Medically integrated dispensing is on the rise in US oncology practices, according to a study published in JCO Oncology Practice

Researchers found that the percentage of oncology practices with medically integrated dispensing more than doubled from 2010 to 2019.

“The integration of pharmacies into oncology practices—a cancer care model known as medically integrated dispensing—has the potential to significantly enhance cancer care,” the researchers wrote. “Despite the potential of this new care model, very little is known about its prevalence and reach.”


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To gain some insight, researchers analyzed annual IQVIA data on oncologists, data from the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, data on commercially insured cancer patients, and summary data on providers’ Medicare billing. 

The study included patients who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, renal cancer, or melanoma between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2019.

During this time period, the percentage of oncology practices with medically integrated dispensing more than doubled, increasing from 12.8% in 2010 to 32.1% in 2019 (P <.001). 

The percentage of community oncology practices with medically integrated dispensing more than tripled, rising from 7.6% in 2010 to 28.3% in 2019. The percentage of hospital-based practices with medically integrated dispensing increased from 18.3% to 33.4%. 

“Although these estimates of prevalence and uptake are more modest than previously reported in trade publications and convenience-sample surveys, they nevertheless show that medically integrated dispensing is reaching a substantial and growing number of Americans,” the researchers wrote. 

The data also showed that dispensing oncologists worked at practices with higher patient volumes (P <.001) but a smaller share of Medicare beneficiaries (P <.001).

Patients treated by dispensing oncologists were more likely to have higher risk and comorbidity scores (P <.001) and lived in areas where a greater proportion of the population was Black (P <.001).

“If there are significant differences in the quality of care between dispensing and nondispensing practices, these differences could exacerbate—or be used to mitigate—

inequities in access to high-quality cancer care,” the researchers wrote. “These disparities will be a critical trend to monitor and an important topic for future research.”

Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

Kanter GP, Parikh RB, Fisch MJ, et al. Trends in medically integrated dispensing among oncology practices. JCO Oncol Pract. Published online July 13, 2022. doi:10.1200/OP.22.00136

This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor