DEERFIELD, Ill., July 24, 2012 - Building upon its commitment to provide convenient, compassionate and confidential support and resources to HIV patients needing to manage their disease and live well, Walgreens (NYSE: WAG)(NASDAQ: WAG) announced plans to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop an innovative medication therapy management (MTM) program to help improve outcomes for HIV patients. The multi-year program will examine the impact of MTM intervention in the community pharmacy setting, with Walgreens anticipating to provide nearly $1 million in in-kind services. The initiative was announced by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. this week.
“Investing in public-private initiatives is key in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This collaboration will offer insight into how pharmacists and other providers can help patients living with HIV/AIDS stay on their medication and in care, and ultimately improve health outcomes,” said Secretary Sebelius.
In a number of markets across the country, Walgreens pharmacists at select HIV Centers of Excellence (COE) would work with a total of 1,000 patients as part of this pilot. These locations are staffed with specially-trained pharmacists who work closely with patients to offer guidance and support with their medication therapy. Under the plan, the innovative public-private initiative would include an initial comprehensive medication review and quarterly MTM. Other COE services including refill reminders, help with managing side effects and navigating insurance benefits will also be provided on a monthly basis. Pilot data will be used to measure the benefits and costs associated with a pharmacy-based program. Patient participation is voluntary and once select locations are identified, the program is expected to launch January 1, 2013.
“Walgreens community pharmacists are a valued part of the health care team for thousands of HIV patients coast to coast, and this new program can help elevate the importance and effectiveness of the meaningful patient-pharmacist relationship,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “By developing these relationships and closely studying how they impact outcomes for HIV patients, this collaboration will put community pharmacy in a great position to be even more effective and relevant when it comes to retention in care for those with chronic conditions.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV. Walgreens has supported people living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic more than 30 years ago through its ability to offer accessible health and wellness guidance to patients nationwide. With more than 500 HIV COEs at its drugstores in communities highly impacted by the complex condition, Walgreens is committed to helping drive improved health outcomes through its retail locations and collaborations with national health organizations including CDC and HHS.
Walgreens HIV Centers of Excellence
These locations reach nearly 90 percent of the U.S. HIV population. In addition to delivering patient-focused care, specially-trained pharmacists at these locations reach nearly 90 percent of the U.S. HIV population and provide synchronized refills, refill reminders and help identify financial support programs. Walgreens COE pharmacy staff also receives additional education and training about cultural and social issues and challenges related to HIV/AIDS. To learn more about Walgreens HIV services and find a COE near you, visit hiv.walgreens.com.
Last month, Walgreens announced its participation in a new two-year pilot program with the CDC to help connect more people with HIV to care by expanding the role of the pharmacist beyond immunizations and health tests to include HIV testing. The CDC plans to use pilot results from select pharmacies and in-store clinics in urban and rural areas identified as highly impacted by HIV to develop a model that pharmacists and nurse practitioners can use to implement HIV testing throughout the nation.
- Testing is free to those getting tested at select Walgreens pharmacies in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and a select Take Care Clinic in Lithonia, Ga.
- Walgreens pharmacists and Take Care nurse practitioners are trained to deliver confidential HIV testing and counseling.
- If a preliminary positive is identified, the provider will refer the patient to a local health care provider for confirmatory testing and care. They will also be given a list of community based organizations to help address other health or social issues.
- In the first 60 days of testing, more than 100 tests were administered with four preliminary positives.
Walgreens, along with Greater Than AIDS, a coalition of public and private sector partners united in response to the domestic epidemic, teamed up this year with local health departments and AIDS organizations to allow them to provide free HIV testing at 47 Walgreens stores in 20 cities across the nation in support of National HIV Testing Day. From June 27-29, more than 1,500 HIV tests were administered with 25 preliminary positives.
As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2011 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. 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. The company operates 7,907 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.