Dr Sarah Bajorek Highlights Integration, Evaluation Strategies for Gene Therapy Implementation


Sarah Bajorek, PharmD, MBA, BCACP, University of California, Davis Health, discusses notable gene therapies emerging into the market and strategies to proactively engage with a wide range of stakeholders during the integration of a new gene therapy.

Sarah Bajorek, PharmD, MBA, BCACP, the University of California (UC), Davis Health discusses notable gene therapies that are emerging into the market. Dr Bajorek was a panelist for the AMCP 2024 session, "Taming Million Dollar Drugs - A Healthcare System Emerging Therapies Program," where she educated the managed care pharmacy audience about emerging therapy committees and their focus on patient eligibility and reimbursement strategies.

At UC Davis Health, she is the pharmacy manager for population health and accountable care. In this position, she designs and implements interventions for population health pharmacy chronic disease management and value-based care programs while overseeing managed care pharmacists. To assess risk and coordinate operational logistics for high-cost therapies, Dr. Bajorek collaborates with key stakeholders.


How can learning about gene therapy strategies be applied to evaluate and integrate other emerging therapies into treatment protocols?

It's really foundational, kind of all the stuff that we're thinking about in terms of clearly defining roles and responsibilities and assessing how are we going to administer this drug, how we are going to purchase and store it, and what patient considerations are specific to that.

All of those are kind of fundamental that could be translated to any other type of drug in terms of the overarching theme or area: how we would get the drug, how are we going to administer it to the patient, how are we going to ensure that we got authorization before we administered it, and that we got reimbursed after we administered it. Those fundamentals can be applied really to any type of medication, whether it is a rare disease or a more common clinic-administered or infusion medication.

Describe your approach to proactively engaging with a wide range of stakeholders during the integration of a new gene therapy. How would you address their concerns and ensure a smooth rollout across the system?

At UC Davis Health, we have an Emerging Therapy Committee that meets once a month with all of our key stakeholders, so contracts, finance, IT, pharmacy, clinic leadership, and health system leadership.

In those meetings, we review pipeline agents and the interests that our providers have in providing them at UC Davis. We do a quick review of some of them and then if anyone that speaks up about their concerns, then we will do an investigation and bring it back at the next committee meeting and dive deeper into it.

That may answer the question or we may need to establish a work group with more of the frontline leaders to help answer those questions. I think having that kind of leadership oversight and involvement with the frontline group has been really successful because you get the right people looking at the right aspects. The clinical leaders are not trying to make a decision about the operational logistics. We’re owning the area that they should be owning and I think that has translated to the success we’ve had at our organization.

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