DEERFIELD, Ill., Feb. 22, 2017 - Furthering its commitment to personalized patient care and continuing education for its pharmacy staff, Walgreens has designated more than 50 of its local specialty pharmacies as cancer-specialized locations led by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have advanced cancer training and expertise and are committed to making sure patients get the medications and answers they need when they need them.
The pharmacy staff at these locations have completed a cancer-focused curriculum of advanced education courses, focused on colorectal, lung, prostate and breast cancer, as well as various blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, myeloproliferative neoplasms and myelodysplatic syndrome.
“We are continually looking for ways to better support and educate our cancer patients on their medication regimens, while helping to improve their quality of care,” said Matthew Farber, Walgreens senior director for oncology disease state management. “With the continued advances in new oral therapies for cancer care, our pharmacists at these specialty locations are playing an integral role in working with patients’ physicians, nurses, social workers and financial counselors.”
Walgreens cancer-specialized pharmacies help patients access, afford and stay on their medication while also helping to successfully transition them into survivorship care. Walgreens pharmacists and technicians collaborate with other providers to help manage any medication side effects, and can assist in finding financial assistance options, if necessary.
The training curriculum
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancers, along with input from blood cancer experts from academia, developed clinical training courses, resources and certification for Walgreens specialty pharmacists and technicians to learn about and implement the latest evidence-based standards and guidelines for blood cancer care. LLS will be awarding blood cancer certifications to all of the Walgreens cancer-specialized pharmacies upon completion of their blood cancer courses.
The education-focused initiative is part of an ongoing collaboration between Walgreens and LLS. One of its objectives has been to implement an education and training program to help enhance pharmacists’ knowledge of blood cancers and treatments, as part of the overall cancer care continuum.
“We are passionate about understanding, meeting and exceeding the needs of blood cancer patients,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS president and CEO. “Our programs, priorities and policies are driven by what is right for patients. In collaboration with Walgreens, we are making an impact on the health care of the more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. living with or in remission from a blood cancer.”
Walgreens pharmacy staff at these specialized locations have also completed the following training:
- Breast cancer curriculum developed by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), tailored for Walgreens pharmacists
- Prostate and colorectal cancer curriculum developed by Pharmacy Times Continuing Education (PTCE)
- A lung cancer course created by Advanced Studies in Medicine (ASiM) and its University of Tennessee Advance Studies in Pharmacy initiative
The company will continue to offer additional education courses from some of the aforementioned organizations, as well as other cancer experts and educators, including the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) and ProCE Inc., a continuing pharmacy and medical education company.
About Walgreens Oncology Clinical Programs
Walgreens has designed its oncology clinical programs to engage the patient and work together to help overcome medication adherence barriers throughout their treatment. The team of clinically-trained oncology pharmacy staff collaborates with patients’ health care teams to bridge the clinical and communication gaps that can arise within the patient population.
“It is increasingly the case that a pharmacist, either over the phone, in person or via a mobile or web chat, will have the last conversation with a patient prior to the initiation of their oral therapies,” added Farber. “This offers a tremendous opportunity for our cancer-specialized pharmacies to help ensure the success of a patient’s treatment regimen.”
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com), one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise. More than 10 million customers interact with Walgreens each day in communities across America, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens operates 8,175 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens omnichannel business includes Walgreens.com and VisionDirect.com. Approximately 400 Walgreens stores offer Healthcare Clinic or other provider retail clinic services.