PHARMACY

Walgreens to focus on importance of HIV testing, early treatment on World AIDS Day

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, Walgreens will encourage communities to focus on the importance of HIV testing and early treatment, both services addressed through its more than 700 HIV-specialized pharmacies coast to coast, the company announced Wednesday. 

“While many HIV patients visit their physicians only once or twice a year, they typically see their pharmacist at least every month,” stated Suzanne Hansen, Walgreens group VP pharmacy operations. “Our pharmacists are members of the healthcare community and are well-positioned to support HIV patients in addressing the variety of issues they may face, including help with side effects, emotional support and motivation to take their medications as prescribed. These interventions can positively influence HIV medication adherence, which can be key to improving overall health.”

Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies directly support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy by offering a range of personalized services that can improve health outcomes, increase access and help fill gaps in care, particularly in AIDS-endemic communities where stigma and other disparities may hamper diagnosis and complicate treatment.

The HIV-specialized pharmacies are equipped with systems, processes and safety checks that operate “behind the scenes” to provide discreet specialized care in a convenient walk-in setting. Each site is fully stocked with HIV medications and a wide range of related healthcare essentials. Walgreens HIV-specialized locations are staffed by pharmacists, technicians and other workers who have special HIV training. 

With discretion in mind, Walgreens does not use HIV/AIDS-related signs to call out specialized locations. Customers can visit HIV.Walgreens.com to find the nearest HIV-specialized location, as well as to review pharmacists’ HIV credentials and profiles.

A Walgreens study of more than 15,000 HIV patients showed that those who received care through an HIV-specialized pharmacy were significantly more adherent to their medication (74%) than those receiving care through a traditional, nonspecialized pharmacy (69%).

Patients who do not take their medication as prescribed run the risk of treatment failure — meaning the medication no longer works — which can have serious and even fatal health implications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that only 25% of Americans with HIV have the virus under control.

More than 2,000 Walgreens pharmacists across the country have completed special HIV/AIDS-accredited educational programs, including social and cultural training, along with annual continuing education. Thousands more nonpharmacist employees also receive special HIV sensitivity training.

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PHARMACY

FDA approves Perrigo, Cobrek scalp psoriasis treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

ALLEGAN, Mich. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug from Perrigo and Cobrek Pharmaceuticals for treating scalp conditions.

Perrigo said that Cobrek, with which it is partnering, had received approval for betamethasone validate foam in the 0.12% strength. The drug is a generic version of Luxiq foam, made by GlaxoSmithKline subsidiary Stiefel Labs, and is used to treat corticosteroid-responsive skin conditions of the scalp, also known as scalp psoriasis.

The branded version of the drug has annual sales of about $40 million, according to Perrigo.


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PHARMACY

Novo Nordisk app designed to help hemophilia patients, families

BY Alaric DeArment

PRINCETON, N.J. — Novo Nordisk has launched a mobile app for hemophilia patients, the drug maker said.

HemaGo — available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices — is designed to track hemophilia treatment, bleeding episodes and life events, helping people with the condition and their caregivers monitor the details of treatment, including medications, dosing, bleeding information and the disease’s effects on life events.

"For the first time, individuals can track virtually every aspect of living with a bleeding disorder, regardless of their medication or disorder," Novo Nordisk corporate VP for biopharmaceuticals Eddie Williams said. "Thanks to input from members of the hemophilia community, we’ve created a first-in-class offering that provides benefits to all hemophilia patients and healthcare professionals."

The app offers multiple profiles, allowing different family members to use it, tracking multiple medications, setting reminders for treatment or doctors’ appointments, recording factor usage and reason for infusion, pain scores and bleeding events. The app also syncs with Novo Nordisk’s Changing Possibilities in Hemophilia website, which provides access to comprehensive reporting features.


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