Specialty Pharmacies with Hepatitis C

Last updated: February 2022

If you have been diagnosed with the hepatitis C virus, there are a few things you may learn about up close and for the first time -  like specialty pharmacies. These are pharmacies that ship your medication from anywhere in the country and deliver it right to your doorstep.

Here are some facts about specialty pharmacies:

On the first call - They will typically contact you for the initial intake. So when the phone rings and it’s a specialty pharmacy, plan on going over insurance and personal information. Most of them are very thorough and you will need 10 minutes or more to get set up for your first delivery.

Be prepared - Have the shipping address where you want your medications sent. You’re lucky to be on the new antivirals. Back in the day, the Interferon injections were shipped cold and required refrigeration. Just be sure they are shipped at a date and time where someone can sign for them.

Talk about the money -  They may ask for your credit card. They will use it to process your co-payment each month. If you are not sure that you will always have money on that card, tell them to process it one month at a time.

Who's in charge - Speaking with a pharmacist is not always necessary. Usually, during the initial set up, a pharmacist will be part of your intake. From that time on, you may speak with a customer care associate for most of your phone calls. I had one pharmacy who always asked if I had any questions for the pharmacist sometime during each visit. Another one did not.

Ask for what you need - I had a few hiccups during my 43 weeks on treatment. It was a mess at times. I would run out of money. I would be at my daughters. I would be at work. I would have insurance sometimes, or not. I always told my story. Whatever was going on, I just told them the truth. Sometimes I cried. Sometimes I yelled. Most of the time I was very kind and grateful. One time, I asked for help paying for a certain drug and they gave me the name of a scholarship. I ended up getting the drugs donated to me.

People are only human - These are people doing their job. Some of them have power. Others do not. One time my shipment was going to be late because I was over $100 short on my co-pay. The lady felt sorry for me and promised to call me back. She did. She shipped them and let me pay it out. I almost hugged the UPS guy and he didn’t have a clue what was going on.

Why - Specialty pharmacies are used by insurance companies for many reasons. The important reason is that they get rid of the middle man and cut down the cost of drugs. They also provide oversight and can actually increase your quality of care by giving you personal attention without your having to leave home.

It’s a wonderful feeling to be approved for hepatitis C treatment. When you receive the package in the mail and get the date on your calendar, it is a huge relief. You have gotten a special delivery! You know that you will soon be free of HCV.

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