Did you know that a recent study found almost 1 million people in the U.S. are living with multiple sclerosis (MS)? This is nearly twice the number of people previously believed to be affected by the condition.
MS is an autoimmune disorder that damages the myelin sheath in the central nervous system. This disrupts how nerve signals are transmitted between the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body. Common symptoms of MS are fatigue, numbness, tingling, and vision problems.
World MS Day is May 30
Since specialty medications are commonly used to manage MS, the Trellis Rx team regularly cares for patients living with this condition. That’s why we’re helping raise awareness on World MS Day by wearing orange. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook to see our photos on May 30.
Leading up to World MS Day, we’ll also share information and stories that illustrate how health system specialty pharmacies improve medication access, clinical outcomes, and quality of life for people living with MS.
How do health system specialty pharmacies benefit people living with MS?
The specialty medications used to manage MS are often expensive and difficult to manage, which can make it challenging for patients to start and stay on therapy. Since medication adherence is critical to prevent progression of MS, these barriers put patients’ long-term health outcomes at risk.
A clinic-based health system specialty pharmacy helps address these issues by improving adherence and enhancing longitudinal outcomes through:
- High-touch, personalized support: Specialty pharmacy team members are available 24/7 to support patients on specialty medications. Whether patients have questions about side effects, refills, prior authorizations, or health concerns related to MS, they can always speak with a clinical pharmacist or pharmacy liaison in-person or over the phone.Because MS is a chronic condition with no current cure, patients often develop strong relationships with specialty pharmacy team members. These connections enable clinical pharmacists and pharmacy liaisons to understand each patient’s unique needs, which allows them to proactively address barriers to medication access and adherence.
- Rapid and affordable access to specialty medications: Without the support of a clinic-based specialty pharmacy, patients often have to jump through hoops to access their MS medications. Some challenges patients may encounter include:
- Gaining insurance approval
- Finding an in-network specialty pharmacy
- Paying an expensive copay
In-clinic specialty pharmacy team members work closely with providers, patients, and health plans to eliminate these barriers and reduce the time it takes patients to start treatment. On average, patients cared for by our partner health systems care can start treatment within just 2.5 days of it being prescribed.
- Collaborating with physicians and nurses: Clinic-based specialty pharmacy team members work directly alongside other clinicians, which enables them to partner on patient care. Being in-clinic also improves communication between pharmacists and physicians. This promotes rapid information-sharing and enables care teams to intervene more quickly if patients need lab monitoring for severe medication reactions or disease complications.