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a blog by Eric Gerstner, Mandell’s Clinical Pharmacy, May 31, 2013

Treating infertility is a group effort. After a few visits to a fertility center, most patients recognize the collaboration that goes on within the doctors’ office. Doctors, nurses, treatment coordinators, embryologists, andrologists, ultrasound technicians and financial counselors all work together to maximize each patient’s opportunity for success. While each patient has control over her treatment pathway, most find it helpful to rely on the knowledge and experience of the treatment team.

One way that fertility experts often advise their patients is by recommending a pharmacy to fill prescriptions. Since the medication needs of fertility patients are quite complex, the majority of infertility patients are referred to fertility specialty pharmacies, most of which have a high level of knowledge about infertility and the medications used in its treatment. Most fertility centers will have between one and three - some more, some less - “go to” fertility specialty pharmacies that they work with and trust. Patients are seldom left without any guidance regarding where to fill their prescriptions.

Sometimes insurance plans mandate which pharmacy must be used but whenever a choice is available, fertility centers generally choose to collaborate with fertility specialty pharmacies for a number of reasons. The first and most significant reason is the fact that these pharmacies understand the needs of fertility patients and most of them have staff dedicated to assisting and counseling patients. These pharmacies often have relationships with and communicate directly with fertility centers to share critical patient care information. Fertility specialty pharmacies also help the patient understand her payment options, whether she has insurance or she is paying out of pocket. Since many fertility pharmacies have direct contracts with drug manufacturers, they are able to offer the lowest prices and discount programs for patients with out-of-pocket expenses. Many pharmacies have staff available to answer questions, provide instructions, assist with injection training and advise on medication storage. Patients are unlikely to find this level of service and knowledge from pharmacies that do not specialize in infertility. Of course, the above services are generalizations and can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. No two pharmacies offer the exact same services, which is why most fertility centers work hard to determine the best choice for their patients.

Needless to say, choosing the right fertility pharmacy is important for both the patient and her center. Since pharmacy choice can have a significant impact on a patient’s treatment, careful thought and consideration should go into the process. Choosing the right pharmacy can absolutely enhance the quality of care and the overall treatment experience.

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