Industry update from Josh Howland, VP of Clinical Development at PioneerRx

The independent pharmacy industry is constantly changing, sometimes faster than we are prepared for. When a new and exciting opportunity pops up, we have to be ready to spring into action.

A few weeks ago, DaVita Rx made the decision to cease operations by the end of 2018, creating a huge gap in care for end-stage renal disease patients (ESRD).

 Independent pharmacies are perfectly positioned to not only fill that gap, but to excel in taking on these patients.

As the pharmacy owned by DaVita, DaVita Rx served end-stage renal disease patients (ESRD).  Prior to coming to PioneerRx, I was the Director of Integrated Care Pharmacy at DaVita Rx.

The people there were great, we built lasting relationships with patients, and the additional focus on their chronic disease was truly necessary to helping patients reach their goals and stay out of the hospital.

We also helped countless patients stay healthy longer while waiting on a kidney transplant. I’m exceptionally proud of the work I did at DaVita Rx.  

Aside from the fact that DaVita Rx is owned by a Fortune 500 company, it felt and operated very much like an independent pharmacy.

One of the amazing services DaVita Rx provided for their patients was delivery of their medications directly to the dialysis facility. Transportation for ESRD patients is often an issue, so delivering to the dialysis facility is occasionally the only way to ensure a patient continues on medications that keep them alive.

Now that these scripts will be transferred to a large, national chain, the extra clinical attention and delivery to a facility will likely be lost.

It’s a sad day for DaVita Rx and for the many thousands of patients who relied on their service over the last 14 years. However, this is an amazing opportunity for independent pharmacies to fill the gap, and PioneerRx makes it easier than ever to efficiently manage these patients.

I firmly believe, with what I now know about independent pharmacy, that this is a chance to provide patients with even better care than they had before.

Now, you may provide a better service to patients and the healthcare team at the clinics, earning you loyalty for years.

ESRD patients desperately need three main services:

  • Adherence management: The average ESRD patient takes between 8-10 medications, most of which you already have on your shelf. They constantly struggle to take all of those medications as prescribed.
  • Delivery: Due to transportation issues, these patients thrive on getting medications delivered directly to their dialysis facilities.  
  • Excellent clinical care: Dialysis patients need a pharmacist who will ensure appropriate dosing for renal clearance and side effect management.  

With PioneerRx, you can easily accomplish this with a med sync program by assigning patients to facilities.

This allows you to efficiently sync patients at a single dialysis facility to streamline your deliveries. The more patients you can get to fill at your pharmacy from each facility means you can grow more and more efficient.  

You’ll also want to make sure you categorize these patients as ESRD patients and set an Rx Edit or Care Goal to ensure that you evaluate their medications for the first time you fill and for new drugs.

With a little extra vigilance, you can provide really sick patients with the clinical help they so desperately need.

So find the nearest dialysis facility to you, and go talk to their facility administrator today. Help them realize that you can make their lives and the lives of their patients better than before by giving them the service and clinical support that only an independent pharmacy can provide.

Listed below are a couple of resources to help you brush up on basic renal care. As you get more ESRD patients on service, you may want to explore further, but in the beginning, just remember to start low, go slow, and pay attention to those drug-drug interactions.    

On our mission to Save + Revitalize independent pharmacy, why not start with one of the 660,000 Americans living with ESRD?


Josh Howland, Pharm. D, MBA

VP Clinical Development

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