Retail News Breaks Archives
More Walgreens pharmacies become HIV Centers of Excellence
November 10th, 2011
DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. has certified more than 500 of its pharmacies as HIV Centers of Excellence in communities that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified as highly impacted by HIV.
Walgreens, which announced the certification update Thursday at the U.S. Conference on AIDS in Chicago, said the HIV Center of Excellence (COE) pharmacies are staffed with specially trained pharmacists who work closely with patients to offer guidance and support with their medication therapy, provide refill reminders and help identify financial support programs.
In addition, those pharmacists perform community outreach to drive more awareness about services offered through the COEs, and those locations are fully stocked with HIV medications often not found at retail pharmacies, according to Walgreens.
"Since the beginning of the epidemic more than 30 years ago, Walgreens has supported people living with HIV/AIDS through its ability to offer accessible health and wellness guidance to patients across the nation," Jack Cantlin, divisional vice president of retail clinical services at Walgreens, said in a statement. "Our pharmacists are listening to concerns, developing important relationships and putting community pharmacy in a great position to be even more effective and relevant to those with chronic conditions, wherever they live. These Centers of Excellence offer a new level of support that can ultimately help drive improved outcomes."
COE-certified Walgreens pharmacy staff must take clinical training through the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which the drug chain said is known for its HIV/AIDS pharmaceutical care education program. The program includes cultural and social training related to HIV/AIDS issues and challenges, as well as annual renewal to keep skills and knowledge current.
Also on Thursday, Walgreens announced an expanded partnership with Greater Than AIDS, a national campaign developed by the Kaiser Family Foundation with the Black AIDS Institute in response to HIV/AIDS in the United States. In June, as part of the partnership, Walgreens drug stores in major markets offered free testing leading up to National HIV Testing Day. Testing was done in coordination with the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), the CDC, state and local health departments, and AIDS service organizations in such markets as Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Miami; New Orleans; Oakland, Calif.; and San Francisco.
Walgreens said that with the success of this testing pilot, it's now working with Greater Than AIDS to identify future testing and outreach opportunities. The chain said it also partners with Greater Than AIDS on targeted informational materials on HIV/AIDS for Walgreens customers and in-store signage in heavily affected areas.
The chain drug retailer added that it's also working with AIDS United and national AIDS service organizations to help advance the organization's mission to end HIV/AIDS in the United States and Puerto Rico. The company has joined AIDS United's Access to Care initiative to help link thousands of individuals living with HIV/AIDS in low-income and/or rural areas with high-quality care.
"With HIV Centers of Excellence from coast to coast, we are uniquely positioned to work closely with grassroots organizations and communities to help provide access, education and support to those living with and affected by AIDS," stated Glen Pietrandoni, senior manager of HIV at Walgreens and an AIDS United board member.