Clinical and economic effects of a pharmacist-administered antiretroviral therapy adherence clinic for patients living with HIV


Department of Pharmacy Services, Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center


BACKGROUND: Pharmacists have demonstrated the ability to improve patient adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

OBJECTIVE: To determine the clinical and economic effects of a pharmacist-administered ART adherence clinic for patients living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

METHODS: This pilot study with a pretest-posttest design examined the effect of a pharmacy adherence clinic on patient HIV viral load and CD4 count over a 6-month period. Patients with documented adherence problems were referred to the clinic. The pharmacist counseled patients at baseline and met with patients 1-2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after starting ART. A societal perspective net cost analysis of the pharmacy adherence clinic was conducted to assess the economic efficiency of the intervention.

RESULTS: Twenty-eight patients were enrolled in the study, and 16 patients reached completion. Median HIV RNA significantly decreased from 48,000 copies/mL (interquartile range [IQR] = 16,750-139,000) to undetectable (< 20 copies/mL) at 6 months for all study participants who completed the full intervention (P = 0.001). In the 3 months following the intervention, we estimated that it prevented approximately 0.13 secondary HIV infections among the sexual partners of the 16 participants who completed the intervention. The total cost of the intervention was $16,811 ($1,051 per patient), which was less than the future savings in averted HIV-related medical care expenditures ($49,702).

CONCLUSIONS: A pharmacy adherence clinic that focused on early and sustained ART adherence interventions helped patients with documented medication adherence problems achieve an undetectable HIV RNA. The intervention was highly cost saving, with a return of nearly $3 in future medical care savings per dollar spent on the intervention.

DISCLOSURES: This work was supported in part by a research grant to Dilworth, Mercier, and Borrego from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Foundation. Klein and Pinkerton were supported in part by grants T32-MH19985 and P30-MH52776, respectively, from the National Institute of Mental Health. No funding bodies had any role in the study design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Health Resources and Services Administration. The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. Study concept and design were contributed primarily by Dilworth, Mercier, and Borrego, along with the other authors. Dilworth took the lead in data collection, along with Pinkerton, Klein, Mercier, and Jakeman. Data interpretation was performed by Dilworth and Pinkerton, along with the other authors. The manuscript was written by Dilworth, Klein, and Jakeman, with assistance from the other authors, and revised by Dilworth, Jakeman, and Klein, with assistance from the other authors. The results from this study were presented in part at the 2015 United States Conference on AIDS in Washington, DC, on September 10-13, 2015.

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