DEERFIELD, Ill. — With new advances in treatment therapy now available for hepatitis C patients, Walgreens on Monday announced it is expanding access to Walgreens Connected Care hepatitis C program through its more than 100 hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies. Walgreens Connected Care is an education and support plan designed to help patients achieve a sustained virologic response and improved quality of life through medication adherence.
The expansion comes at a critical time, Walgreens noted, as the once potentially life-threatening condition affecting more than 3.2 million Americans is now increasingly curable due to recent advances in therapy. Also, a growing number of Americans with hepatitis C infection are expected to have access to health insurance based on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Walgreens now offers more than 100 hepatitis C-specialized pharmacies with new hepatitis C virus medications available and pharmacists specially trained on next generation oral therapies. Walgreens hepatitis C specially-trained pharmacists are also qualified to identify HCV-associated health concerns and can provide hepatitis C patient care for those with a HIV co-infection or other comorbid conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. The specialized support has been proven to benefit patients, contributing to 90% adherence for patients who completed past treatments.
“While recent hepatitis C therapy advances can be more effective and present fewer side effects, some patients, with high instance of comorbidity, can experience difficulty in managing care and an increased cost of therapy,” stated Glen Pietrandoni, Walgreens director specialty products and services, virology. “Walgreens Connected Caresm 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.”
Patients in Walgreens Connected Caresm hepatitis C program receive support services including 24-hour access to specially trained pharmacists, help verifying insurance and identifying financial assistance options, convenient access to or delivery of medication and pharmacist-led regimen check points to monitor response to therapy and encourage medication adherence.
Walgreens hepatitis C specially 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 a designated local Walgreens pharmacy. Delivery is also available through hepatitis C specialized pharmacies or Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy locations.
“As the most common blood transmitted infection in the U.S. largely affecting an aging population with high instance of other health concerns, careful holistic patient pharmaceutical care and supported comprehensive therapy treatment plans are critical to maintain total medication adherence,” Pietrandoni said.