In-Store Retail Pharmacy Program Helps Cancer Patients

December 17, 2018
Tracey Walker
Tracey Walker

Walgreens' new integrated support program aims to help patients with cancer manage the side effects of undergoing treatment. Here’s five things to know about it.

A new program from pharmacy retail giant Walgreens provides personalized support to cancer patients by combining specially trained beauty consultants and pharmacists.

“Feel More Like You,” a cancer side-effect management program rolled out in 100 stores in seven metro areas in the spring, and the remaining stores participating will comprise beauty-differentiated stores throughout Florida. It is available at more than 400 retail stores nationwide.

Cancer will soon be the leading cause of death in the United States, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Cancer has a major impact on patients in the U.S. and across the world,” says Rina Shah, vice president of pharmacy operations and specialty at Walgreens. “It’s more important than ever that healthcare organizations, and those who have a hand in shaping the future of patient care, look for new ways to address the evolving needs of patients. ‘Feel More Like You’ is an integrated approach to cancer care, with specially trained Walgreens beauty consultants and pharmacists working to provide personalized expertise to people living with cancer.” 

Both cancer and cancer treatment can cause your body to change, according to the American Cancer Society. Besides hair loss, chemotherapy can cause side effects. Radiation also can cause hair loss, along with skin damage and other issues.

When a customer arrives in store, they will be able to receive on-site services from Walgreens beauty consultants and specially trained Walgreens pharmacists, according to Shah. Beauty consultants and pharmacists were also trained in collaboration with Look Good Feel Better, a non-profit organization that teaches beauty techniques to people living with cancer, and Cancer Support Community, the largest professionally-led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide.

“The program was created in response to an increased number of oncology patients entering Walgreens pharmacies and the need for expert information,” says Shah.  “. . . Walgreens has the unique position to provide free, accessible, and on-demand cancer resources at the point of care through the ‘Feel More Like You’ program. Walgreens is the first retailer to address the well-being of oncology patients by providing in-store pharmacy and beauty support to help people living with cancer manage both internal and external side effects of treatment. Caregivers and patients may be unsure where to go for help with holistic treatment both inside and out, and this program is focused on meeting that need.”

Currently, there is not a health plan component to the program, but from this initial pilot of 400 locations, Walgreens will be able to garner patient feedback and better assess what additional components are needed to evolve the program, according to Shah.

Here are five things to know about the “Feel More Like You” program:

  • The program is a first-of-its-kind retail offering. “Walgreens is the first retailer to address the emotional well-being of oncology patients by providing in-store pharmacy and beauty support to help people living with cancer manage both internal and external side effects of treatment,” Shah says.

  • “Feel More Like You” is provided at no cost to Walgreens customers.

  • The signature component of “Feel More Like You” is an integrated approach to cancer care, with specially trained Walgreens beauty consultants and pharmacists working to provide personalized expertise to people living with cancer.

  • Approximately 500 Walgreens beauty consultants have completed specialized training developed by Look Good Feel Better, to address the physical changes associated with cancer treatment such as hair loss and dry hair, dry skin and skin discolorations, sunlight sensitivities, and changes to nails and cuticles. In addition to providing clinical advice on medication, more than 2,000 Walgreens pharmacists have received cancer-specific training to recommend over-the-counter products that may help manage side effects associated with cancer treatment such as skin rash, increased fatigue, mouth sores, and dry mouth. Additionally, beauty consultants and pharmacists at Walgreens “Feel More Like You” stores have completed empathy training from the Cancer Support Community to provide an enhanced level of emotional support during interactions with individuals with cancer.

  • Walgreens community-based specialty pharmacies will play a pivotal part in helping to provide support to coordinate care between individuals with cancer and their local Walgreens store.