Frequently Asked Questions about the Specialty Pharmacy

We understand you have questions.

This idea of having a pharmacist focused directly on your care may raise some questions. Here are answers to questions we typically hear from patients receiving this service for the first time.

Why do I need a specialty pharmacy?

Specialty drugs are complex and cost a lot of money. They often need special handling and storage, which your local pharmacy may not be able to do. Your care while you take these medicines also needs to be monitored by a specially trained pharmacist to make sure they are working for you.

Our pharmacists work with you to make sure you have the information you need. Our pharmacists are part of your UI Health Care team, which gives them access to your medical records and care team.

UI Health Care Specialty Pharmacy is accredited by national agencies, assuring we meet their strict standards for quality and safety. Many local drug stores are not set up to give you the types of medicines the UI Health Care Specialty Pharmacy offers.

Am I paying extra for this pharmacist’s expertise?

There is no extra charge for this service. It is part of the complete care you can expect from UI Health Care.

How does your service compare with others?

We have resources ready to answer your questions.

Our specialty pharmacy service is accredited by national agencies to assure we are meeting your needs with the highest quality and safety standards. Our pharmacists will work with you to make sure you have the information you need to get the most benefit from the medication and can take the medication safely.

Many local drug stores do not have this level of accreditation and may not be equipped to administer the types of medications that we can provide. There are some retail chains that offer specialty pharmacy services, but their pharmacists are not part of the University of Iowa Health Care team with direct access to your doctor.

We are an important part of your University of Iowa Health Care team. 

How are my medications delivered?

Some can be picked up right in our hospital pharmacy before you leave from your appointment. Others might be a few days before they’re ready (because of insurance pre-approval rules). In those cases, we arrange to have them delivered to your home by a service like Federal Express. We’ll help coordinate the delivery time so that a responsible adult is present to sign for the medications when they arrive.

How do I report side effects or adverse reactions to my medication?

  • If the effect is life threatening, dial 911 immediately and relay information about the medication you are on.
  • Call our specialty pharmacist to describe side effects and answer any questions.
  • Our numbers are 1-319-384-6909 or toll-free 1-877-846-8574.

How do I dispose of any unused specialty medications?

Call our specialty pharmacists and technicians for the best directions to dispose of any unused specialty medications. Having out-of-date, unused medications around your house poses a threat to pets and other family members. We will provide you with the best instructions to keep you, your household, and the environment safe from exposure to these medications.

What if I’m on vacation and I’ve forgotten my medication?

  • You can contact our team 24/7 by phone or by email through MyChart.
  • Our numbers are 1-319-384-6909 or toll-free 1-877-846-8574.
  • We will work with you to get your prescription sent to you or filled at a location convenient for you.

How much will my medication cost?

Your co-pay depends on your insurance. We will tell you this amount when we fill your prescription.

How do you determine financial aid for the costs of my medication?

First we work with your insurance company to make sure you’re getting the most coverage possible for this medication. We are able to keep the costs of these medications as low as possible through our purchasing agreements with drug manufacturers. If there is still a gap in the cost of the medication and what you can afford, we help locate alternative funding measures.

What if I cannot pay for my medicines?

Financial help is possible for some people. If you need help paying for your medicines, we will work with you. We will tell you about your choices and help you sign up for programs, if you meet their requirements. If your insurance coverage is denied, your doctor will talk with you about other choices.