Featured Health Business Daily Story, Aug. 14, 2012
Reprinted from SPECIALTY PHARMACY NEWS, a monthly newsletter designed to help health plans, PBMs, providers and employers contain costs and improve outcomes related to high-cost specialty products.
In an attempt to improve care and outcomes for people with HIV, Walgreen Co. will collaborate with HHS on the implementation of a pilot medication therapy management (MTM) program.
Through the initiative, pharmacists at certain Walgreens HIV Centers of Excellence in 10 markets across the country will offer an initial comprehensive medication review, with quarterly MTM follow-up. Refill reminders, side effect management and assistance in understanding health insurance benefits also will be provided monthly.
“We are committed to providing convenient, compassionate and confidential support and resources to HIV patients needing to manage their disease and live well,” says Glen Pietrandoni, senior manager of HIV and hepatitis at Walgreens. “As HHS looks to gain insight into how pharmacists and other providers can help patients living with HIV/AIDS stay on their medication and in care, this new program can help provide more information about how MTM can help improve health outcomes for HIV patients. Specifically, pilot data will be used to measure the benefits and costs associated with a pharmacy-based program.”
According to data from the Express Scripts, Inc. 2011 Drug Trend Report, HIV was ranked fourth in specialty drug trend among the PBM’s clients.
Pietrandoni tells SPN that the pilot “will run for approximately three years. The first phase involves determining how the program will run, and we anticipate patient participation to happen sometime in January 2013. Once we gather information, we’ll spend time analyzing the data.”
In the next few weeks, he says, “we will begin building the program.” As far as outcomes, “For now, we plan to look at holistic patient issues including comorbidities, side effects, adherence support and some lifestyle issues.” Down the road, though, outcomes will focus on patient adherence and persistency, CD4 count and viral load, in addition to the financial impact on the pharmacy and payers, he says.
“As the role of the community pharmacist continues to change and evolve, we are very eager to see how this role especially impacts HIV care at the community level.”
A combination of factors — input from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and financial and clinical outcomes — will determine whether the pilot will continue after three years, says Pietrandoni.
This is the second public-private initiative that Walgreens has unveiled this summer. In June it said it was working with the CDC to offer HIV testing in select Walgreens pharmacies in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and a Take Care Clinic in Lithonia, Ga. Pharmacists and nurse practitioners in these locations received training aimed at delivering confidential testing and counseling.
Both initiatives, Pietrandoni says, “are prime examples of how the role of the community pharmacist is changing. These programs also allow us to utilize our HIV Centers of Excellence locations and the resource opportunities they provide when it comes to education, MTM, community outreach and providing a safe place to discuss any questions about care.”
© 2012 by Atlantic Information Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The FDA recently approved the first drug aimed at reducing the risk of sexually acquired HIV infection. However, concerns exist about using the drug in a preventive fashion. Which side are you on in this debate, and why? Join the conversation at the AIS Blogs.
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