Use of specialty care versus standard retail pharmacies for treatment of hepatitis C

Stanley Martin Cohen, Mary J. Kwasny, Joseph Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with significant adverse events. Improved adherence increases the probability of achieving sustained virologic response (SVR). Despite a lack of supporting literature, the use of specialty care pharmacies has increased in recent years in an attempt to improve HCV treatment outcomes. OBJECTIVE: To compare specialty care versus standard retail pharmacies in HCV treatment outcomes, utilization of office resources, and the use of supplemental medications. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was performed at a single academic institution for adults with HCV infection treated between 2001 and 2006. SVR was the primary endpoint. Secondary endpotnts included therapy completion rates, HCV treatment dose reductions, additional phone cafe and clinic visits, and the use of supplemental medications. RESULTS: One hundred ninety-seven patiente were identified (102 standard and 95 specialty care pharmacy). There were no differences in baseline demographics between the groups, except for a higher proportion of African Americans using specialty care pharmacies. Overall SVR was 103/197 (52%). SVR was 57/102 (56%) in the standard pharmacy group and 46/95 (48%) in the specialty care pharmacy group. There were no statistically significant differences with regard to SVR (even after accounting for differences in ethnicity), the use of supplemental medications, additional clinic phone calls and visits required, and the reasons for HCV therapy discontinuation. There was a statistically significantly higher incidence of HCV medication dose reductions in the standard retail pharmacy group (45% vs 28%; p = 0.016). CONCLUSIONS: The use of specialty care pharmacies for the treatment of HCV was not associated with higher SVR rates. Patients using specialty care pharmacies had a lower incidence of interferon and/or ribavirin dose reductions, but there was no difference between the groups in therapy completion rates, use of additional office resources, or use of supplemental medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-209
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Adherence
  • Hepatitis C
  • Specialty care pharmacy
  • Standard retail pharmacy
  • Sustained virologic response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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