The 84-store supermarket chain Wegmans Food Markets is launching a Specialty Pharmacy Service this month, which will offer medications for rheumatologic, gastroenterologic, neurologic, and dermatologic conditions. Wegmans is now joining the growing list of companies offering pharmacy services.
In particular, Wegman’s new Specialty Pharmacy Service will cater to those suffering from chronic conditions like Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, as specialized medications are crucial for IBD patients. However, these medications are not always available in all pharmacies, and they often involve a complex treatment course and care coordination by the pharmacist, given a medication’s side effects, difficulties, of management — not to mention high costs.
“Specialty medications are a demanding, but growing area of pharmacy,” explained Pharmacist Jack Coultry, Wegmans manager of managed care. “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.”
Avonex, Enbrel, Humira, Stelara, Cimzia, Rebif, Betaseron, Extavia, Kineret, Xeljanz, Forteo, Copaxone, Gilenya, Simponi, and Orencia are the medications currently covered under Wegmans Specialty Pharmacy Service. The company also expects to improve adherence and health outcomes being closer to patients.
“From the viewpoint of customer service and patient care, we want to be the gold standard,” stated Coultry. “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 well being.”
The Pharma.D. James DiNicolantonio, who has worked at the Niagara Falls Blvd. Wegmans store since 2009, was the chosen to be the company’s first specialty pharmacist, and he believes that in addition to convenience, personalized service will enhance the patient’s care at Wegmans. “We have a history of all prescription medications that a customer has filled with us. That puts our pharmacists in an excellent position to alert the customer to any red flags such as potential drug interactions.”
“I’ll talk regularly with these customers by phone,” said DiNicolantonio, who is currently receiving advanced training to meet the needs of the patient group. “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.”
The national pharmacy chain CVS Caremark also recently received full NCQA Patient and Practitioner Oriented Disease Management (DM) accreditation by the Accordant Health Services division to start support programs designed to provide patients and practitioners living with diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis with support, education, and other help necessary to facilitate positive outcomes and quality care.