In partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Walmart launched a nationwide training and education program to help its pharmacists better serve the needs of people living with and at risk for HIV. In addition, Walmart expanded its network of HIV-focused pharmacies.
Specifically, Walmart added four new locations to its network of HIV-focused pharmacies, which the retailer refers to as “specialty pharmacies of the community.” These pharmacies “help customers with all aspects of care, including industry-leading clinical programs, pharmacy services provided by HIV-trained pharmacists, enhanced care coordination, healthy lifestyle recommendations and emotional support services from our community health workers,” explained John Wigneswaran, MD, Walmart’s chief medical officer, and Kevin Host, the senior vice president of health and wellness with Walmart pharmacies, in a press statement.
The HIV specialty pharmacies network launched last year with three locations. Building on their success, Walmart is adding these four locations in the first quarter of 2023:
- Store 2003: 979 Route 1 North Brunswick, NJ 08902
- Store 2547: 41 Anawana Lake Rd. Monticello, NY 12701
- Store 3795: 2100 88th St. North Bergen, NJ 07047
- Store 5095: 495 Flatbush Ave. Hartford, CT 06106
Walmart announced the expansion as well as the launch of the nationwide HIV Prevention + Treatment Continuing Education Pharmacist and Provider Training Program on World AIDS Day, December 1.
“In partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we are making this training program available to all Walmart pharmacists and Walmart Health team members,” said Wigneswaran and Host in the statement. “The program, designed by Duke University, will equip pharmacists and clinicians to support patients with or at risk of HIV through clinical and culturally relevant education to enable compassionate care that can overcome stigma and social barriers. This program offers best-in-class training to our team members, which will result in best-in-class care for our patients.”
Walmart is also a founding member of the U.S. Business Action to End HIV, a coalition of corporations formed to boost public-private partnerships to fight the epidemic. Spearheaded by ViiV Healthcare and the Health Action Network, the coalition also launched on World AIDS Day. For more information about the coalition, including six ways businesses can commit to ending HIV by 2030, see “Corporate Partners Launch New Coalition to Help End HIV in the U.S.”
Walmart also stressed that it supports policies to allow pharmacists to prescribe pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP and PrEP), which prevent the transmission of HIV. “Pharmacists are integral members of the community that bring significant value to the individuals they serve, and reports have shown patients see their pharmacists nearly 12 times more often than they see their primary care provider,” the statement reads. “However, policies can vary between states, with 13 states currently allowing pharmacists to provide these needed HIV medications, including California, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah. We will continue to support efforts to expand services that pharmacists can provide to better support communities.”
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