Walgreens Establishes Clinical Trial Business


Endeavor aims to tackle diversity obstacles surrounding this segment, while improving the patient experience

Walgreens has launched its clinical trial business to assist in redefining the patient experience and increase access and retention in sponsor-led drug development research. The retail pharmacy’s clinical trial model combines the company’s foundation of patient insights, partner-enabled health and technology capabilities, and in-person and virtual care options to help engage broader and more diverse communities.

The introduction of Walgreens’ clinical trial offerings coincides with recent steps taken by FDA to increase racial and ethnic diversity in clinical trials, given 20 percent of drugs have a variation in responses across ethnic groups,1 yet 75 percent of clinical trial participants are white, while only 11 percent are Hispanic and fewer than 10 percent are Black and Asian.2

“Walgreens trusted community presence across the nation, combined with our enterprise-wide data and health capabilities, enables us to pioneer a comprehensive solution that makes health options, including clinical trials, more accessible, convenient and equitable,” says Ramita Tandon, chief clinical trials officer at Walgreens. “Through the launch of our clinical trials services, we can provide another offering for patients with complex or chronic conditions in their care journey, while helping sponsors advance treatment options for the diverse communities we serve. This is yet another way we are building our next growth engine of consumer-centric healthcare solutions.”

As noted in an episode of The Pharmaceutical Commerce Podcast, patient recruitment and enrollment remain challenges in clinical trials, further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 80 percent of trials fail to meet their enrollment goals in the stated timeframes, often contributing to costly delays.3 Walgreens is addressing these challenges and improving the overall clinical trial experience by scaling three portfolio-integrated, patient-centric service lines, consisting of insights-driven patient recruitment, trials to patients, and real-world evidence and informatics.

References

1. Ramamoorthy, A., Pacanowski, M. A., Bull, J., & Zhang, L. (2015). Racial/ethnic differences in drug disposition and response: review of recently approved drugs. Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, 97(3), 263–273. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpt.61

2. FDA’s 2020 Drug Trials Snapshots Summary Report: Accessed at https://www.fda.gov/media/145718/download on June 2, 2022.

3. Desai, Mira. “Recruitment and retention of participants in clinical studies: Critical issues and challenges.” Perspectives in clinical research vol. 11,2 (2020): 51-53. doi:10.4103/picr.PICR_6_20



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