Just as specialty pharmacies are the experts in managing medicinal treatment plans and caring for patients with complex, rare, or critical illnesses, their final mile delivery providers must be experts in the unique challenges that accompany specialty medication handling and delivery.
There’s a reason larger delivery companies like FedEx and UPS often don’t do specialty pharmacy deliveries. Many medications require special handling and storage; deliveries are time-sensitive and high stakes. Because they are heavily regulated, specialty pharmacies can face massive consequences if they fail to meet delivery deadlines. Drivers must be HIPAA-compliant and follow required safety protocols. To further complicate things, specialty pharmacies are state-licensed, so these strict regulations vary depending on location.
Specialty pharmacies require a final mile partner who can deliver the precision and expertise to meet tight deadlines and comply with extensive regulations. Here are the top four factors that make specialty pharmacy final mile deliveries so particular and what’s required of their logistics provider to ensure success:
Specialty pharmacies require driver flexibility to meet their changing demands. Consider this not too unusual scenario: there’s a spike in orders one afternoon. As a result, the regular late afternoon sweep has increased in volume. Instead of the usual 15-20 packages, 40-50 now need to go out. Further complicating this situation: the driver scheduled for the sweep has non-specialty pharmacy deliveries to make simultaneously and must leave within the next ten minutes. He’s only able to take 15 packages.
In an ideal situation, pre-planned sweeps are predictable and on-demand deliveries minimal. But as specialty pharmacies know, this is not always possible: sweeps can increase in volume. Some orders may be packaged and ready to go, but can only be released for delivery within a specific timeframe. Because of this, drivers’ schedules may get pushed back an hour or two.
With a nationwide network of drivers, USPack can provide the flexibility needed for specialty Rx deliveries. New delivery requests are automatically loaded into our Adaptive Delivery Driven Intelligence (ADDI) portal and assigned to an available driver. We also work with our specialty pharmacy partners to minimize on-demand deliveries and consolidate orders, thereby minimizing delivery costs.
Consider patients with high-risk conditions such as cancer, MS, or inflammatory bowel diseases. These are the types of patients who rely on specialty pharmacies for the prompt delivery of their medications.
Failure to deliver specialty medications on time can cost both customers and specialty pharmacies. Most medications provided by specialty pharmacies include specific time windows for release and delivery. If a specialty pharmacy fails to deliver on time, it could lose its license. If patients don’t receive their medications on time, their health could suffer.
USPack takes the time to understand the time-sensitive delivery regulations that apply to specialty pharmacies and the consequences of failure to comply with these regulations. We create delivery routes with a four-hour window in mind, prioritizing speed while leaving room for flexibility. We also help increase your customers’ satisfaction by providing real-time updates to patients with time-sensitive delivery needs. Our Adaptive Delivery Driven Intelligence (ADDI) portal provides customers visibility on delivery status, so they know when to expect their medications.
HIPAA and Safety Protocol Compliance
Like most healthcare providers, specialty pharmacies must comply with HIPAA to maintain their licenses. This requirement even extends to drivers who are often contractors—and not full-time employees—of the pharmacies. HIPAA compliance requires training and accountability beyond the scope of final mile delivery norms.
Specialty pharmacy deliveries also require strict adherence to safety procedures. For instance, drivers may be required to wear dosimeters to monitor radiation exposure. Certain medications must be kept under specific temperature conditions. Specialty pharmacies depend upon final mile providers who meet the challenge of understanding regulations and providing the necessary training to their drivers.
USPack brings an in-depth knowledge of the specialty Rx industry to our partnerships. We are both HIPAA and OSHA compliant, and our drivers are trained to understand the rules and safety measures necessary for servicing specialty pharmacies.
Accountability and Consistent Documentation
Lives and licenses are at stake with specialty pharmacy deliveries. Failure to deliver a specialty medication on time is not the same as a toaster or an Amazon package arriving a few days later than expected or missing. Specialty pharmacies need responsible final mile providers who can be held fully accountable.
Specialty pharmacies must keep proof of delivery records on file for years. Without proper paperwork, pharmacies cannot bill patients or insurance companies. These official records are also necessary in the event the pharmacy is audited by an insurance company. Failure to provide these records can have devastating financial consequences. Often, pharmacies face fines for the entire breadth of orders included in the audit, not just the ones missing paperwork.
USPack is meticulous in tracking our orders and maintaining appropriate documentation. Our customer portal keeps our routes visible and allows both our partners and their customers to hold us accountable.
The Final Mile Solution for Specialty Pharmacy: USPack
Getting life-saving medication from point A to point B isn’t simply about putting a package in a car with a driver. To fully service this unique and complex sector, your final mile partner needs to commit the time, resources, and infrastructure to ensure safe, prompt and compliant deliveries. USPack’s network of medical transport experts handles over 25,000 time-sensitive medical deliveries each week.
See the difference our speed, accountability, and flexibility makes for your specialty pharmacy final mile deliveries. Contact us today to get started.