Walgreens Unveils Success Of Medication Adherence Programs Through Improved Patient Adherence And Outcomes

Walgreens presented new research results at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s 24th Annual Meeting & Expo, April 18-20 in San Francisco, demonstrating the company’s success in driving better patient medication adherence through a diverse set of pharmacy programs. The studies illustrate how Walgreens approach to community pharmacy ultimately helps improve outcomes through cost savings, pharmacist-led face-to-face patient counseling and specialized services for disease management.

Three of the studies presented at the conference included:
  • Prescription Savings Club Membership Drives Medication Adherence: This study assessed the impact of enrollment in Walgreens Prescription Savings Club (PSC) on patient adherence to prescriptions used to treat diabetes. Comparison of medication adherence between PSC members and non-members revealed a nearly 10 percent higher medication possession rate for PSC members (77.9 percent vs. 68.0 percent). An increasing number of large employers are seeking methods to improve patient adherence. This study offers evidence that prescription discount memberships may improve medication adherence.
  • Impact of Community Pharmacist-Led Counseling on Patient Medication Adherence: This study demonstrated that pharmacist-led, face-to-face patient counseling significantly improves adherence to statin and thyroid medications in new-to-therapy patients. The pharmacist-led counseling resulted in an increase in one-year patient medication possession from 44 percent before the introduction of the program to 56 percent after the introduction of the program. Medication possession in a control group of patients of similar pharmacies without the program showed no significant increase in medication possession.
  • Impact of HIV-Specialized Pharmacies on Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Walgreens HIV Centers of Excellence (COE) pharmacies offer specialized services for HIV patients aimed at combatting barriers to adherence, which can lead to longer, healthier lives. At COE pharmacies, 62 percent of patients had adherence of 85 percent or more, compared with 57 percent of patients using community pharmacies.

Previous research also demonstrates that non-adherence with physician-prescribed medication treatment programs has a significantly negative impact on patient outcomes and overall health care costs. On average, 50 percent of patients do not take their medications as prescribed and 33 percent never even fill a new prescription 1. Eleven percent of hospital admissions and 40 percent of nursing home admissions are attributable to medication non-adherence, which has been estimated to cost the U.S. health care system $290 billion annually, including $100 billion in avoidable hospitalizations alone. 2,3 As the number of Americans taking prescription drugs and the prevalence of chronic conditions grows, reducing non-adherence has increasingly become an important focus for health plan sponsors.

“At Walgreens, our number one priority is offering our patients innovative, accessible and personalized solutions to staying well. And providing a support system to facilitate consistent adherence with prescribed medications is a key component of this,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions. “This research highlights how three initiatives, -- our Prescription Savings Club program, our face-to-face pharmacist disease management counseling, and our specialty pharmacy offerings -- can all meaningfully help improve adherence. These types of offerings not only benefit our patients, but also the overall health care system by ultimately helping improve outcomes and potentially reduce costs.”

The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s 24th Annual Meeting & Expo took place April 18-20 in San Francisco. During the three-day meeting, pharmacy professionals from managed care organizations such as HMOs, PPOs, PBMs, Integrated Health Networks and Federal Programs gathered to discuss the latest drug therapies, technologies and products and services affecting professionals working in managed care pharmacy.

About Walgreens

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 7,847 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.

1 Norman G. “It takes more than Wireless to unbind Healthcare”. Presentation at Healthcare Unbound 2007 Conference.

2 Osterberg L, Blaschke T. Adherence to medication. N Engl J Med. 2005; 353(5):487-497

3 NEHI Research Shows Patient Medication Nonadherence Costs Health Care System $290 Billion Annually

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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