UT Southwestern Medical Center Case Study

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Specialty Pharmacy By the Numbers

Overview: UT Southwestern Specialty Pharmacy

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern) joined Acentrus Specialty in March 2018. Coming together with 124 leading academic medical centers, health systems, and hospitals in the Acentrus network, UT Southwestern has strengthened its specialty pharmacy operations through greater access to limited distribution drugs (LDDs). This has made it possible for the health system to provide integrated clinical and pharmacy care for patients with serious medical conditions. It has also increased the dispensing rate for specialty medications, an important revenue source. UT Southwestern is not a participant in HRSA’s 340B Drug Pricing Program, so the health system does not receive discounted medications for qualified patients.  



  • 900 beds
  • 506,462 outpatient visits
  • 10 nationally ranked Centers of Excellence
  • Simmons Cancer Center is both NCCN- and NCI-designated, the only NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center in North Texas, and 1 of only 30 cancer research centers nationwide designated as a National Clinical Trials Network Lead Academic Participating Site
  • $489 million in annual research expenditures
  • 1,100+ active clinical research studies
  • 5,800 research projects funded annually with more than $524 million from federal agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals


  • 2 specialty pharmacies
  • 15 dedicated specialty pharmacy FTEs
  • 625 unique patients in FY20
  • 400 specialty prescriptions per month
  • ACHC specialty pharmacy accreditation


  • 100 prior authorizations processed per month
  • $214,377 in copayment assistance obtained per month
  • $6,927 per month average in foundation grant funding

Case Study: A Specialty Pharmacy Solution

After a targeted effort to obtain access to VYNDAQEL (tafamidis meglumine) and VYNDAMAX (tafamidis), Pfizer’s new drugs for the treatment of wild-type or hereditary transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy, the UT Southwestern Specialty Pharmacy succeeded in December 2020. The pharmacy soon began a collaboration with the UT Southwestern Advanced Heart Failure Clinic, where a 90-year-old patient was being treated for amyloid heart disease. Previously dispensed VYNDAQEL by a pharmacy outside the health system, the patient could now obtain the medication internally at no cost through grant funding, which alleviated the copay creating financial hardship. During the five months the patient received VYNDAQEL through the health system specialty pharmacy, his integrated clinical and pharmacy care delivered an optimal outcome: 100% treatment adherence with no reported side effects.

“This patient’s story illustrates why specialty pharmacy care provided by the patient’s health system makes a difference,” says De’Anne Carmichael, RPh, CSP, Director of Ambulatory and Specialty Pharmacy for UT Southwestern. “By integrating clinical and pharmacy care, patients benefit from face-to-face relationships, regular follow up, and a team of care givers with access to electronic heath records that document every step of the patient’s journey.”

Synopsis: Strategy and Success

Acentrus has helped the UT Southwestern Specialty Pharmacy secure access to six priority LDDs with a strategy focused on data reporting, relationship-building with manufacturers, and metrics emphasizing the value of health system specialty pharmacy. Since June 2020, UT Southwestern gained access to the following LDDs:

  1. ZEPOSIA in June 2020 (the drug transitioned to open channel on June 1, 2021)
  2. BAFIERTAM in September 2020
  3. VYNDAQEL and VYNDAMAX in December 2020
  4. FASENRA in December 2020
  5. INREBIC in February 2021
  6. AUSTEDO in May 2021
  7. Pfizer’s oncology portfolio of 11 products in June 2021


The growth of health system-operated specialty pharmacies continues to provide an alternative model in a health care landscape dominated by national chain pharmacies. Specialty pharmacies operated by health systems offers patients the benefit of a wrap-around environment where pharmacists, physicians, and other health care team members work closely with each other to align every step of the patient journey and alleviate the fragmentation that compromises patient care. 

“Health system specialty pharmacies are positioned for growth and the major factor in their ability to seize this opportunity will be the ability to demonstrate that they deliver better care and outcomes at lower costs,” says Acentrus Senior Director of Client Accounts Robert Scholz. “As a member of the Acentrus Network, UT Southwestern has been able to access nearly 20 limited distribution drugs for patients and provide these medications in a setting where patients receive the continuum of care they need.”

As an Acentrus client, UT Southwestern continues to develop strategies for LDD access and leverage the drug pipeline expertise of the Acentrus Advisory Council’s LDD Committee. After expanding the health system’s portfolio with growth of $286,000 in reimbursement from new LDD dispenses over the past year, UT Southwestern is now focused on gathering analytics in therapy-specific areas to demonstrate value to payers.

Allison Bystriansky, MBA
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Allison Bystriansky, MBA
Allison Bystriansky, MBA, is a Regional Account Director with Acentrus Specialty, the specialty pharmacy solution offered by Apexus. Allison earned her MBA through the Executive MBA program at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Allison combines her 27 years of pharmacy management, pharmacy consulting and account management experience to support her health system specialty pharmacy clients in delivering exceptional specialty pharmacy services.