Major Drug Store Chains Support HIV PrEP program

December 27, 2019

Walgreens, CVS Health, and Rite Aid are supporting the recently-launched “Ready, Set, PrEP” program.

Walgreens, CVS Health, and Rite Aid are supporting the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) recently-launched “Ready, Set, PrEP” program.1

The national program makes medications for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), taken daily to prevent HIV, available at no cost to individuals without prescription drug insurance coverage. “Although more than 1 million people at risk for HIV in the United States could benefit from PrEP medications, only a small fraction get them,” HHS said in a statement.1

Starting no later than March 30, 2020, qualified patients can obtain the PrEP medications at the more than 21,000 combined CVS Health, Walgreens, and Rite Aid locations or through mail order at no cost to them.1

Related: State Laws May Determine Access to Pharmacy-based PrEP Clinics

The 3 chains will also provide patient counseling and take steps to promote patient adherence to the regimen, HHS said.1

“Walgreens will donate their distribution system and co-sponsor an informational campaign focused on supporting HHS’ pre-exposure prophylaxis medication program. As part of these efforts, we are working with HHS to provide information and increase awareness of the PrEP donation program,” Glen Pietrandoni, senior director of patient care and advocacy for Walgreens, told Drug Topics®.

More than 3000 trained HIV-specialist pharmacy staff are available at over 1000 Walgreens stores, Pietrandoni added. “These pharmacists offer non-judgmental, confidential, 1-on-1 medication counseling to support people impacted by HIV, treatment adherence, and other care needs such as identifying co-pay assistance options.”

Adherence to treatment is particularly important to ensure the effectiveness of HIV medications, Pietrandoni explained. “Our pharmacy staff support adherence by reaching out to patients proactively should they fall behind their refill schedule.” 

Trending: California Bill Allows Pharmacists to Initiate HIV Medication Without Prescription

Ready, Set, PrEP is a key component of the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) initiative, which aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the United States by 75% in 5 years and by 90% in 10 years.2

“By increasing awareness of PrEP and its access, the Ready, Set, PrEP program can provide thousands of people a safe, effective way to prevent HIV and bring our nation one step closer to ending the HIV epidemic,” HHS said.1

 

References:

1. Ready, Set, PrEP Expands Access to Medication to Prevent HIV [news release]. Department of Health and Human Services’ website. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2019/12/03/ready-set-prep-expands-access-to-medication-to-prevent-hiv.html.
2. What is ‘Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America’? Department of Health and Human Services’ website. https://www.hiv.gov/federal-response/ending-the-hiv-epidemic/overview