Diabetics get their own pharmacy in Carlsbad, California

January 1, 2009

A new referral-only pharmacy serves diabetic patients exclusively in Carlsbad, California.

Key Points

Thousands of Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year. Michael Bosse, PharmD, CEO and founder of a new pharmacy called A1c Rx, wanted to help diabetics take control of their conditions. So he started one of the first pharmacies to serve an exclusively diabetic clientele.

"This has been brewing for about two years," Bosse said. "One of the things we saw with the diabetic population is a frequently complicated pill regimen, injection schedule, testing schedules, and things like that."

Bosse and other pharmacists decided to create a model for this difficult-to-treat population. "Diabetes educators and doctors can offer great tips and education. But the typical outpatient pharmacy doesn't have time for an extended visit with a pharmacist," he said.

At the clinical site, patients bring in all their medications, supplements, herbal products, etc., Bosse said. The pharmacist performs medication reviews, evaluating everything the customers are using. A1c Rx then supplies patients with all of their prescription medications. The pharmacy delivers all medications and testing supplies to each patient's home.

Bosse said he hasn't heard of another pharmacy using the same model for patients, although he's fairly certain other versions of the concept exist. But the pharmacy is the only one in San Diego offering pharmacy services to diabetics only.

Several doctors and specialists in the area have already begun referring diabetic patients to the new pharmacy. Chris K. Guerin, MD, of Tri-City Endocrinology and Metabolism, said he first heard about the pharmacy when it was in the planning stages.

"I think there is a need for this type of model," Guerin said. "Diabetes management is becoming more complicated and is constantly changing. This is due to technology and improved and varied pharmacological tools. I think this concept has a lot of benefits for patients."

Janice Baker, RD, CDE, said she refers patients to the pharmacy because of the level of education it provides. She added that it's also important that doctors, specialists, and pharmacists work together to help patients with illnesses such as diabetes fully understand the condition. "Diabetes is a complicated disease, and specialists are very important, to make sure that this expensive and devastating disease is well controlled," she said.

"We have a great opportunity to interact with these patients, to help them [manage] their disease," Bosse said. "We can help them understand why they're taking these medications, what those medications do, and how to take them correctly."