New Vizient data estimates US hospitals spend $310 million annually on management of 'White/Brown Bagging' requirements for specialty pharmaceuticals

Aug. 31, 2021

Vizient, Inc. has released a survey analysis which estimates U.S. hospitals are spending $310 million annually to manage the additional clinical, operational, logistical and patient care work associated with white and brown bagging requirements, which impact the way specialty pharmaceuticals, used to treat diseases such as cancer, are dispensed.

The survey included responses from 260 hospitals obtained between March and April 2021 and shows that due to these payer-imposed mandates, hospitals have already spent an estimated $114 million on additional staff to manage the excess coordination associated with white bagging.

Recent payer-imposed policies have forced the shift for many physicians and health systems from a traditional buy-and-bill model, where the provider purchases the medication and dispenses or administers it to the patient, to one known as white bagging where the physician receives a specialty medication from an external pharmacy (on demand) and the patient visits their physician's office/outpatient infusion center for administration. Brown bagging is when a patient acquires their medication from an external pharmacy and takes it to their provider for administration.

These changes to dispensing policies complicate access and creates delivery and dispensing delays impacting speed to therapy for patients, possibly resulting in negative outcomes and more financial burdens.

Additional key findings include:

  • 92% of respondents experienced problems with the medication received through white/brown bagging including issues such as wrong drug, damaged product, dose not arriving in time for administration and dose no longer appropriate due to patient's therapy changes.
  • 95% of respondents experienced operational and safety issues associated with white/brown bagging. The issues encountered included: separate inventory management system, delivery location/security disruptions, lack of space to hold medication (e.g., refrigeration), etc.
  • 52% of respondents do not have an established policy in place in attempt to prohibit white/brown bagging.
  • 56% of respondents have not developed educational materials on the impact of alternate channels and their effect on the hospital.

Vizient release

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