Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 28

Answers provided by Sydney L. Beliles, Oncology Specialty Pharmacist for Walgreen Co.

Is there an outcome difference
between a generic drug and a name
brand drug?
Typically, no! In the oral oncology
space, it is very rare that a brand name
will be medically necessary. In order
for a generic medication to even be
on the market, it must meet the same
approved characteristics of its brand
name counterpart. Meaning, it is the same
strength, same dosage form, and has the
same quality and performance measures.
Generic medications provide the same
clinical benefit as its brand-name version.

What if I cannot afford the medication prescribed to me?
It is so important to advocate for yourself or your family member
when it comes to the affordability of your medication. This is
often a part of the pharmacist's or pharmacy team's job that few
people know about because it's done behind the scenes. Not only
can your community Walgreens pharmacist help you find costsavings on your prescriptions, but they can help connect you with
pharmacists like me who can do even more. My team is part of
an oncology-specialized network of community-based specialty
pharmacies that is trained in managing the complexities of the
oncology health system. I know it can be really scary to show up to
your pharmacy and hear that your medication isn't covered or it
has some astronomical copayment - that's where we come in. My
team and I provide assistance to the medical team to work to get
your medication covered through your insurance plan, then we can
help you decrease the cost by helping you sign up for copayment
assistance through the manufacturer or through different
foundations. Our goal is to help connect you to all of the resources
out there to make the cost of your medication a non-issue. There's
already enough you have to worry about - getting your medication
shouldn't be one of them.

What is the best way to provide you my medical history?
Don't be shy! If you are at your local Walgreens, I understand it can
be intimidating if the line is long or the pharmacist looks busy. But,
you are never interrupting us and this is why we are here! Simply
ask for a consultation and you can have some private time with your
pharmacist. You can also ask the pharmacist if there is a specialty
pharmacist they can connect you to in order to discuss your history
at length. My team and I are specially trained in managing complex
conditions and it is part of our patient consultations to gather
pertinent medical history such as allergies, other medications you
may take (including IV chemotherapy if applicable) and your health
conditions. We are typically located within or very near to cancer
centers or hospitals and are designed to have the time to spend with
you and your loved ones to ensure you have the best care.

Can you help me understand the toxicity of my
chemotherapies?
Absolutely. Especially if you are on any oral chemotherapy
regimens, your community specialty pharmacy will be the best
resource for you. We have the time and the expertise to deep
dive into the drug information and work hand-in-hand with your
medical team to help understand your lab results, any genetic
abnormalities or biomarkers that may impact your therapy and
to determine how your therapy is working. Even if you don't get
your specialty medication filled at one of our locations, or your
question is regarding IV chemotherapy toxicities - please still
use us as a resource. We have an extensive network of peers and
partners in the healthcare community that we rely on to help us
make informed decisions and we will collaborate to get you the
best information as quickly as possible.

What should I be aware of when switching
insurance companies?
There are two things I would say are extremely important before
switching companies. Number one - you can ask to see a plan's
formulary before you sign up for that plan. If you are already on
a medication and you know you are going to stay on it, check
the plan's formulary to find out what tier your medication falls
in. You can determine up front if your current medication will
cost you more or less money and if there is any pre-authorization
that would need to be completed. Number two - will switching
companies impact where you can fill your prescription? If it's
important to you to stay at your regular pharmacy, then be sure to
ask what pharmacy is preferred for your network for both regular
medications and specialty medications. You may find out that
you would have to use mail order or switch companies so this
information can be very valuable to ensure continuity of care.



Elephants And Tea - March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - March 2021

Contents
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