In the parlance of drug dispensing, “white bagging” is the term used when insurers require certain prescribed drugs to be dispensed from a specific specialty pharmacy and shipped directly to a practice, hospital, or clinic for patient administration. This is increasingly the case with infusion therapies for the treatment of cancer.
Many providers are taking a stand against insurer mandates for white-bagging, saying the practice can endanger patient care by potentially bypassing safety checks, introducing dosing errors, delaying treatment, and interrupting care planning processes. Yet, the practice is accelerating. In a spring 2021 survey of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC)
membership, 87 percent of respondents said white bagging is an insurer mandate for some of their patients.
But providers are taking a stand. In Louisiana, for example, patient advocates have succeeded in obtaining the passage of legislation that bans the practice of white bagging. The majority of the respondents to this ACCC survey on white bagging—59 percent—say their cancer program or practice does not allow white bagging. Cited reasons include dangerous treatment delays, patient safety concerns, unpredictable drug deliveries, and drug waste.
The resources on this page have been developed by the Association of Community Cancer Centers and its Chapter Members from the Oncology State Societies at ACCC. Cancer care professionals can use them to learn more about the practice of white bagging, its deleterious effects on patient care, and how to take action against it.
Health plans are increasingly restricting provider and patient options when deciding where patients can receive cancer care, how cancer drugs can be dispensed, and even which drugs will ultimately be covered.
ACCC believes that to improve the accessibility and affordability of therapeutic options for patients while maintaining clinical quality and safety standards, the following principles should be considered.
Read the Principles
Jorge Garcia, PharmD, MS, MHA, MBA, FACHE
Assistant Vice President, System Oncology Pharmacy Services, Non-Oncology Infusion Center Pharmacy Services
Miami Cancer Institute, Baptist Health South Florida
Read qualitative and quantitative data from the April 2021 ACCC survey on white bagging in oncology programs and practices, then learn what steps cancer programs and practices can take to advocate for their patients.
Gretchen Van Dyck
Green Bay Oncology
Stephen M. Schleicher, MD, MBA
Medical Oncologist, Tennessee Oncology
Medical Director of Value Based Care, OneOncology