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Walgreens CEO makes pharmacy’s case


CHICAGO The long struggle for recognition and reward for community pharmacy got another major boost Thursday.

Walgreens president and CEO provided the boost, courtesy of an interview and online story appearing in today’s Chicago Tribune. The headline said it all: “Pharmacists want to be paid more to better manage patients’ care.”

According to the Tribune story, Wasson “would like to have his army of ‘coaches’ taking on a greater role for Pres. Barack Obama should the White House and Congress come together to expand health-insurance coverage to the nation’s uninsured.”

Walgreens’ CEO told the newspaper the company’s 25,000 pharmacists could apply their skills in medication therapy management to the nation’s growing health care crisis, saving billions of dollars in health costs through patient interventions and preventive care.

“Fifty percent of patients are non-compliant with their medications after the first four or five months,” Wasson told the Tribune. “That costs the healthcare system.”

The executive made a strong case for raising pharmacists’ dispensing fees and for turning MTM and other pharmacy care programs into standardized, fee-paid services.

And, in a clear sign that some media outlets are beginning to “get it” when it comes to awareness of pharmacy’s value beyond prescription dispensing, the newspaper cited one solid example of that value: a pharmacy care pilot program, launched in 2007 by the Midwest Business Group on Health and Chicago-area pharmacists. That program, noted the Tribune, “helped four Chicago employers lower costs for workers with diabetes by more than $1,400 per employee in one year.”

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