Nearly half of patients using mail order for 90-day supplies of prescription medications aren't aware that their community pharmacy is an option, a Walgreen Co. national study found.

Walgreens, Go 90, prescription medications, 90-day prescriptions, 90-day supplies, community pharmacy, national study, mail order pharmacy, pharmacy, Greg Wasson, Hal Rosenbluth, Kermit Crawford, chronic medication, prescription customers, medication adherence, Navitus Health Solutions, medications at retail, health costs

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Walgreens: Mail-order patients overlook retail option

January 12th, 2011

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Nearly half of patients using mail order for 90-day supplies of prescription medications aren't aware that their community pharmacy is an option, a Walgreen Co. national study found.

Walgreens said Wednesday that the research also showed that an "overwhelming majority" of respondents wanted face-to-face interaction with a pharmacist and to be able to choose where their prescriptions are filled.

In response to the findings, Walgreens said it's launching an initiative called Go 90 to educate eligible prescription customers about their options to get a 90-day supply of medication at their local Walgreens pharmacy.

According to the research, almost half of mail-order pharmacy users believe that mail is their only option for 90-day prescriptions. Also, two-thirds of 30-day chronic medication users would be "extremely or very likely" to switch to 90-day supplies at their community pharmacy if given the option, Walgreens said

"One way to improve medication adherence and compliance is by allowing patients to receive 90-day supplies of chronic medications at their community pharmacy," Walgreens president and chief executive officer Greg Wasson said in a statement. "Today, some patients still are only able to receive a 90-day supply through a mail-order option designed by their prescription plan administrator. We are out to change that with our 'Go 90' program, which will inform eligible patients that they can receive a 90-day medication supply from their trusted community pharmacist.

"We also will be encouraging all prescription plan administrators to adopt this design to help both their clients and individuals save money, while improving patient health through proper medication adherence and compliance," Wasson added.

Walgreens noted that working with clients of Navitus Health Solutions, a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), the drug chain offers 90-day supplies of medications at retail through its store network. In only seven months, Navitus clients saved $3.3 million with Walgreens' Go 90 program.

"By offering payers programs that leverage our 90-day supply at retail capability, which reduces overall health costs and improves health outcomes, we continue to demonstrate our unique set of pharmacy, health and wellness solutions," stated Hal Rosenbluth, president of Walgreens' health and wellness division. "As we provide additional tangible savings results from our work with clients like Navitus, we are confident that more payers and employers will welcome the opportunity to provide their members and employees the option of 90-day supplies at their community pharmacy."

Walgreens said its pharmacists will be available to help patients navigate their benefit plan options to take advantage of 90-day supplies when possible.

"The role of the pharmacist in the health care system has steadily evolved for some time, and it's clear if people have questions or concerns about their medications, they want to be able to rely on the pharmacist they know, trust and are confident talking to about their health," commented Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy services at Walgreens. "We also know that an approximately 15% increase in adherence to medications occurs for consumers receiving a 90-day prescription versus those receiving a 30-day supply. So our Go 90 program can improve health outcomes and reduce overall costs to the health care system through better adherence while providing patients the choice they want."