Walgreens Expands Access to Pharmacist-Led Hepatitis C Care as Treatments Advance
More than 100 Walgreens Pharmacies Designated Hepatitis C-Specialized to Meet Projected Patient Care Management Needs and Improve Medication Adherence
DEERFIELD, Ill., February 17, 2014 – With new advances in treatment therapy now available for hepatitis C patients, Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) (Nasdaq:WAG) today announced it is expanding access to Walgreens Connected Caresm hepatitis C program through its more than 100 hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies. Walgreens Connected Care is an education and support plan designed to help patients achieve a sustained virologic response (SVR) and improved quality of life through medication adherence.
The expansion comes at a critical time, as the once potentially life-threatening condition affecting more than 3.2 million Americans is now increasingly curable due to recent advances in therapy.1 Also, a growing number of Americans with hepatitis C infection are expected to have access to health insurance based on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Walgreens now offers more than 100 hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies with new hepatitis C virus (HCV) medications available and pharmacists specially trained on next generation oral therapies. Walgreens hepatitis C specially-trained pharmacists are also qualified to identify HCV-associated health concerns and can provide hepatitis C patient care for those with a HIV co-infection or other comorbid conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. The specialized support has been proven to benefit patients, contributing to 90 percent adherence for patients who completed past treatments1.
“While recent hepatitis C therapy advances can be more effective and present fewer side effects, some patients, with high instance of comorbidity, can experience difficulty in managing care and an increased cost of therapy,” said Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens director specialty products and services, virology. “Walgreens Connected Caresm hepatitis C program, delivered through our hepatitis C- specialized pharmacies, is designed to meet the holistic needs of people diagnosed with hepatitis C – before, during and after HCV treatment. This can help patients achieve SVR and an improved quality of life through medication adherence, while continuing to manage other health outcomes.”
Patients in Walgreens Connected Caresm hepatitis C program receive support services including 24-hour access to specially trained pharmacists, help verifying insurance and identifying financial assistance options, convenient access to or delivery of medication and pharmacist-led regimen check points to monitor response to therapy and encourage medication adherence.
Walgreens hepatitis C specially trained pharmacists work with patients to determine the best method of delivery. HCV medications can be picked up at a Walgreens hepatitis C specialized pharmacy or a designated local Walgreens pharmacy. Delivery is also available through hepatitis C specialized pharmacies or Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy locations.
“As the most common blood transmitted infection in the U.S. largely affecting an aging population with high instance of other health concerns, careful holistic patient pharmaceutical care and supported comprehensive therapy treatment plans are critical to maintain total medication adherence,” said Pietrandoni.
As the nation’s largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2013 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to be the first choice in health and daily living for everyone in America, and beyond. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 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 8,206 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers, provider practices, and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 750 locations throughout the country.
1 Ghany, M. G., Nelson, D. R., Strader, D. B., Thomas, D. L. and Seeff, L. B. (2011), An update on treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C virus infection: 2011 practice guideline by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Hepatology, 54: 1433-1444. doi: 10.1002/hep.24641.