defining the path forward.

Panel Recap

The State of Patient Services Programs Serving Biopharma

Paul Battaglia, Vice President of Patient Support Services at Two Labs, joined Dee Chaudhary from Clarivate to discuss the 2024 Independent Benchmarking Read-Out focused on Neurology. Their panel explored the current trends and innovations within patient services programs, offering a unique benchmarking perspective that is critical for biopharma companies aiming to optimize their patient support strategies.

Paul and Dee provided a breakdown of patient services programs, identifying a select few in the neurology space that have received high ratings from patients. Their methodical analysis peeled back the layers of these programs, revealing why they excel and how they could serve as models for others. The discussion broke down how these top-performing programs enhance the patient experience by focusing on ease of use and accessibility—essential aspects for patients with neurological challenges. Innovations such as adjustable font sizes, line spacing, color settings, and the ability to modify visual elements on screens cater to this patient group’s specific needs.

Additionally, the panel highlighted the growing trend of leveraging social media platforms to engage with patients, recognizing that many do not start their healthcare journeys on pharmaceutical websites but within social media communities like Facebook groups and TikTok. By meeting patients where they are and guiding them back to more comprehensive resources on manufacturer websites, these programs help exemplify a patient-centric approach in the digital age.

Prescription for Change: The Patient’s Voice

The “Prescription for Change: The Patient’s Voice” panel, led by Jessica Krauser, Marketing Advisor at Envision Pharma Group and founder of 5KforJK, Jasmine Patel, Senior Principal, Patient Advocacy-Strategic Consulting at Envision Pharma Group and Tina Valbh, Managing Partner/Founder at PharmaKonnect, was a standout session. It showcased the crucial role of patient feedback in refining pharmaceutical services and highlighted strategies for truly engaging with and responding to patient needs. This approach underscores the commitment to a healthcare system that prioritizes the voices of those it serves.

The panelists shared powerful examples demonstrating how personal patient stories, beyond clinical data, can profoundly influence healthcare policies and practices. These narratives bring a human element to pharmaceutical development, emphasizing the significant impact of understanding patients as individuals with unique stories and experiences. The discussions served as a reminder that real people are behind every statistic and study, urging manufacturers to maintain a patient-centric approach in their work. Embodying their guiding principle, “Take care of the patient, and the rest falls into place,” this panel reinforced our dedication to centering patient perspectives, fundamentally enhancing our approach to healthcare innovation. This ethos drives every facet of our work:patient-focused strategies lead to superior health outcomes.

The Road to Specialty Pharmacy Network Selection

Tabitha Henderson, Senior Director Speciality Operations at Two Labs, discussed the strategic considerations involved in selecting specialty pharmacy networks. Alongside Bill Aikins from Maxor Specialty Pharma, Nick Calla from Orsini Specialty Pharmacy, Jessie Heaton from Maxor, and Amber Walker from Harmony Biosciences, this discussion highlighted the complexities of network selection and the impact of these decisions on patient access to critical therapies.

A key takeaway emphasized the importance of aligning with specialty pharmacies that prioritize patients’ unique needs, especially in rare disease management where personalized care is paramount. The expertise of a specialty pharmacy can influence a patient’s treatment journey—from handling complex dosing regimens to providing necessary support through healthcare providers, often unfamiliar with rare diseases. Ultimately, the choice of specialty pharmacy networks should be strategic and data-driven, allowing manufacturers to start with a carefully chosen panel that can expand as necessary. This approach guarantees that the selected pharmacies are not only equipped to meet the clinical needs but are also committed to improving the overall patient experience, ultimately enhancing the success rate of drug therapies in the market.

Cell & Gene Pipeline: Key Trends and Pricing Dynamics

Kyle Felmet, VP, Commercialization Specialty Pharmacy at Two Labs, and Jennifer Lospinoso, Managing Director & Consulting Lead at Riparian, provided a deep dive into the rapidly evolving Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) landscape. Their insights highlighted Two Labs’ strategic prowess, especially noted in their advanced planning with pharma partners—engaging 30 months prior to product launches to navigate the complex regulatory and distribution channels effectively. While 2023 was a landmark year with five unique gene therapy approvals and underscoring the rapid advancements in the field, 2024 promises even greater strides with numerous CGTs poised for market entry.

In addition, they discussed innovative distribution models crucial for CGT deployment, such as the Drop Ship/Flash Title and Specialty Pharmacy Drive-By models, which are tailored to manage the high costs and specialized handling needs of these therapies. These models help mitigate the financial and logistical burdens on healthcare providers, ensuring that groundbreaking treatments reach patients efficiently and safely. Additionally, they touched on the challenges of government pricing and market integration, emphasizing efforts to streamline processes and improve Medicaid coverage timelines.

Broader Industry Insights

Beyond our panels and presentations, several sessions offered new approaches and strategies for enhancing patient care and operational efficiency.

The Rise of Specialty Lite Services

As pharmaceuticals blur the lines between specialty and retail products, the concept of “specialty lite” services is gaining traction. This model applies selected elements of specialty pharmacy to drugs that don’t require full-scale services, offering a cost-effective solution that bridges the gap. This approach not only enhances accessibility and affordability but also ensures that patients receive the right level of care without the logistical and financial burdens of traditional specialty pharmacy services.

Advancing Transparency and Collaboration in Drug Pricing

As the industry grapples with the complexities of medication costs, fostering openness and cooperation among stakeholders—including payers, providers, and manufacturers—is critical. Emphasizing transparency can lead to fairer pricing models and prevent cost-shifting that could disadvantage patients. This collective effort is essential for maintaining trust and sustainability within the healthcare system.

Harnessing Technology in Specialty Distribution

Technology continues to play a transformative role in specialty drug distribution. By leveraging advanced systems, the industry can better manage complex treatments that require meticulous handling and precise timing. These technological solutions not only improve the accuracy and efficiency of drug delivery but also allow for adjustments in real time based on dynamic data. The integration of technology ensures that high-stakes medications are managed with the utmost care, significantly enhancing patient outcomes.

Breaking Down Silos for Integrated Healthcare

The fragmentation caused by siloed healthcare structures often leads to inefficiencies and suboptimal patient outcomes. Promoting integrated teams and collaborative approaches across different healthcare sectors can dramatically improve the continuity and quality of care. This holistic approach ensures that all aspects of patient management are harmonized, reducing costs and enhancing the overall patient experience. By creating a unified healthcare environment, the industry can achieve better outcomes and operational efficiency.

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