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Pharmasave clinical trial targets diabetes

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Pharmacist-led pilot aims to cut type 2 patients' Rx use

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — In line with efforts in Canada to expand pharmacists’ health care role, a number of Pharmasave stores in British Columbia are piloting a clinical program to help diabetes patients better manage their condition.

The Canadian pharmacy cooperative said late Thursday that 13 Pharmasave locations in the province are participating in a pharmacist-led clinical trial in which type 2 diabetes patients use a therapeutic nutrition program to help reduce their need for glucose-lowering medications.

The evidence-based clinical research study is being done in partnership with University of British Columbia Okanagan. Specifically, Pharmasave pharmacists will test whether a low-carbohydrate therapeutic nutrition intervention can help patients with type 2 diabetes get their blood sugar levels under control, cut back on their medications and lower their overall risk of cardiovascular disease.

“As medications experts, pharmacists are extremely knowledgeable about the pathophysiology of diabetes and the many medications used to manage this condition. Pharmacists are uniquely positioned in the health care system to integrate nutrition into the care plan for their patients,” Greg Shepherd, chief executive officer of Pharmasave Pacific Ltd., said in a statement. “We think this approach has enormous potential for changing diabetes management not just in B.C., but beyond.

Greg Shepherd_Pharmasave Pacific

Greg Shepherd

“We know the significant impact type 2 diabetes has on the lives of our patients,” Shepherd added, “and we are proud to be part of research that could result in such a life-changing outcome.”

Study participants will attend weekly follow-up meetings with a Pharmasave coach over the 12-week trial, during which time various study-specific measures will be recorded. Pharmasave pharmacists will be actively engaged in each step of the study and collaboration with patients and their doctors to ensure that appropriate medication adjustments are made, the company noted.

The research project is expected to help develop of new approaches in type 2 diabetes and chronic disease management. An estimated 3 million-plus Canadians have type 2 diabetes, and worldwide one in 11 adults has diabetes. People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes typically take multiple medications to help lower their blood sugar and often struggle to manage their overall health.

“Positioning community pharmacists to lead a therapeutic nutrition intervention is an innovative idea with great potential to make a positive impact on the health of individuals living with type 2 diabetes,” according to Dr. Jonathan Little, a UBC Okanagan Researcher. “The concept of pharmacists leading nutrition intervention, in the community, to get people off their diabetes medications is extremely novel and forward-thinking. We are excited to be working with Pharmasave on this clinical trial.”

The 13 Pharmasave stores involved in the pilot are in Caulfield, West Vancouver; Grandview Corners, Surrey; Richmond; Langley; Tofino; Comox; Parksville; Broadmead, Victoria; James Bay, Victoria; Grand Forks; Glenmore, Kelowna; Lakeshore, Kelowna; and Osoyoos, B.C.

One of Canada’s largest chain drug retailers, Pharmasave Drugs National Ltd. has a network of more than 600 member-owned pharmacies across nine provinces.


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