Walgreen Co. is expanding access to its Walgreens Connected Care hepatitis C program through its more than 100 hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies.

Walgreens, hepatitis C, Walgreens Connected Care hepatitis C program, hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies, Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, Walgreens pharmacy, hepatitis C therapy, HCV treatment

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Walgreens facilitates access to pharmacist-led hepatitis C care

February 18th, 2014

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. is expanding access to its Walgreens Connected Care hepatitis C program through its more than 100 hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies.

The drug chain said Monday that Walgreens Connected Care is an education and support plan aimed at helping patients achieve a sustained virologic response (SVR) and improved quality of life via medication adherence.

Patients in the program receive such support services as 24-hour access to specially trained pharmacists, help in verifying insurance and identifying financial assistance options, convenient access to or delivery of medication, and pharmacist-led regimen checkpoints to track response to therapy and promote medication adherence.

Walgreens noted that its 100-plus hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies have new hepatitis C virus (HCV) medications available and pharmacists specially trained on next-generation oral therapies. These pharmacists are also qualified to identify HCV-associated health concerns and can provide hepatitis C care for patients with a HIV co-infection or other comorbid conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

In addition, the hepatitis C-trained pharmacists work with patients to determine the best method of delivery. HCV medications can be picked up at a Walgreens hepatitis C specialized pharmacy or at a designated local Walgreens pharmacy. Delivery is also available through hepatitis C specialized pharmacies or Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy locations.

"While recent hepatitis C therapy advances can be more effective and present fewer side effects, some patients, with a high instance of comorbidity, can experience difficulty in managing care and an increased cost of therapy," Glen Pietrandoni, director specialty products and services for virology at Walgreens, said in a statement. "Walgreens' Connected Care hepatitis C program, delivered through our hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies, is designed to meet the holistic needs of people diagnosed with hepatitis C — before, during and after HCV treatment. This can help patients achieve SVR and an improved quality of life through medication adherence, while continuing to manage other health outcomes."

According to Walgreens, the specialized support has contributed to 90% adherence for patients who completed past treatments.

What's more, the company said, the expanded access to the hepatitis C specialized services comes at a pivotal time, since the once potentially life-threatening condition affecting more than 3.2 million Americans is now increasingly curable because of recent advances in therapy. Also, a rising number of Americans with hepatitis C infection are expected to have access to health insurance based on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

"As the most common blood-transmitted infection in the U.S., largely affecting an aging population with a high instance of other health concerns," Pietrandoni added, "careful, holistic patient pharmaceutical care and supported comprehensive therapy treatment plans are critical to maintain total medication adherence."