Access to Hard-to-Find Targeted Cancer Therapies, Support Services Through AllianceRX Walgreens Primeby AllianceRx Walgreens Prime February 25, 2021
ORLANDO, FL – Learning you have cancer can be difficult, and diagnosis of a rare cancer brings its own set of challenges for patients and their families. AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, one of the largest specialty and home delivery pharmacies in the country, helps patients prepare for this challenge through multidisciplinary, holistic patient care, including access to more than 60 limited distribution oncology drugs. Most recently, Pfizer added to this list by granting the specialty pharmacy access to four targeted cancer therapies that treat metastatic melanoma, metastatic colorectal cancer, and two types of leukemia.
What Makes Rare Cancers Rare
Rare cancers are those with an incidence of fewer than six cases per 100,000 individuals per year in the U.S. Overall, approximately 20% of patients with cancer in the U.S. are diagnosed with a rare cancer. Compare that to 123 cases per 100,000, the incidence rate for both breast and prostate cancer according to the American Cancer Society.
“Rare cancers present unique and greater challenges than other cancers. They are more difficult to diagnose than other cancers, often requiring more physician visits and expense. As a result, the cancer may be more advanced when diagnosed,” says Amy Pfeifer, PharmD., oncology clinical program manager at AllianceRx Walgreens Prime. “Treatment options as well as patient information may be limited. Emotional support, which is so important for cancer patients, can present challenges, because finding someone else with the same rare cancer may be difficult.”
A Unique and Holistic Approach to Care
After diagnosis, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime clinicians review prescribed medications with the patient, as well as any applicable warnings or potential side effects.
However, medication is only one component of the patient’s care journey at AllianceRx Walgreens Prime. Patients on self-administered oncology medications benefit from the pharmacy’s Connected Care Oncology clinical management program, whose patented technology guides interactions with patients, helping them stay on treatment and manage any possible side effects.
“Our pharmacists are actively involved in the management of the patient using Connected Care’s system-driven activities to monitor adherence, side effects and other triggered activities or tasks,” says Pfeifer. “Depending on the prescribed treatment, a patient’s support program may include our Cycle Management Program which offers additional pharmacist support during the first month of therapy.”
AllianceRx Walgreens Prime’s specialty pharmacists also connect patients and caregivers with resources including support groups, financial and co-pay assistance, counselors, and anything else the patient and his or her family may need.
An additional show of support is the pharmacy’s relationship with various advocacy organizations. “We’re a proud sponsor of CancerCare, which provides access to educational information to all patients and families affected by cancer. Supporting organizations like CancerCare aligns with our core values. We want to support organizations that support our patients,” says James.
Simplifying the Patient Experience with Innovation
Earlier this year, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime announced the release of new digital tools allowing patients with rare cancers to manage their care online. The digital clinical assessments, available only through AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, simplify patients’ online experience when refilling their prescriptions. This means patients with rare cancers who are handling their treatment well can choose to order refills online rather than calling the pharmacy. The tools’ proprietary algorithms use patient-provided information to ask relevant questions and identify specific needs for individual support. Patients complete their entire transaction online – and still have the option to speak to a pharmacist if they desire, or if their responses necessitate follow up with a clinician.
“We are engaging with patients on their terms. These tools help us know if patients are safely taking their medicine and achieving benefit from their therapy. Our patient-focused and holistic approach to care, combined with maintaining our leading limited distribution access so our patients can have the latest drugs on the market, continues to be a focus for us,” says James. “It’s how AllianceRx Walgreens Prime shows up for every patient with rare cancer and beyond.”
For full prescribing information, black box warnings for Besponsa and Mylotarg, and any other warnings for these medicines, visit Pfizer.com or dailymed.nlm.nih.gov. •