Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy Shows Cost Savings Through Alternate Treatment Sites


New data unveiled at the 17th Annual Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute Conference shows patients, health plans and employer groups can save as much as 60 percent through site-of-care optimization.

New data unveiled at the 17th Annual Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute Conference shows patients, health plans and employer groups can save as much as 60 percent through site-of-care optimization.

Both patients and their health plans can recognize savings of up to 60 percent on the cost of infused specialty medications by choosing alternate treatment sites, Walgreens data unveiled today shows. The cost savings are the key finding from new data being presented by Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy at the 2012 Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute Annual Drug Benefit Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

An analysis of Walgreens internal data shows the opportunity for significant cost savings when health plans and patients shift infusion services from high-cost sites-of-care, such as outpatient hospital settings, to lower-cost sites, such as Walgreens Specialty Care Centers™ or other alternate treatment locations. The Walgreens analysis focused on sites-of-care for infused specialty medications, which can cost between $500 and $20,000 per treatment. The top 10 specialty medications being infused at outpatient hospitals included eight chemotherapy and two non-chemotherapy agents. The study found that outpatient hospital drug costs were, on average, 86 percent higher than costs at alternate sites and that the two non-chemotherapy infusions alone were able to deliver $6.3 million in savings per 1 million commercial health plan beneficiaries per year.

"Considering the heightened focus on healthcare cost reductions, the most notable finding is that there are significant opportunities to reduce costs simply by having patients receive their health services at an alternate location,” said Michael Einodshofer, director of utilization management, Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy. “Our analysis shows that if all infusions moved from the outpatient hospital setting to an alternate treatment site, plans may be able to save $26 million for every 1 million commercial beneficiaries per year. The potential benefits go beyond saving money, as lower-cost alternate treatment sites can help improve medication compliance and provide more convenient patient access to treatment, without compromising quality or safety."

Access to Alternate Treatment Sites

Two of the biggest hurdles to using alternate treatment sites are lack of awareness of available options and limited awareness of the benefits. In many cases, an alternate treatment site could be a patient’s home or place of employment. Walgreens is the largest home infusion provider, offering access to patient care in their homes, workplace health centers, and Walgreens Specialty Care Centers™ across the country. These alternate treatment sites provide convenient, cost-effective access to patients who require monitored infusible and injectable medications.

“We recognize that many physicians are looking for alternate sites for their patients’ infusions, and that health plans and patients are looking for new high quality and cost-effective options,” Einodshofer said. “The major benefits of the Walgreens site-of-care optimization management plan are that patients continue to receive their necessary medications uninterrupted; health care providers continue to prescribe specialty medications without any new administrative burden; and payer costs have been shown to drop significantly. It benefits everyone involved.”

In addition to presenting at the conference, Walgreens is proud to sponsor the PBMI 2012 Specialty Drug Benefit Report, which identifies cost control as a consistently high-ranked concern and goal among survey respondents. The report conveys key specialty pharmacy trends, management and cost-control strategies, concerns and barriers to care. A full electronic version of the report is available at www.pbmi.com.

SOURCE: Walgreens Press Release http://news.walgreens.com

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