Walgreens HIV pharmacies increase med adherence rates

November 15, 2013

Medication adherence rates for HIV patients with associated comorbidities such as mental illness was higher for patients using Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies than for patients using the chain’s other retail pharmacies, according to two recently released studies.

Medication adherence rates for HIV patients with associated comorbidities such as mental illness was higher for patients using Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies than for patients using the chain’s other retail pharmacies, according to two recently released studies.

The studies examined HIV and comorbid medication adherence at HIV-specialized pharmacies. The findings from the two cohort studies was presented at the Cell-Lancet conference “What Will it Take to Achieve an AIDS-free World?” in San Francisco.

Researchers found that HIV patients who used Walgreens’ specialized pharmacies were more adherent to their anti-retroviral and comorbid therapies. Additionally, the mean proportion of days covered for patients using Walgreens’ HIV-specialized pharmacies was significantly higher than for patients using the chain’s other pharmacies. Walgreens has about 2,000 HIV-trained pharmacists at more than 700 locations.

“Medication adherence is vital to maintaining optimal health for patients with the HIV virus. Poor medication adherence can lead to treatment failure, resistance to therapy, and increased mortality and is one of the greatest and most costly barriers in treating illness today,” said Janeen DuChane, PhD, Walgreens’ senior director of clinical outcomes and analytics. “By developing specialized patient support programs, we can improve adherence for HIV patients, better serve HIV populations, and reduce medical costs.”

Specifically, for patients taking angiotensin converting enzyme or angiotensin receptor blocker, those using a Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacy had a mean proportion of days covered of 82.6% compared with 79.6% in patients using other Walgreens pharmacies. For patients taking statins, those Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacy users had a mean proportion of days covered of 83.7% versus 81.3% for those using other Walgreens pharmacies.

A separate study examining medication adherence rates among HIV patients with mental illnesses also found higher compliance with patients using the specialized pharmacies. In that case, 32.7% of patients with mental illnesses were adherent to their anti-retroviral therapy when using the specialized pharmacies, versus 19.4% of those services at the other pharmacies.