Restricted Specialty Drug Distribution Could Raise Cancer Drug Costs

Genentech's decision to use a handful of specialty drug distributors instead of wholesalers for the distribution of the most commonly used anticancer medications has raised concerns of availability and cost.

Genentech, the US biotech unit of Roche Holding, faces growing pressure over a decision to allow only a handful of distributors to supply 3 of the world's most widely used cancer drugs, a move that prominent hospitals say will create delays and raise costs.

Genentech in October began distributing Avastin, Herceptin, and Rituxan to hospitals and clinics through 6 specialty drug distributors, rather than through drug wholesalers, which distribute a wide range of medicines, devices and equipment on an enormous scale. Specialty distributors supply biologic infusion medicines that often require special storage and handling.

Novation, which negotiates supply contracts on behalf of prominent healthcare providers such as Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, on Sunday urged Genentech to reverse the decision in an open letter placed in The New York Times.

Link to the original article in Los Angeles Times: