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Oncology Pharmacy

As oncology engages in value-based reimbursement, new payment models, and precision medicine, oncology pharmacists and pharmacy staff are integral to successful delivery of quality, cost-effective patient care.

The challenges are ongoing: increasing complexity of treatment regimens, new drug approvals and indications, the expansion of biosimilars in oncology, rapid advances in immunotherapy, the high cost of cancer treatment, and continual regulatory and reimbursement changes. 

The ACCC Oncology Pharmacy Education Network (OPEN) brings together education, resources, and peer-to-peer networking to help pharmacy professionals surmount the challenges and succeed.  OPEN offers the knowledge and know-how to navigate the accelerating course of change in oncology—clinically, operationally, fiscally, and programmatically. From USP <800> to integration of biosimilars, from preauthorizations to strategic planning—OPEN addresses real-world oncology pharmacy management issues such as reimbursement, distribution, inventory management, and effective integration of oral oncolytics, biosimilars, and immunotherapies for cancer.


  • [PODCAST] Episode 7: The Evolution of Oncology Pharmacy
    Oct 29, 2019
    Learn more about the role that oncology pharmacists play in cancer care and how that role is changing in the face of new therapies and the advent of value-based health. Discover how UNC Hospital's Department of Pharmacy avoids passing surprise bills to patients and ensures financial stability for their cancer program.

From Oncology Issues

  •  The Oncology Pharmacy Navigator
    Rice K, et al.
    Patients with cancer experience a variety of difficulties in accessing and managing their medications. The Legacy Health Cancer Institute established an oncology pharmacy navigator to decrease barriers to patient access, reconcile medication lists, and alleviate the financial burden of cancer care.
  •  Implementation of Drug Vial Optimization to Reduce Drug Waste
    Amerine LB, et al.
    In the Department of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina North Carolina Cancer Hospital, discarding partial drug vials was a significant source of waste. With their Innovator Award–winning drug vial optimization program, the program maximized the lifespan of drugs within single-dose vials and realized an annual cost savings of more than $40 million.
  •  Immuno-Oncology: Breaking Barriers, Exploring Solutions, Improving Patient Care
    The ACCC Immuno-Oncology Institute developed a multidisciplinary curriculum workshop bringing together faculty experienced in delivery of immunotherapy with cancer program staff in the earlier stages of IO integration. Over the past two years, these IO Visiting Experts Programs were hosted by ACCC Cancer Program Members nation-wide.
  •  Back to CAP?
    Secretary Alex Azar has expressed strong interest in revitalizing Medicare’s Competitive Acquisition Program (CAP) and introducing negotiation into Part B drug pricing.
  •  Drug-Specific Videos for Patient Chemotherapy Education
    Weese JL, et al.
    Long, written descriptions of chemotherapy and its side effects, particularly when prescribing multiple drugs, are often ignored by patients who are overwhelmed by their cancer diagnosis and treatment. From the perspective of the patients, it was clear that all patients needed basic information regarding chemotherapy, including how to react to different situations while on chemotherapy and specifics about the drugs they were going to receive.

Additional Resources


Patient-Centered Scheduling: Costs & Benefits of Extending Practice Hours

This special report from ACCC examines the pros and cons of extended infusion suite hours. Included is a tool to help practices and programs assess the feasibility of extending hours of care.

Oral Chemotherapy

Dispensing Pharmacy Patient Education Tool

Physician dispensing is governed by state law and regulated by State Boards of Pharmacy. While some states do not allow physician dispensing, most of the states that allow it require dispensing physicians to alert their patients about other options to fill their prescription(s). In response to this need, ACCC has developed this patient education tool that can be used across care settings.

News Coverage

The Importance of the ACCC's Focus on Compensation With Ali McBride as President:


ACCC Marks 15th Anniversary of Oncology Pharmacy Education Network; Honors Founding Leaders

Listen to ACCC President Ali McBride discuss ACCC's educational opportunities, from NSCLC to multiple myeloma to CLL:


Accelerating Biosimilar Uptake in the US Market: Barriers and Solutions


Oncology Drug Database

Access ACCC's comprehensive resource for coding, billing, and reimbursement for oncology drugs.
Access the Database

ACCCBuzz Blog Posts

Polypharmacy: The Other Drug Problem

May 13, 2019

Calling it America’s “other big drug problem,” advanced practice pharmacist Ginah Nightingale, PharmD, BCOP, set the stage for a discussion on a critical issue of concern for geriatric cancer patients: polypharmacy.  This third of six webinars presented as part of ACCC's Multidisciplinary Approaches to Caring for Geriatric Patients with Cancer project, delved into how excessive prescribing for older adults can unnecessarily complicate their care and even endanger their lives. During the May 6 webinar, Time for a reMEDy: A Focus on Pharmacy and the Older Adult, Dr. Nightingale, who is Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacy at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, addressed the potential impact of multiple medications among older adults, particularly those who are receiving cancer treatment.

“Polypharmacy” is a concept that generally refers to a patient taking five or more medications. Dr. Nightingale says national data indicate that more than one-third of older Americans fall under this definition. This can pose serious complications for patients (and even more so for cancer patients), since the more medications a person takes, the greater the risk for adverse reactions. The problem is exacerbated by a fragmented healthcare delivery system, in which care is often not coordinated among multiple providers, care sites, and pharmacies.

For senior adult patients with cancer, the situation can be compounded for individuals who can become caught up in what Dr. Nightingale describes as a “prescribing cascade.” This occurs when a side effect of an oncology drug is interpreted as a new symptom, so an additional drug is prescribed to treat it. This pattern can repeat itself multiple times, until a patient and/or caregiver is juggling numerous prescription bottles.

In her presentation, Dr. Nightingale discussed pharmacy-led medication assessments as a recommended step in patient safety and decision-making. Her preferred method is asking a patient to bring all of his/her medications in a bag to an office visit. More than medication reconciliation, an assessment involves a clinician—ideally, a dedicated oncology pharmacist—reviewing with a patient each drug and assessing the patient’s understanding of the drug’s use, indication, dosage, frequency, and duration. Medication assessment allows for evaluation of potential drug-drug and drug-disease interactions, as well as how a patient’s psychosocial status may affect adherence. There are a number of de-prescribing tools and algorithms that can help clinicians safely transition patients off medications that provide no clinical benefit or pose danger to the patient, while increasing adherence to the remaining required therapies.

If you missed Dr. Nightingale’s webinar, or any other webinar in ACCC’s series on multidisciplinary approaches to caring for geriatric patients with cancer, you can view them on-demand here. All webinars require registration and are free of charge. Access related resources for addressing polypharmacy in older adults patients on the project's resource page.