Genentech’s decision to move three lifesaving cancer drugs from traditional wholesale distribution channels to specialty distributors is increasing costs for many hospitals and health systems and in some cases delaying patient treatment, according to a January survey of more than 200 health system pharmacy directors and professionals by Novation. About eight in 10 respondents said the change had a “moderate” to “significant” effect on their organizations’ expenses, primarily through higher drug purchasing costs, increased inventory expense and extra freight charges for emergency deliveries. More than three-quarters of respondents were ordering drugs more frequently and nearly two-thirds were encountering variable and unreliable delivery times due to the distribution change. Nearly three in 10 said the change in distribution channels had affected patient care, mostly by delaying treatment due to drug unavailability. Last October, the AHA and five other national hospital organizations urged Genentech Inc. to continue to distribute the drugs – Avastin, Herceptin and Rituxan – through the traditional distribution channels “so that our hospitals can focus on providing the best care for their cancer patients.”