Walmart has opened 70 Specialty Pharmacies of the Community locations across the U.S. in June, and is expected to open 80 more in 11 states by the end of the year.
Outside of the thousands of Walmart pharmacies in stores stretched across the United States, the retail giant is expanding its specialized HIV care within select Specialty Pharmacies of the Community (SPOC) locations.
Walmart recently announced they will have 80 new SPOC locations across 11 states by the end of the year. This expansion follows the 70 locations that opened this past June.
Walmart pharmacies and specialty pharmacies have been working to help treat a large variety of conditions starting with the flu all the way to cancer. The SPOCs offer personalized, affordable care for all. However, the latest SPOCs spread across the country are more HIV-focused.
Kevin Host, senior vice president of Walmart Health & Wellness, Pharmacy said in a recent Walmart blog post these pharmacies play an important role in understanding and addressing the specialized needs of the people in our communities living with HIV.
“Our team of HIV-trained pharmacists, technicians and Community Health Workers is dedicated to making a difference and helping patients navigate their health journey, removing barriers to care in every way we can,” Host said.
Walmart hosted free HIV testing events as they opened the 70 SPOC locations in Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Florida.
According to HIV.gov, there are approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. with HIV. Though, about 13% of them aren’t aware of it and need testing.
With more efforts toward screenings and awareness, new HIV infections decreased by 8% from 37,800 in 2015 to 34,800 in 2019, based off data by HIV.gov.
“With 150 million people passing through our doors each week, we have a unique opportunity to reach people who might not otherwise have access to or feel comfortable seeking HIV care,” Host said. “Located conveniently and discreetly inside a Walmart pharmacy, our SPOCs help people living with HIV manage every aspect of their condition, right where they’re already shopping for their everyday essentials.
“From discussing treatment options to conversations around mental health to sharing resources and helping navigate insurance options, we’re committed to holistic care.”
Aleata Postell, senior director of specialty pharmacy business development at Walmart, explained their pharmacists work with the patient’s prescribers to create a treatment plan that is best for them.
“Our pharmacists are an integral part of a patient’s care team – and that’s exactly how our pharmacy teams are trained,” Postell added.
The Walmart Pharmacy team is proud of their progress but have more plans underway in addressing other health conditions.
“Next year, we plan to expand our focus to autoimmune conditions, including skin, joint and gastrointestinal conditions,” Host said. “With each SPOC launched, and each pharmacist or technician trained, we’re learning and growing toward even better care in the future.”