Grocery store chain joins growing list of major companies offering enhanced specialty pharmacy.
Following the path previously tread by major chain grocery stores like Giant Eagle, Inc
, and Hy-Vee, Inc
, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc, recently announced it will enter the expanding specialty marketplace.
On August 14, 2014, Wegmans said in a press release
it will begin an enhanced specialty pharmacy service treating conditions in rheumatology, gastroenterology, neurology, and dermatology. With annual spending on specialty drugs projected to rise from $92 billion in 2012 to $235 billion by 2018
, Wegmans joins a growing list of companies competing for specialty consumers.
“Specialty medications are a demanding, but growing area of pharmacy,” said Jack Coultry, manager of managed care for Wegmans, in the press release. “Health outcomes can be improved through close contact with the prescribing physician and additional counseling by the pharmacist. Adding this enhanced care model for those customers who need it is a natural next step for us.”
With specialty pharmacy medications to treat chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, and multiple sclerosis, Wegmans has named its first specialty pharmacist, James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, who joined the company in 2009.
“I’ll talk regularly with these customers by phone,” DiNicolantonio said in the release. “We’ll discuss any problems they’re having, like self-injecting or dealing with side effects. When necessary, I’ll consult with their physician. I’ll also talk to customers about programs that may lower out-of-pocket costs. We’re well equipped to deal with all of these concerns.”
DiNicolantonio added that Wegmans is perfectly situated to council its customers on the usage and potential complications from specialty medications.
“We have a history of all prescription medications that a customer has filled with us,” he said. “That puts our pharmacists in an excellent position to alert the customer to any red flags, such as potential drug interactions.”
Wegmans is currently covering 15 brand-name medications as part of its specialty service: Avonex, Enbrel, Humira, Stelara, Cimzia, Rebif, Betaseron, Extavia, Kineret, Xeljanz, Forteo, Copaxone, Gilenya, Simponi, and Orencia. The company also announced it will offer free home shipping for all prescription refills.
“From the viewpoint of customer service and patient care, we want to be the gold standard,” Coultry said. “We want all of our customers, including those who are taking a specialty medication, to maximize whatever potential their medication may hold to improve their health and wellbeing.”