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  • Author: Rowena N. Schwartz x
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Rowena N. Schwartz, Kirby J. Eng, Deborah A. Frieze, Tracy K. Gosselin, Niesha Griffith, Amy Hatfield Seung, Jennifer M. Hinkel, Philip E. Johnson, Shirley A. Johnson, Edward C. Li, Audrea Hotsko Szabatura and Michael K. Wong

The use of specialty pharmacies is expanding in oncology pharmacy practice. Specialty pharmacies provide a channel for distributing drugs that, from the payor perspective, creates economies of scale and streamlines the delivery of expensive drugs. Proposed goals of specialty pharmacy include optimization of pharmaceutical care outcomes through ensuring appropriate medication use and maximizing adherence, and optimization of economic outcomes through avoiding unwarranted drug expenditure. In oncology practice, specialty pharmacies have become a distribution channel for various agents. The use of a specialty pharmacy, and the addition of the pharmacist from the specialty pharmacy to the health care team, may not only provide benefits for care but also present challenges in oncology practice. The NCCN Specialty Pharmacy Task Force met to identify and examine the impact of specialty pharmacy practice on the care of people with cancer, and to provide recommendations regarding issues discussed. This report provides recommendations within the following categories: education and training of specialty pharmacy practitioners who care for individuals with cancer, coordination of care, and patient safety. Areas for further evaluation are also identified.

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George M. Rodgers III, Pamela Sue Becker, Morey Blinder, David Cella, Asher Chanan-Khan, Charles Cleeland, Peter F. Coccia, Benjamin Djulbegovic, Jeffrey A. Gilreath, Eric H. Kraut, Ursula A. Matulonis, Michael M. Millenson, Denise Reinke, Joseph Rosenthal, Rowena N. Schwartz, Gerald Soff, Richard S. Stein, Gordana Vlahovic and Alva B. Weir III

Anemia is prevalent in 30% to 90% of patients with cancer. Anemia can be corrected through either treating the underlying cause or providing supportive care through transfusion with packed red blood cells or administration of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), with or without iron supplementation. Recent studies showing detrimental health effects of ESAs sparked a series of FDA label revisions and a sea change in the perception of these once commonly used agents. In light of this, the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Cancer- and Chemotherapy-Induced Anemia underwent substantial revisions this year. The purpose of these NCCN Guidelines is twofold: 1) to operationalize the evaluation and treatment of anemia in adult cancer patients, with an emphasis on those who are receiving concomitant chemotherapy, and 2) to enable patients and clinicians to individualize anemia treatment options based on patient condition.