AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin: To open HIV-dedicated pharmacy

Contact: Bill Keeton, Director of Communications and Government Relations

414-225-1572 (o)

[email protected]

MILWAUKEE — The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) has announced the opening of a new HIV-dedicated pharmacy that will provide comprehensive pharmacy services to HIV patients beginning March 1, 2011. The ARCW Pharmacy will be conveniently located in downtown Milwaukee at the ARCW Medical Center at 820 N Plankinton Ave. The new ARCW Pharmacy will be open to all HIV patients regardless of where they receive their health care or their ability to pay for their medications.

“The opening of the ARCW Pharmacy is essential to assure all HIV patients in Wisconsin have access to the medications they need to achieve and maintain good health,” said Mike Gifford, ARCW Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “We welcome Wisconsin’s premier HIV pharmacists – Rick Fons and Nick Olson – to the ARCW Pharmacy, who will lead innovative pharmacy services designed solely with the complicated pharmaceutical needs of HIV patients in mind.”

In addition to dispensing medications and providing home delivery, the ARCW Pharmacy will provide in-depth adherence counseling to help ensure that HIV patients take their medications as prescribed – an increasingly significant determinant of long-term health. The ARCW Pharmacy will also provide refill reminders, smoking cessation counseling, drug interaction and side effect counseling, and insurance and payment assistance services.

“As people with HIV continue to live longer, scientific research is identifying increasing health problems for HIV patients requiring heightened medication management, especially related to the interactions of various medications,” Fons said. “At the ARCW Pharmacy we will be dedicated to providing personalized customer service that addresses these and the other unique pharmaceutical needs of our patients.”

HIV patients continue to face a myriad of challenges related to managing this complex and expensive disease. While medical research continues to produce better tolerated and more effective medications, a major breakthrough significantly reducing the utilization of these costly drugs by patients remains years away.

“ARCW is dedicated to helping everyone with HIV achieve the best health possible regardless of their ability to pay,” Gifford said. “Another benefit of the ARCW Pharmacy for all HIV patients is that revenue generated from the operation of the pharmacy will be invested in the ARCW Medical Center and used to enhance its ability to meet the needs of our increasing number of patients.”

In addition to being able to fill their prescription at the same location they receive medical, dental and mental health care and other vital social services, HIV patients will now also have the added benefit of accessing a clinical pharmacist in Olson who will provide patients with immediate medication consultation and will confer with ARCW physicians and nurse practitioners related to the pharmaceutical regimens they prescribe to their patients.

“With the addition of integrated pharmacy services, our patients will have access to a comprehensive array of health care services at one location enhancing ARCW as a unique medical home for HIV patients,” Gifford said.

HIV patients who would like to begin utilizing the ARCW Pharmacy should contact Fons or Olson at the ARCW Pharmacy by calling 414-223-6820.

About Rick Fons, RPh:

Rick Fons received his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from University of Wisconsin – Madison. Fons was Wisconsin’s first HIV-dedicated pharmacist and has dedicated his 17 year career to meeting the needs of HIV patients and providers. Fons serves as the Director of Pharmacy for the new ARCW Pharmacy.

About Nick Olson, PharmD:

Dr. Nick Olson is a Milwaukee native and earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from UW-Madison in 2003. With eight years of HIV pharmacy experience, Olson has also earned his American Academy of HIV Medicine Expert certification and was named Wisconsin’s Distinguish Young Pharmacist of the Year in 2009. Olson serves as the Associate Director of Pharmacy and Clinical Pharmacist for the new ARCW Pharmacy.

About the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW)

ARCW is home to the ARCW Medical Center – Wisconsin’s largest and fastest growing provider of HIV health care. Through its integrated medical, dental and mental health clinics, pharmacy and with social services including food pantries, a legal program, housing support and social work case management, more than 2,600 people with HIV gain the health and social services they need for long term survival with HIV disease.