What are Limited Distribution Drugs?

Published On: September 24th, 2023Categories: Patients, Providers, Specialty

Limited distribution drugs (LDDs) are medications designed to treat complex or rare medical conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs are not typical over-the-counter medications. They are usually higher in cost and may require special storage, administration, and monitoring guidelines.

LDDs are not readily available at every pharmacy. Instead, they can only be found at a select number of specialty pharmacies or are directly provided by healthcare professionals. Specialty pharmacies are equipped with highly trained staff who can manage the unique and complex requirements of these drugs. 

Why are LDDs Limited to Specific Pharmacies?

Pharmaceutical manufacturers often choose to manage their specialty medications through a limited distribution mechanism. This means they authorize only certain specialty pharmacies to dispense their LDDs. While this may seem like a way for manufacturers to control access to their medications, it serves a greater purpose.

This model ensures that the pharmacy’s clinical staff is well-trained on your medication. They can provide support that a traditional community pharmacy might not be able to. For instance, they can guide you on how to avoid side effects, a common reason why people stop taking their medication. They can also navigate the complex landscape of insurance coverage and billing issues that often accompany specialty medications. This might include obtaining copay assistance to make your medication more affordable.

Understanding Limited Distribution Networks

Limited distribution networks (LDNs) are formed when manufacturers partner with a small number of pharmacies to dispense their LDDs. These pharmacies often have established relationships with healthcare providers, facilitating easier access to necessary medications for patients.

What Happens If You’re Prescribed an LDD?

If you’re prescribed an LDD, you’ll likely be coordinated with a specific specialty pharmacy and they will handle every aspect of your prescription process, including:

  • Receiving the prescription from your healthcare provider
  • Applying any available manufacturer copay savings cards
  • Managing the billing and any financial assistance applications
  • Securing any required authorizations
  • Filling the medication
  • Providing necessary training and education on how to use it
  • Monitoring your medication adherence and health status

Limited distribution drugs are a critical component of managing rare or complex medical conditions. While obtaining these drugs might involve more steps than picking up a regular prescription from your local pharmacy, it ensures patients receive the best possible care and support for their health needs. The focus on specialty pharmacies and limited distribution networks ensures that the right expertise and care are extended to patients in need.