Diplomat Sets the Standard for Independent Specialty Pharmacies

Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc, serves patients in all 50 states with a focus on medication management programs tailored to the treatment of complex chronic disease states.


Since its modest beginnings in 1973, Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc, has been the standard-bearer for independent specialty pharmacies.

Diplomat was launched by Dale Hagerman, RPh, as Ideal Pharmacy, the fourth store in a small chain. Joined by his son Phil Hagerman, RPh, in 1975, the father–son team envisioned Diplomat as a specialty pharmacy founded on the core belief that when you take good care of patients, the rest falls into place.

“We started as a small corner drugstore, and we have never forgotten that at the end of everything we do, there is a patient in need,” said Phil Hagerman, RPh, Diplomat chairman and chief executive officer, in an interview with Specialty Pharmacy Times. “Our model has been taking care of patients, one patient at a time. We continue to do that even though we’re using technology and clinical capabilities at a level we think the industry probably has slipped away from a bit, and that’s how we’re improving care. We’re winning contracts and improving care around clinical capabilities and utilization management, and using those kind of tools to improve the cost curve.”

Headquartered in Flint, Michigan, Diplomat now serves patients and physicians in all 50 states, with a focus on medication management programs for people with complex chronic diseases. The company also operates smaller regional facilities in Flint, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Ontario, California; Enfield, Connecticut; Raleigh, North Carolina; and West Springfield, Massachusetts.

On October 10, 2014, Diplomat became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange with its initial public offering (IPO) of 13,333,333 shares of common stock at a price of $13 per share.

“We’ve been a private company for many years, and have grown and built the structure privately for many years to really be a long-standing company,” Hagerman said. “With what’s happening in specialty pharmacy, we see an industry that’s at an inflection point with trends around limited distribution drugs, with trends around a growing small biotech presence, with trends around the demand and requirement for transparency by health plans because of the cost of these new drugs. It’s a tremendous opportunity for Diplomat to step up now as a public, and therefore stronger and more transparent, company on the New York Stock Exchange, to be able to continue our growth and fill some of the needs the industry is clamoring for.”

The areas the company serves include oncology, immunology, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, HIV, and specialized infusion therapy. It has also been accredited by several third-party agencies, including URAC, the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists, and the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, and received accreditation as a Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributor. Diplomat innovates across a full spectrum of solutions to dispensing, delivery, dosing, and reimbursement of high-touch, high-cost specialty drugs.

“When we use data and when we can capture data, it gives us the ability to work closely with pharmaceutical manufacturers so we can create clinical capabilities that help to get drugs at clinical trial efficacy,” Hagerman said. “We use data and loop back with our managed care organizations around quality-of-life surveys. We use data with our physicians and labs to be able to adjust and manage care. We also dip into expanding layered technology solutions so that we can communicate information back and forth seamlessly with all the stakeholders in the industry.”

In light of the significant spending growth projected to propel specialty pharmacy to the forefront of health care, Hagerman said the company is poised to use its successful IPO as a springboard into the future.

“For Diplomat, this feels like a culmination, for many of us, of a lifetime of work. I’ve been at Diplomat for 39 years and yet it’s really the starting point for us; it’s a new chapter,” Hagerman noted. “We never forget where we started as we continued to grow, even as we became a billion-and-a-half-dollar company over the past few years. We never forget there’s a patient on the end of everything we do. We don’t intend to change our behavior or our core values for patients just because we’ve become a public company.” SPT




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