Photo: Walgreens/Getty Images
Pharmacy giant Walgreens announced the launch of a clinical trials company with the goal of increasing access to and retention of sponsor-led drug development research by engaging wider and more diverse communities.
The company will use its collection of pharmacy and patient-authorized clinical data to match different patient populations across different clinical trials based on race, gender, socioeconomic status and location.
Walgreens plans to use a combination of in-person and virtual care options, as well as its technical resources, to inform clinical trial designs and optimize trial execution.
“Our commitment to clinical trials is another way we are building our next growth engine of consumer-centric healthcare solutions,” said Ramita Tandon, Chief Clinical Trials Officer at Walgreens. “We can now provide a different range of care for patients with complex or chronic conditions during their treatment journey, while at the same time helping advance treatment options for the diverse communities we serve.”
She said the company’s goal is to take trial participants even after fulfilling their commitments to a clinical trial and continue their care coordination as part of Walgreens’ commitment to last-mile enablement.
“When a lawsuit ends, it doesn’t end for Walgreens,” she said.
The company leverages its own portfolio and digital and physical resources from partners, including select Health Corner and Village Medical at Walgreens locations, to engage patients directly at home, virtually or in person.
Walgreens plans partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to create a clinical trial experience that supports patient convenience and a more representative collection of research data.
Synergies with AllianceRx Walgreens Pharmacy, as well as Walgreens Boots Alliance investments in CareCentrix and Shields Health Solutions, will also support new approaches to clinical trials, particularly for specialized indications.
With the launch of Walgreen’s clinical trials business, the company’s goal is to increase the percentage of the US population participating in research, which is currently less than 5%.
“If we can use our scale and over a hundred years of trust and care we have with patients to educate and empower them, we can make a significant difference to streamline clinical trial infrastructure and costs and improve health outcomes said Tandon.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
As technology continues to push clinical trials, research in the US still lacks an accurate representation of the country.
Lack of diversity in clinical trials affects drug development, with one reason for the lack of participation is logistical: 50 miles is the average distance a patient lives from the nearest clinical trial site.
More than half of the participants in one study do not participate in the other.
Meanwhile, the overall recruitment and enrollment of patients is a dual challenge for successful clinical trials. These problems have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a 2020 survey, nearly 80% of surveys fail to meet their enrollment goals by deadlines, often leading to costly delays.
THE BIGGER TREND
Some health experts have noted that COVID-19 has increased public interest in vaccine and therapeutic research and say it is now time to build on that commitment, find new ways to enroll volunteers in other clinical trials and enhance the experience. of the patient to improve.
Walgreens also partners with Pluto Health, a smart care coordination service that quickly unifies isolated health information from a variety of sources, including medical records, social determinants of health and insurance claims, and can help determine whether clinical research is a care option for a particular patient.
Email the writer: [email protected]