Walgreens.com to publish patient reviews of drug effectiveness



Walgreens Boots Alliance, the drugstore chain, expanded the scope of patient reviews of prescription drugs on its website by providing new information from PatientsLikeMe, a patient community and advocacy organization.

The two organizations initially agreed to partner in 2015 when Walgreens.com began hosting information about side effects supplied by PatientsLikeMe. As part of the expanded agreement, PatientsLikeMe is providing new information, including patient reviews of how effective a drug is and what drugs patients took before and after a given treatment for the same condition.

See also: Fitbit hires Walgreens exec as digital health VP

About 400,000 people with chronic diseases or conditions participate on PatientsLikeMe.

“It's meant to help level up conversations that patients and doctors are having together and move away from the ethos of paternalistic medicine,” said Brad Gescheider, senior director of care solutions for PatientsLikeMe.

Previously, PatientsLikeMe only provided information about side effects of drugs. The new information (pictured below) began to appear on Walgreens' website in October.

These reviews are valuable to patients because it can help provide context around a certain drug, Gescheider said. “The challenge behind all other available information around treatments is that they're required to show the entire package insert,” he added. “What we've found in our anecdotal research is that the the majority of people do not read it [in its entirety].”

See also: Levy joins PatientsLikeMe, bringing the analyst closer to the patient in latest career move

This information is vetted by the PatientsLikeMe health data integrity team, Gescheider said, and is also policed by members of its patient communities, to make sure that patients are citing the appropriate dosages for each drug when they review them. Automatic digital controls can help prevent clearly erroneously information from appearing on the website such as someone reviewing a drug's dose in micrograms when it's supposed to be in milligrams.

“We wanted to give patients a complete picture of all indications and their perceived effectiveness. The hope is that [these reviews] help patients start a conversation with their doctor,” he said.