DEERFIELD, Ill., April 12, 2011 - Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) (NASDAQ:WAG) Vice President of Clinical Affairs Dr. David Lorber discussed key trends in specialty pharmacy today at the Pinsonault Associates Managed Markets Summit in Miami. The session, titled “Employer Issues in Specialty Pharmacy,” examined the impact for payers, including the role of adherence in cost management and containment, benefit and coverage decisions, formulary and medical policy, pipeline management, provider network and member satisfaction and disruption.
Specialty medications include complex treatment regimens and medications that require special delivery, storage and handling. Depending on the condition and prescribed therapy, these medications may be taken orally, intravenously or self-injected. There is also enhanced clinical management to monitor medication adherence, side effects and dosage changes. Specialty prescriptions typically cost about $2,000 for a 30-day supply, which is 28 times the traditional retail prescription. Approximately 3-5 percent of the population takes a specialty medication, and that number is increasing.
“Specialty pharmacy is one of the most rapidly growing segments of total drug spending, which brings both concern as well as opportunity for enhanced efficiencies,” said Dr. Lorber. “As more people rely on specialty pharmacy medications, the health care industry needs to place an emphasis on cost control, appropriateness of care, adherence and waste management.”
Dr. Lorber discussed a case study that showed consistent patient adherence can result in savings. Walgreens multiple sclerosis patients adherent to medications, when compared to less adherent patients, resulted in savings of about $1.1 million for a large national insurance payer for the 801 patients over the two-year period. The same case study also showed higher adherence reduced costs related to multiple sclerosis emergency room visits, inpatient stays and use of durable medical equipment.
“Improving the health and well-being of patients can be accomplished by providing convenient access to drugs and ensuring there is a consistent and coordinated care management programs,” said Dr. Lorber. “Patient counseling and education by trained pharmacists and nurses, like those at Walgreens and Take Care Health Systems, translates into fewer office visits as a result of improved adherence. Proactive patient monitoring also drives early recognition of, and response to, adverse drug reactions and side effects, resulting in improved outcomes.”
Walgreens specialty pharmacy offers patient assistance coordination, multiple distribution channels, strong manufacturer relationships, advanced clinical programs, cost management programs and access to limited distribution drugs.
Dr. Lorber joined Walgreens as the vice president of clinical affairs in November 2010 and is responsible for clinical oversight and consistency of Walgreens clinical programs. Previously, he was vice president of medical affairs for CVS Caremark. Prior to joining CVS Caremark, Dr. Lorber was medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico in Albuquerque and a private practitioner in pulmonary, critical care and internal medicine. He has held numerous positions in community leadership and professional organizations including president of the New Mexico Chapter of the American Thoracic Society and faculty appointments as assistant clinical professor of medicine with the University Of New Mexico School Of Medicine, and as assistant professor with the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson and the Tucson VA Hospital.
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.
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Jim Cohn, 847-315-2950