A set of pharmacy programs by Walgreen Co. are driving higher rates of patient adherence to their prescribed medications.

Walgreens, medication adherence, Rx adherence, medication possession rate, pharmacy programs, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, Walgreens Prescription Savings Club, pharmacist-led patient counseling, disease management, community pharmacy, Kermit Crawford, pharmacist-led counseling, Specialized pharmacy services, Walgreens HIV Centers of Excellence pharmacies, research

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Walgreens Rx adherence efforts yield results

April 25th, 2012

DEERFIELD, Ill. – A set of pharmacy programs by Walgreen Co. are driving higher rates of patient adherence to their prescribed medications.

Walgreens said Wednesday that findings from three studies presented at the recent Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy's 24th Annual Meeting & Expo in San Francisco show how community pharmacy can improve patient health outcomes through cost savings, pharmacist-led patient counseling and specialized services for disease management.

One of the studies examined the impact of enrollment in the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club (PSC) on patient adherence to prescriptions used to treat diabetes. A comparison of medication adherence between PSC members and nonmembers found a nearly 10% higher medication possession rate for PSC members — 77.9% versus 68%. According to Walgreens, the study offers evidence that prescription discount memberships can improve medication adherence.

Another study demonstrated that face-to-face patient counseling by pharmacists boosted adherence to statin and thyroid medications in new-to-therapy patients. The pharmacist-led counseling hiked one-year patient medication possession from 44% before the introduction of the program to 56% after its introduction. Meanwhile, medication possession in a control group of patients of similar pharmacies without the program showed no significant increase in medication possession, Walgreens found.

Specialized pharmacy services, too, can have a sizable impact on adherence, the research showed. For instance, at Walgreens HIV Centers of Excellence pharmacies, 62% of patients had adherence of 85% or more, compared with 57% of patients using community pharmacies.

"At Walgreens, our No. 1 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," Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions at Walgreens, said in a statement. "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."