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Walgreens develops MTM for HIV patients in pilot with HHS

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced plans to work with the Department of Health and Human Services on the development of a medication therapy management program to help improve outcomes for HIV patients. The multiyear program will examine the impact of MTM intervention in the community pharmacy setting, with Walgreens anticipating to provide nearly $1 million in in-kind services.

“Investing in public-private initiatives is key in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This collaboration will offer insight into how pharmacists and other providers can help patients living with HIV/AIDS stay on their medication and in care, and ultimately improve health outcomes,” HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

In a number of markets across the country, Walgreens pharmacists at select HIV Centers of Excellence would work with a total of 1,000 patients as part of this pilot. These locations are staffed with specially trained pharmacists who work closely with patients to offer guidance and support with their medication therapy. Under the plan, the innovative public-private initiative would include an initial comprehensive medication review and quarterly MTM. Other COE services — including refill reminders, help with managing side effects and navigating insurance benefits — will also be provided on a monthly basis. Pilot data will be used to measure the benefits and costs associated with a pharmacy-based program. Patient participation is voluntary, and once select locations are identified, the program is expected to launch Jan. 1, 2013.

“Walgreens community pharmacists are a valued part of the healthcare team for thousands of HIV patients coast to coast, and this new program can help elevate the importance and effectiveness of the meaningful patient-pharmacist relationship,” stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “By developing these relationships and closely studying how they impact outcomes for HIV patients, this collaboration will put community pharmacy in a great position to be even more effective and relevant when it comes to retention in care for those with chronic conditions.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Walgreens fields more than 500 HIV COEs at its drug stores in communities highly impacted by the complex condition. These locations reach nearly 90% of the U.S. HIV population, Walgreens stated.

Last month, Walgreens announced its participation in a new two-year pilot program with the CDC to help connect more people with HIV to care by expanding the role of the pharmacist beyond immunizations and health tests to include HIV testing. The CDC plans to use pilot results from select pharmacies and in-store clinics in urban and rural areas identified as highly impacted by HIV to develop a model that pharmacists and nurse practitioners can use to implement HIV testing throughout the nation. In the first 60 days of testing, more than 100 tests were administered with four preliminary positives.

Walgreens, along with Greater Than AIDS, a coalition of public and private sector partners united in response to the domestic epidemic, teamed up this year with local health departments and AIDS organizations to allow them to provide free HIV testing at 47 Walgreens stores in 20 cities across the nation in support of National HIV Testing Day. From June 27 to 29, more than 1,500 HIV tests were administered with 25 preliminary positives.


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Walmart expands ReliOn brand, announces price reduction for items

BY Allison Cerra

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has launched an effort to help diabetes patients save on their disease management products.

Walmart’s said it is seeking to achieve its goal to help U.S. diabetes patients save up to $60 million annually by expanding its ReliOn brand, which now includes the ReliOn Prime meter (touting a suggested retail price of $16.24) and blood-sugar test strips (which will retail for $9 for 50-count strips). What’s more, Walmart said it will provide increased savings on a variety of ReliOn items to help patients ease the cost of diabetes management, including gloves, lancets, syringes and more.

"Many people with diabetes struggle to manage their disease due to its terrible financial burden," Walmart president of health and wellness John Agwunobi said. "We’ve worked closely with our suppliers and found a way to significantly reduce the cost of diabetes products for all of our customers, whether they have insurance or not, so they can better manage their disease."

Walmart noted that its charitable arm, the Walmart Foundation, has donated more than $2 million to diabetes-focused organizations across the United States over the last fiscal year, including the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Today Advisory Council, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Southeastern Diabetes Education Services.


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Harris Teeter raises more than $200,000 for USO, Wounded Warrior Project

BY Michael Johnsen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Harris Teeter on Monday announced the grocer raised more than $222,500 in May during its donation card campaign for USO and Wounded Warrior Project. The campaign encouraged customers to help make a difference to troops, their families and wounded warriors by making a $1, $3 or $5 donation to the Support Our Troops campaign.

“We’re grateful to the entire Harris Teeter family for their passion and dedication throughout the Support Our Troops campaign,” stated Jonathan Sullivan, development EVP for WWP. “By asking for donations at the register, Harris Teeter not only helped raise over $222,500 that will go directly to much needed programs for wounded service members and their families; they also helped raise awareness for the challenges these families face.” 

Using the money donated by Harris Teeter’s shoppers, USO will be able to provide 8,900 care packages to deployed military members and deliver 14,833 phone cards to deployed troops. The WWP will outfit 12 wounded soldiers with quipment, including a specially equipped bicycle, riding gear, bike jersey and T-shirt to participate in the Soldier Ride program for a week and provide a computer to explore information technology as a potential career field to 79 injured service men and women enrolled in the Transition Training Academy.

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