Novation Survey Underscores Problems With Genetech's Specialty Drug Distribution Changes

The study found that following Genetech's decision to restrict the distribution of it's 3 popular cancer medications through specific specialty distributors, patient access to the drugs has reduced while costs have increased.

A new survey of hospitals and academic medical centers finds that a recent move by Genentech to switch distribution of 3 widely used cancer treatments — Avastin, Rituxan and Herceptin – is resulting in higher costs, reduced access to the medications and delays in treating patients. And the institutions are hoping the results will prompt the drug maker, which says it’s unaware of such problems, to revert to its earlier distribution program.

Here’s the background: Last fall, Genentech began using just a few distributors that specialize in handling such medicines. Until then, the Roche unit used dozens of wholesalers, although the specialty distributors are actually divisions of some of those same wholesalers. Genentech says the change was made to save money, but also make distribution more efficient and prevent the possibility of shortages.

Link to the complete article on The Wall Street Journal: