WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — If there are 366 million diabetics worldwide, that means that the U.S. piece of that sugar-free pie is 7.1%. And if the U.S. diabetes population grows by more than 50.8% over the next two decades, as the International Diabetes Foundation attests, that'll mean there will be 38.6 million diabetics in this country by 2030. That's a lot of diabetes education that needs to happen between now and then, and what better place to have that happen than at the neighborhood drug store?
(THE NEWS: IDF: 1-in-10 adults will have diabetes by 2030. For the full story, click here.)
Looping pharmacists into the diabetes disease management equation only makes sense — that diabetes patient is already visiting his or her local drug store for supplies and prescription medicines. According to a recent survey from the National Community Pharmacy Association, 81% of pharmacies reported that their average Medicare diabetes patient visits his or her independent community pharmacy two or more times per month for counseling and/or diabetes testing supplies. And the overwhelming majority (81%) of independent community pharmacies regularly deliver diabetes testing supplies to patients with 28% making 30 or more deliveries per month.
The growing diabetes epidemic means more opportunities for pharmacies to help patients live healthier lives by way of education, medication-therapy management and wellness programs. And these are opportunities many retail pharmacy operations are already seizing. Just in the past two weeks, Rite Aid was noted for its participation in community-based programs to combat Type 2 diabetes in the Washington, D.C. area along with UnitedHealth Group and the YMCA; CVS Caremark expanded its Pharmacy Advisor program to incorporate cardiovascular care in part because the success of the program in helping to manage diabetes lives; Rite Aid announced that a new diabetic-targeted, health-and-wellness-linked loyalty card Wellness+ to help people with diabetes manage their condition; and Meijer launched a chainwide effort to position its pharmacy staff as diabetes specialists.