Oncologists Sound the Alarm About Rise of White Bagging
For years, John DiPersio, MD, PhD, an experienced oncologist, has been grappling with the challenge of insurers favoring "white bagging" for medication coverage. This approach diverges from the conventional buy-and-bill method, where oncologists directly purchase specialty drugs from distributors or manufacturers, such as those needed for infusions. White bagging mandates that these drugs come from a specialty pharmacy, a change that might seem insignificant on the surface. Yet, as DiPersio has observed, the implications for oncologists and their patients are substantial.
Research has demonstrated that white bagging can lead to increased patient expenses and reduced reimbursements for oncology practices, presenting financial and safety concerns for patients. As a response, DiPersio's cancer center has taken a firm stance against white bagging. However, when insurers persist in their white-bagging policies, DiPersio and his team are left with limited alternatives, underscoring the need for systemic changes in drug procurement policies.
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