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Walgreens study highlights how pharmacist interventions can lower healthcare costs


DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens last week shared study results suggesting that pharmacist interventions for patients starting new medications improve adherence by more than 3%, representing an aggregated cost savings of $164 per patient over six months. The findings of “Improving Medication Adherence and Healthcare Outcomes in a Commercial Population Through a Retail Pharmacy Chain” were presented at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Conference. 


“This data demonstrates that reaching patients when they start new medications through multiple pharmacy-led channels, including one-on-one consultations, can play an important role in driving better health outcomes,” Harry Leider, Walgreens’ chief medical officer, said. “These interventions, along with ongoing support from pharmacy staff, translate into patients being less likely to end up in high-cost settings like the hospital or emergency room.”


According to Walgreens, this study is one of the first to quantify the total savings this type of approach to medication management.


The study, conducted as a collaboration between Walgreens Health Services and Outcomes Research and IMS Health, evaluated patients starting new medications across 16 drug classes, and analyzed the difference in outcomes between patients who received pharmacy interventions at Walgreens, and a control group of matched non-Walgreens control patients over a six-month period. The interventions included pharmacist consultations, both face-to-face and over the phone, and reminders for prescription refills and pick-up via automated calls, text messages and e-mail.


Othr highlights from the study included a nearly 2% lower hospital admissions and nearly 3% lower emergency room visits, equating to $38 lower emergency room costs per patient, in patients who received a pharmacist intervention. 

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