Pharmacist Interventions Improving Care for People with Diabetes

New Sustainable Solutions Report shows how pharmacist interventions support diabetes management and improve health outcomes

TORONTO, March 24, 2015 /CNW/ – As part of Pharmacist Awareness Month, Shoppers Drug Mart and Great-West Life are releasing a new report that demonstrates how pharmacist interventions in diabetes management can make a real impact and improve people’s health.

The Sustainable Solutions Report: Pharmacist Interventions in Diabetes, released today, shows how pharmacists were able to support diabetes management and influence improvements in health outcomes for participants in a research study, and illustrates how these same benefits could be expanded for all Canadians living with diabetes.

Diabetes Support Program results
Using the results of a five-minute finger prick blood test (an A1C test), Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacists provided participating Great-West Life plan members with appropriate lifestyle counselling, medication recommendations and, where necessary, physician referrals.  For those patients who returned for a second test, the study found that:

  • The number of patients who reached their target tripled after the first intervention with a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist;
  • Approximately half of all patients with a follow-up appointment had a clinically significant reduction in their blood sugar levels;
  • Patients who met their target increased fourfold after the pharmacist consulted with their physician; and
  • Of patients who were not initially at target and received a therapy change, half successfully reached target by their follow-up appointment.

Monitoring average blood sugar levels through pharmacist-administered A1C testing can provide important information to assist with optimal diabetes management.  This report also includes supporting research where Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacists provided patients with a range of interventions that escalated depending on the severity of the A1C test results.  These interventions included discussions on diet, nutrition, exercise and insulin if applicable, adjusting their medication, follow-up appointments or physician referrals.

Why diabetes?
These results are significant because diabetes rates in Canada are rising fast, impacting not only the health of Canadians, but also placing greater costs and strain on our healthcare system:

  • There were an estimated 2.7 million Canadians living with diabetes in 2010 and that number is expected to rise to 4.2 million by 2020.1
  • The cost associated with treating those with diabetes is also significant – it was estimated at $12.2 billion in 2010, and is projected to rise to $16.9 billion by 2020.2

Likewise, increasing diabetes rates will cost companies and insurance providers significant amounts in benefits payouts.  Private drug plans spend approximately four times more per capita on prescription drugs for employees with type 2 diabetes than for all other claimants.3

This report shows that pharmacists are uniquely positioned to be part of the solution by improving diabetes management and health outcomes for patients while reducing costs for the healthcare system and insurers.  Complications from diabetes account for more than 80 per cent of the associated costs of the disease and appropriate interventions by pharmacists can prevent or at least delay those complications,4 including serious events such as heart attack or stroke.

There is tremendous opportunity to help more Canadians living with diabetes to access care and benefit from these services.  The Sustainable Solutions Report: Pharmacist Interventions in Diabetes recommends the following actions:

  1. Expand collaborative opportunities for pharmacists to assess patients’ risk of developing diabetes.
  2. Increase scope of practice to allow pharmacists in all provinces to conduct A1C tests for eligible patients and to access test results – allowing even more patients with diabetes to benefit from greater access to health care.
  3. Enable pharmacists to structure and support a plan for patients to self-manage their care through the use of A1C test results and other diabetes assessment tools.
  4. Increase scope of practice to allow pharmacists in all provinces to adapt prescriptions in order to help improve patient outcomes – making it easier for patients to get medication alterations made.
  5. Strengthen opportunities for pharmacist-physician communication and collaboration to better support patients in attaining lifestyle and health outcome goals – especially with respect to their plan of care and any changes in their diabetes-related therapy. 

Support for the Sustainable Solutions Report: Pharmacist Interventions in Diabetes
“The Canadian Diabetes Association is pleased to see innovative models of community-based diabetes care such as this pharmacist intervention being developed and implemented. Effective self-management of diabetes is critical to the prevention of the downstream complications of diabetes such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure. People living with diabetes need supports from all parts of the health care system to achieve their goals and live well with their disease.  Pharmacists with enhanced diabetes training provide a skilled and accessible resource to help people with diabetes achieve their health goals.”
–Dr. Jan Hux, Chief Science Officer, Canadian Diabetes Association

“Diabetes management is just one more part of health care where pharmacists can make a significant difference.  By working together, we can develop sustainable solutions that will have positive impacts on the health of Canadians, all while improving the value delivered by our healthcare system.”
–Mike Motz, President, Shoppers Drug Mart

“We are pleased to collaborate with Shoppers Drug Mart, who shares in our vision for improved health information, health awareness and health action plans for Canadians with diabetes, through our joint Diabetes Support Program. Great-West Life is taking an active role in helping plan sponsors find solutions to help keep their plan members healthy and their group benefits plan sustainable through our prescription drug management program, which includes the joint Diabetes Support Program.”
–Stefan Kristjanson, Executive Vice-President, Great-West Life

Download the full report
For the full Sustainable Solutions Report: Pharmacist Interventions in Diabetes and all of Shoppers Drug Mart’s past Sustainable Solutions Reports, please visit:

About Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation
Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation is one of the most recognized and trusted names in Canadian retailing.  The Company is the licensor of full-service retail drug stores operating under the name Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix in Québec).  With more than 1,253 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores operating in prime locations in each province and two territories, the Company is one of the most convenient retailers in Canada.  The Company also licenses or owns 56 medical clinic pharmacies operating under the name Shoppers Simply Pharmacy (Pharmaprix Simplement Santé in Québec) and six luxury beauty destinations operating as Murale.  As well, the Company owns and operates 62 Shoppers Home Health Care stores, making it the largest Canadian retailer of home healthcare products and services.  In addition to its retail store network, the Company owns Shoppers Drug Mart Specialty Health Network Inc., a provider of specialty drug distribution, pharmacy and comprehensive patient support services, and MediSystem Technologies Inc., a provider of pharmaceutical products and services to long-term care facilities. Shoppers Drug Mart is a unique and independent operating division of Loblaw Companies Limited.

About Great-West Life
Founded in Winnipeg in 1891, Great-West Life has long been a leader in the group benefits marketplace. The company has established this position over many decades, through its commitment to superior customer service and through a comprehensive selection of cost-effective benefits plans. Great-West Life offers effective benefit solutions for employee groups of any size. The company serves the needs of more than 30,000 plan sponsors and their plan members, and handles approximately 50 million group health and dental claims transactions for its plan members and their dependants each year. 

We are developing targeted programs to assist plan members in the effective management of chronic conditions. Working with Shoppers Drug Mart – Canada’s largest pharmacy chain – we introduced a diabetes management program in 2013 to help eligible plan members better manage their condition through monitoring, medication reviews and counselling. With a broad focus on supporting health and wellness, the goal is to help lower plan members’ risks of complications and achieve better overall health outcomes for them, with lower cost to the members, their employers, and the Canadian health system.

About Loblaw Companies Limited
Loblaw Companies Limited is Canada’s food and pharmacy leader, the nation’s largest retailer, and the majority unit holder of Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. Loblaw provides Canadians with grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty, apparel, general merchandise, banking, and wireless mobile products and services. With more than 2,300 corporate, franchised and Associate-owned locations, Loblaw, its franchisees, and Associate-owners employ approximately 192,000 full- and part-time employees, making it one of Canada’s largest private sector employers.

Loblaw’s purpose – Live Life Well – puts first the needs and well-being of Canadians who make one billion transactions annually in the companies’ stores. Loblaw is positioned to meet and exceed those needs in many ways: convenient locations; more than 1,050 grocery stores that span the value spectrum from discount to specialty; full-service pharmacies at more than 1,250 Shoppers Drug Mart® and Pharmaprix® locations and more than 500 Loblaw locations PC Financial® no-fee banking; affordableJoe Fresh® fashion and family apparel; and three of Canada’s top consumer brands in Life Brand®, no name® and President’s Choice®. Through the PC Plus™ and Shoppers Optimum® loyalty programs, more than one in every three Canadians are rewarded for shopping with the companies

1 Canadian Diabetes Association and Diabète Québec (2011). Diabetes: Canada at the Tipping Point – Charting a New Path. Retrieved from
2 Cheng, A (2013).  Introduction, Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee, Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 37 (Supplement 1), S1 – S3.
3 AstraZeneca, Great-West Life, Cubic (2013). Burden of Illness for Type 2 Diabetes from a Canadian Employer Perspective .
4 Canadian Diabetes Association and Diabète Québec (2011). Diabetes: Canada at the Tipping Point – Charting a New Path. Retrieved from

SOURCE Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation

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Pharmacist Interventions Improving Care for People with Diabetes
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