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Home » Rare Diseases » The Benefits of Customized “End-to-End” Distribution Services for Rare Disease Drugs

Limited distribution networks with disaggregated services often don’t serve patients with rare diseases well. One specialty pharmacy offers an alternative.

Rare diseases afflict more than 30 million Americans, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and treating them remains a challenge. Many rare disease treatments are considered “orphan” drugs because of the economics of developing therapies for small patient populations. But even when a treatment exists for a rare disease, getting those treatments from a manufacturer to the patient can be difficult.

“What we saw going on in the market was industry consolidation,” said Jon Peters, co-founder and CEO of Anovo, a provider of comprehensive end-to-end services for manufacturers of rare disease drugs and the patients who need them, including specialty wholesale/3PL distribution services, specialty pharmacy services, and patient support hub programs. Anovo has the in-house capabilities to take the product from the point the drug is manufactured all the way to the patient, wherever the patient is located and needs services. “All the independent specialty pharmacies were being acquired by larger payer entities and distributors, which created a void in the market for a single-source provider focused on rare diseases.”

Nimble and responsive

Anovo aimed to fill that void with a focus on rare diseases and ultra-orphan specialty pharmacy products — and a unique approach: They only work on an exclusive basis with manufacturers and do not participate in limited distribution networks; they offer a complete, end-to-end distribution model; and they keep the focus firmly on the patient experience for the benefit of the manufacturer.

Anovo’s chief commercial officer, Alan Erck, worked on the manufacturing side of the business for 25 years. “Anovo’s ability to react to the business’ needs, which are ultimately the patient’s needs, is really, really important,” Erck noted. “Bigger pharmacies are typically governed by a lot more internal processes that delay the ability to react to patient’s needs.”

That exclusivity and ability to be responsive helps get patients access to the manufacturer’s product faster, because there is no question about which pharmacy manages the patient, which is the ultimate goal. And Anovo’s streamlined, dedicated approach can typically obtain 80-90% coverage for the drug in question within one month.


The patient experience is also much different than other specialty pharmacies. “We have a dedicated pharmacy approach,” Peters explained. “For each product that we service, we have a team of intake specialists, reimbursement specialists, billing specialists, patient assistance program specialists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacists and nurses — the full continuum of people who need to be involved in the patient’s treatment to ensure the best therapeutic and health outcome.”

“These customized pharmacy teams are focused and committed to the manufacturer’s product, which allows them to essentially be an expert,” Erck said. “It allows customization and personalization. Relationships are formed. There’s a continuity, which drives accountability and increased communication with patients.”

The impact of that dedicated, patient-centric approach is easy to measure: Anovo’s adherence rate exceeds 96% across all products and its patient satisfaction ratings have exceeded 99% for the past seven years.

Driving value

For manufacturers, Anovo drives value in several ways:

  • Anovo offers efficiency via a single point of accountability. For every aspect of the manufacturer’s business, and patient’s needs, there is always a member of the Anovo team readily available to find a solution.
  • Under Anovo’s exclusive model, drug reimbursement is consistent throughout the market and positively impacts the manufacturer’s gross to net (GTN), and mitigates the need for increased manufacturer discounts over the life of the product.
  • Anovo’s exclusive model is more cost-effective for manufacturers. “In a limited or open distribution network, you have multiple pharmacies, wholesalers, and hub providers, and you’re paying for each one of them,” Erck noted. “You are spending a lot more money and internal time managing all of them, resulting in overall lower quality and consistency of patient care.”

For Peters, this is all about putting a vision into practice. “We built this company to be able to take a product from the manufacturer all the way to the end consumer,” he noted. “Once a manufacturer establishes a relationship with us, we are really an extension of their team. We become their supply chain, patient services and fulfillment department.

“I talk to our manufacturers every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and when manufacturers have a question, they know who to call — they call me or one of our other executives.”

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