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Safe Drug Delivery

Some insurers and pharmacy benefit managers have created policies that require you to obtain infusion or injectable drugs from a source other than your cancer center, or face having to pay a higher out-of-pocket amount. This can include:
  • Brown Bagging: Patients obtain drugs directly from a vendor/pharmacy and bring them to the clinic to be administered by clinical staff.
  • White Bagging: Insurers or pharmacy benefit managers purchase drugs directly from a specialty pharmacy and ship them to the clinic.
  • Drug Replacement: Vendor replaces drugs in physician's inventory.

Policies like these are unsafe disruptions of Texas Oncology’s proven protocols for handling cancer drugs, which includes meticulously tracking them from the manufacturer until they are given to patients. This process helps reduce risks, including tampering, dilution, mishandling, and exposure to temperature changes that can render the drug ineffective.

These policies also compromise the practice’s ability to deliver the personalized care patients expect. Nearly one-third of all chemotherapy dosages change on the day of treatment, based on lab results and other clinical considerations. The new requirement interferes with physicians’ dynamic decision-making process and could delay needed treatments.

Also with dosage amounts subject to change, cancer drugs delivered from outside the practice could be wasted. For safety reasons, they can’t simply be restocked as if on shelves at a grocery store and are never allowed to be returned. Replacement medications could then become an additional financial burden for patients.

The decision about how cancer medicines are administered should be made by physicians and nurses – not by insurance plans, pharmacies, or their vendors.

Cancer treatment therapies should never be “self-serve.”

Texas Oncology adopted the following policy to protect you:

Texas Oncology opposes any policy that requires you to acquire injectable drugs outside of our practice and bring those drugs into our cancer centers for administration. Such actions pose significant risks to you and liability to physicians with respect to the product integrity, product labeling, and accuracy, and the conditions to which those drugs may be exposed which cannot be known by Texas Oncology’s physicians.