DEERFIELD, Ill., May 2, 2011 - Further expanding the scope of convenient, preventive health care services provided by its pharmacists, Walgreens (NYSE: WAG)(NASDAQ: WAG) is now offering daily testing for total cholesterol and HDL (high-density lipoprotein), blood glucose and A1C at more than 1,400 pharmacies in 33 states, as well as Washington, D.C. Each test also includes a free blood pressure reading and personal consultation with a Walgreens pharmacist.
“Providing convenient, affordable access to health testing services is an important part of our commitment to disease prevention and chronic care management,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “As the most accessible health care professionals, our pharmacists are spending more time with patients through consultations, immunizations, medication questions or concerns, health testing and other important services.”
Tests are available to those age 18 and over at select stores during pharmacy hours daily with no appointment necessary. To find the nearest Walgreens offering these testing services, visit the store locator at www.walgreens.com/findastore and check the “health tests” box, or call 1-877-W-and-YOU (1-877-926-3968).
Walgreens pharmacists administer tests by fingerstick. Cost for testing is:
- Total cholesterol and HDL - $30
- Blood glucose - $20
- A1C (for self-identified diabetics only) - $35
- Blood pressure – free with every health test
Test results are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the absence or presence of any health condition. Recipients are encouraged to share test results with their primary care physician.
Walgreens began offering scheduled testing days at select stores last December. More than 40 percent of patients receiving cholesterol and blood glucose tests at these locations tested with levels that are considered out of desired range or high.
As part of routine follow up with participants who received above normal testing results, Walgreens learned that more than one-third had scheduled an appointment with their primary care physician as a result of the test.
In February, free blood pressure testing was conducted daily at all of the more than 7,600 Walgreens stores and Take Care Clinics nationwide in conjunction with American Heart Month. More than half of those tested had above normal blood pressure readings.
Additionally, Walgreens has conducted blood glucose and A1C testing at select stores and Take Care Clinics over three time periods from November 2009 through November 2010. Nearly 300,000 tests were administered during these events, with more than 20 percent of patients testing out of desired range and consulting with Walgreens pharmacist or Take Care Clinic provider about their results.
“These tests are an important part of preventive health care,” said Cheryl Pegus, Walgreens chief medical officer. “Our pharmacists are educating consumers about the importance of ‘knowing your numbers’ and consulting with your health care provider, and these are key steps to managing costly chronic conditions. We’re committed to collaborating with health care professionals in the communities we serve to improve the outcomes of those with newly-diagnosed or ongoing health conditions.”
Total Cholesterol and HDL Testing
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommends that all adults have their cholesterol levels checked at least every five years. However, adults over age 45 or with other risk factors for heart disease or stroke should talk with their primary care physician about whether more frequent testing is necessary.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 6 adults in the U.S. has high blood cholesterol, which can significantly increase the risk of heart disease or stroke.
Blood Glucose and A1C Testing
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends blood glucose testing every three years for people with normal levels or in good health with no risk factors. Those who are overweight and/or over age 45 should talk with their doctor about whether more frequent testing is recommended. A1C testing should be done at least twice annually for those with diabetes, the ADA says, however more frequent testing may also be advised. For more information on recommendations regarding blood glucose and A1C testing visit www.diabetes.org.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2010 sales of $67 billion. The company operates 7,697 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.