Staying informed during times of constant change

Key takeaways from the Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA) National Pharmacy Forum in February 2020.

The HSCA’s pharmacy forum is an opportunity for pharmacy professionals in the GPO space to discuss the latest trends. I attended this year’s event in Scottsdale, Arizona, along with HealthTrust team members Jason Braithwaite, PharmD, Senior Director, Clinical Pharmacy Services, and Chris French, PharmD, Director, Pharmacy Operations. The forum reinforced how our market is constantly evolving and how important it is to stay informed and anticipate what these changes mean for our members.

In his panel, Jason discussed how expensive products like gene therapies are being handled from a payer perspective, and how IDNs are evaluating their place in therapy and the impact to their organizations. For example, Zolgensma, a genetic therapy that treats spinal muscular atrophy in children typically 2 years of age and younger costs $2.3 million per treatment and has different requirements from every insurance company. Insurance requirements range from near-open access to multiple hurdles that block the ability of patients to obtain the drug, regardless of their situation. In addition, these therapies are so expensive that payment models such as five-year annuity payments are being proposed so as to not overwhelm the healthcare payment system.

Other related trends to note:

  • The regulatory landscape continues to increase in complexity. In pharmacy, the current uncertainties around sterile compounding guidelines (USP <797> guidelines), coupled with the looming implications of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), are examples that highlight the constantly evolving regulatory landscape. It is increasingly important for members to have resources dedicated to understanding the implications of these regulations to stay ahead of the changes.
  • Organizations need to keep cybersecurity top of mind. As part of a panel on this topic, I discussed the risks that healthcare companies face. The risk of ransomware attacks and other cyber threats means that organizations need to assess their vulnerabilities and plan how they will protect their health records and patient privacy.

The forum focused on panel discussions that provided supply chain professionals, policy makers and providers an opportunity to talk through ideas and analyze problems from different perspectives. Discussions like these help us keep on top of the latest trends so we can share information and advocate on behalf of our members.

Jason Braithwaite, PharmD, MS, BCPS, is now the AVP of Clinical Pharmacy Services at HealthTrust. For more information, email him at

At the time of this writing, Mark Walsh, PharmD, BCPS, was the Corporate Head of Pharmacy Strategic Sourcing at HealthTrust.


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