DEERFIELD, Ill. — Medication adherence rates improve for patients with human immunodeficiency virus who are treated at HIV specialty pharmacies, according to research from Walgreens.
The drug chain conducted a study to determine if HIV patients who received treatment from Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies had higher adherence rates, measured by proportion of days covered (PDC). Using over 22,000 matched pairs, the research found that patients served by HIV-specialized pharmacies displayed a 6.2% higher adherence on average.
According to Walgreens, the number of patients who reached the required adherence level — a PDC of more than 0.9 — climbed by 20.8% versus patients using traditional pharmacies.
The nonadherence rate showed the same pattern, the study showed. HIV patients who used HIV-specialized pharmacies had a nonadherence rate of 11.3%, which Walgreens said was 35% lower than the control group.
“The results show that patients who receive ARV [antiretroviral] medication and services from HIV-specialized pharmacies have higher medication adherence rates,” a summary of the Walgreens study said. “The results suggest that pharmacists with HIV specific training and services are uniquely valuable for patients with disease conditions such as HIV that require highly specialized services.”
The research findings are being presented at the 2016 National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care and Treatment, which runs Aug. 23 to 26 in Washington, D.C.
Walgreens has more than 800 HIV-specialized pharmacies across the country, and over 2,000 specially trained pharmacists provide confidential, face-to-face medication therapy consultations and health and wellness guidance to help patients manage HIV, common comorbid conditions such as hepatitis C, and other conditions associated with aging.
In late June, Walgreens and the Greater Than AIDS initiative worked with health departments and local AIDS service organizations to offer free HIV testing and counseling on prevention strategies. Testing was provided at Walgreens drug stores in 150 cities.