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Walgreens oral oncology program sizes up savings
November 22nd, 2010
DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. reported that an analysis of more than 1,700 patients in its Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy oncology cycle management program (CMP) showed potential savings of $3 million in first three months of therapy.
The company said Monday that the savings reckoned from the two-year internal analysis of results from the oral oncology CMP would be achieved through significant reductions in medication waste and greater medication persistence. The CMP program is designed to provide clinical management and support to patients while mitigating costs associated with oral oncology agents, which cost thousands of dollars a month for patients and payers.
"Walgreens has and will continue to explore innovative ways through our multichannel network of 70,000 health care providers to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs," Michael Nameth, executive vice president of Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, said in a statement. "Adherence to an oral oncology program can be challenging for any individual. Our team of health care providers can help patients manage their treatment program to try to achieve the best outcome at the lowest cost for them, their family and any involved payer."
The analysis focused on the dispensing of three oral oncology medications — Nexavar, Tarceva and Sutent — to 1,740 patients between June 1, 2008, and June 30, 2010. Both indirect and direct CMP savings were achieved through increased clinical management by pharmacists and oncology nurses as well as a monitored dispensing program.
Walgreens explained that oral oncology medications can go to waste because patients may struggle to complete a full month of drug therapy because of side effects or disease progression. With monitored dispensing, medication is dispensed to patients in a partial month's supply to ensure a mid-cycle assessment by a clinician, the company noted.
The mid-cycle assessment offers an opportunity for the gathering and relaying of actionable information to a patient's doctor, which can lead to medication therapy regimen changes or discontinuation of therapy without medication waste. Based on the cost of these oral agents, the waste avoidance can save payers between $2,000 and $4,000 per month, per patient, according to Walgreens.
The company added that the Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy CMP offers patients greater access to clinical support between physician office visits via pharmacists and other professionals to encourage medication adherence.