Walgreens’ clinical trial business seeks to engage more diverse communities

Photo: Walgreens / Getty Images

Pharmacy-based retail giant Walgreens has announced the launch of a clinical trial business to increase access and retention in sponsor-led drug development research by engaging wider and more diverse communities.

The company will use its collection of pharmaceutical and patient-authorized clinical data to compare different patient populations with different clinical trials based on race, gender, socioeconomic status and location.

Walgreens plans to use a combination of personal and virtual care options, as well as its technical resources, to inform the design of clinical trials and optimize trial performance.

“Our commitment to the clinical trial business is another way we are building our next engine for the growth of consumer-oriented health solutions,” said Ramita Tandon, Walgreens’ Chief Clinical Trials Officer. “We can now provide another offer of care for patients with complex or chronic conditions during their treatment, while helping to improve the treatment options for the different communities we serve.”

She said the company’s goal is to take participants in the trial, even after they have completed their clinical trial obligations, and to continue coordinating their care as part of Walgreens’ commitment to resolving the last mile.

“When the test is over, it’s not over for Walgreens,” she said.

The company uses its own portfolio and partner digital and physical assets, including selected Health Corner and Village Medical at Walgreens locations, to engage patients directly at home, virtually or in person.

Walgreens is planning partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to build clinical trial experience that maintains patient convenience and more representative data collection from studies.

Synergies with AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy, as well as investments made by Walgreens Boots Alliance in CareCentrix and Shields Health Solutions, will also support new approaches to clinical trials, especially for special indications.

With the launch of Walgreens’ clinical trial business, the company’s goal is to increase the percentage of the U.S. population participating in research that is now below 5%.

“If we can use our scale and the more trust and care we have with patients for more than a century to educate and empower patients, we can make a significant difference by streamlining clinical trial infrastructure and costs and improving health outcomes,” he said. Tandon.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT

While technology continues to drive clinical trials, research in the United States still lacks an accurate picture of the country.

The lack of diversity in clinical trials has influenced drug development, with one reason for the lack of participation being logistical: 50 miles is the average distance a patient lives from the nearest clinical trial site.

More than half of those who participate in one research do not participate in another.

Meanwhile, the overall recruitment and enrollment of patients is a double challenge to successful clinical trials. These problems have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly 80% of attempts fail to meet their targets for enrollment within the specified timeframes, which often contributes to costly delays, according to a 2020 study.

THE BIGGER TREND

Some health experts have noted that COVID-19 has boosted public interest in vaccines and therapeutic research, and say it is time to build on that commitment, find new ways to involve volunteers in other clinical trials and improve the experience. of patients.

Walgreens is also partnering with Pluto Health’s Smart Care Coordination Service, which quickly integrates blocked health information from sources including medical records, social determinants of health and insurance claims, and can help determine if clinical trials are a care option. for a specific patient.

Twitter: @ dropdeaded209
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