Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy is adding six medications to its oral oncology cycle management program.

Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, oral oncology medications, oral oncology cycle management program, Michael Nameth, Afinitor, Votrient, kidney cancer, Sprycel, Tasigna, leukemia, Targretin, Zolinza, lymphoma, oral oncology regimens

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Walgreens Specialty Rx adds oncology drugs to clinical program

May 3rd, 2012

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy is adding six medications to its oral oncology cycle management program.

Walgreen Co. said Thursday said the move marks a significant expansion of its comprehensive treatment and support program for patients, doctors and payers.

The additional oral oncology medications now available to patients being treated for cancer through Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy's cycle management program are Afinitor and Votrient (for kidney cancer), Sprycel and Tasigna (leukemia), and Targretin and Zolinza (lymphoma).

Previously, the program included three primary cancer drugs: Nexavar (for kidney and liver cancer), Sutent (gastrointestinal stromal tumor and kidney cancer) and Tarceva (non-small cell lung and pancreatic cancer).

"Taking oral oncology medications as prescribed can be difficult for many patients, and this program has proven to be successful in improving patient outcomes while also lowering costs for patients and payers," Michael Nameth, executive vice president of Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy, said in a statement. "Expanding our cycle management program allows us to provide enhanced care and support to more patients as they cope with challenging oral oncology regimens."

Launched in 2008, the program features extensive, regular monitoring of patients plus a "split-fill" dispensing system in which only half of the first month's supply of medication is filled initially, according to Walgreens. That enables Walgreens clinicians to follow up with patients to monitor response to treatment and potential reactions or side effects, helping to avoid medication waste and costs associated with early therapy discontinuation.

Walgreens noted that oral oncology drugs often cost patients and their insurers thousands of dollars monthly. An analysis by the company found that the cycle management program saved over $3 million combined during the first three months of therapy among 1,740 patients through significant reductions in medication waste and improved adherence to medications.