DEERFIELD, Ill. An intensive cancer patient management program by Walgreens’ specialty pharmacy professionals could save health plan payers $2,000 to $4,000 per patient each month, the company announced.
Basing its results on a two-year internal analysis of its oral oncology cycle management program, or CMP, Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy reported Monday that the program showed potential savings of more than $3 million over an initial three-month trial period for a relatively large patient group. The savings came through “significant reductions in medication waste and greater medication persistence,” according to Walgreens.
That means that increased clinical management of cancer patients could bring big cost savings to payers, said Michael Nameth, Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy EVP. Savings can be particularly acute for cancer patients, he noted, since oral oncology agents can cost thousands of dollars a month for patients and payers.
“Adherence to an oral oncology program can be challenging for any individual,” Nameth said. “Our team of healthcare providers can help patients manage their treatment program to try to achieve the best outcome at the lowest cost for them, their families and any involved payers.”
Behind that assertion: the intensively monitored application of CMP by Walgreens specialty pharmacists and oncology nurses to a group of 1,740 patients between June 1, 2008, and June 30, 2010. The CMP program is designed to provide clinical management and support to patients while mitigating costs associated with oral oncology agents, Walgreens said.
“Both indirect and direct CMP savings were achieved through increased clinical management … as well as a monitored dispensing program,” the company reported.
Such programs are needed, Walgreens added, because “Oral oncology medications can go to waste because patients may struggle to complete a full month of drug therapy due to side effects or disease progression.”
The answer, according to the company, is a cycle-management approach to medication therapy for cancer patients. “With monitored dispensing, medication is dispensed to patients in a partial month’s supply to ensure a mid-cycle assessment by a clinician,” Walgreens noted. “The mid-cycle assessment offers an opportunity for the gathering and relaying of actionable information to a patient’s physician, which can lead to medication therapy regime changes or discontinuation of therapy without medication waste.”