Photo: RakicN, Getty Images | MedCity News

Walgreens is branching into some new territory.  The Deerfield, Illinois-based pharmacy company has launched its Center for Health & Wellbeing Research.  The center is actually a website containing over 50 Walgreens studies on numerous topics, including HIV, vaccinations, healthcare costs, patient experience, medication adherence and digital health.  All of the studies were completed over the past six years. They’ve been published in various medical journals and presented at industry conferences.

Walgreens hasn’t completed this endeavor alone. It collaborated with Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine; the University of Chicago Medicine; La Jolla, California-based Scripps Translational Science Institute; and the UCSF School of Pharmacy.

“Walgreens has been a valued partner in a long-standing and productive collaboration, which has given our clinical and research faculty the opportunity to develop, implement and evaluate novel programs to reach patients where they are to improve their access to care,” Jeanne Clark, a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a statement.

A team of 25 experts is heading up the Center for Health & Wellbeing Research. The group includes Walgreens CMO and group vice president Harry Leider; senior director of health analytics, research and reporting Michael Taitel; and director of health analytics, research and reporting Heather Kirkham.

In an emailed response to questions, Leider cited Walgreens’ historic interest in research and innovation as the impetus behind creating the center, which will focus on evaluating the company’s services that support the triple aim.

Its information will aid providers in learning how pharmacy services improve outcomes, Leider said. From a patient perspective, the center presents a learning opportunity of a different sort. By being able to access relevant studies, they can take in the value of medication adherence and vaccination.

Looking ahead, Leider believes the Center for Health & Wellbeing will enable greater collaboration between Walgreens and its academic partners.  “Furthermore, our collective work will provide evidence that shapes policy to allow pharmacists to practice at the full potential of their license, which includes full ability to vaccinate, appropriate prescribing privileges and reimbursement for counseling services,” he said.

Perhaps most significantly, Leider hopes the center “will be viewed as a respected source for pharmacy and health services research.”  The pharmacy company has been busy this summer. In June, it called off its planned takeover of Rite Aid and instead entered an agreement through which it will pay more than $5 billion to buy 2,186 Rite Aid stores, three distribution centers and related inventory.


Source: Walgreens creates Center for Health & Wellbeing Research