Walgreens HIV-Specialized Pharmacies Help Fill Gaps in Care Highlighted on World AIDS Day

  Walgreens HIV-Specialized Pharmacies Help Fill Gaps in Care Highlighted on
  World AIDS Day

Business Wire

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- November 28, 2012

On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) encourages
communities to focus on the importance of HIV testing and early treatment, key
priorities and services addressed through its more than 700 HIV-specialized
pharmacies coast to coast. 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 health care 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.

“While many HIV patients visit their physicians only once or twice a year,
they typically see their pharmacist at least every month,” said Suzanne
Hansen, Walgreens group vice president of pharmacy operations. “Our
pharmacists are members of the health care 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.”

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 percent) than those receiving care through a
traditional, non-specialized pharmacy (69 percent).^1

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 estimates only 25 percent of Americans with HIV have the virus
under control.^2

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
non-pharmacist employees also receive special HIV sensitivity training.
Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies offer a variety of services and support,
including:

  *Confidential pharmacist consultations at the pharmacy or by phone
  *Pharmacist review of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to
    identify possible drug interactions
  *Synchronization of refills so patients can get all of their medications at
    the same time
  *Phone call refill reminders
  *Nutritional and health support, including reminders to get flu shots and
    immunizations
  *Insurance advocates who help coordinate benefits and can help seek
    financial support programs to reduce or eliminate copays
  *HIV and hepatitis C testing advice and at-home testing kits
  *Education for HIV-negative customers regarding the importance of HIV
    prevention and testing
  *Hotline access for answers to HIV-related questions: (800) 573-3602, open
    8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST daily
  *Pharmacy staff available 24/7 through Walgreens.com/pharmacy

Walgreens has long supported communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Its
HIV-specialized pharmacies continue to coordinate with local health
departments or AIDS service organizations to allow them to provide free HIV
testing events, participate in community events and work at a grassroots level
with local health care providers, government leaders and religious
organizations to continually assess and meet the needs of individuals in
select communities throughout the U.S.

In recognition of its community support and service, Walgreens was recently
awarded:

  *AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Advocacy Organization Corporate
    Partner of the Year
  *Delaware HIV Consortium Red Ribbon Corporate Award
  *AID for AIDS International Corporate Honoree

About Walgreens

As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion,
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for
health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million
customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and
services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services
and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services
includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along
with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower
costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health
systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates
8,030 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and
most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and
in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the
country.

1. Murphy P, Cocohoba J, Tang M, et al. Impact of HIV-specialized pharmacies
on adherence and persistence with antiretroviral therapy. AIDS PatientCare and
STDs, Volume 26, Number 9, 2012.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2012). African Americans
and younger people least likely to be successfully treated for HIV [Press
release]. Retrieved from
http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2012/Continuum-of-Care-PressRelease.html

Contact:

PCI
Lauren Brush, (312) 558-1770
lbrush@pcipr.com
http://news.walgreens.com
 
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