LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Fourth Street in downtown Louisville is scattered with hotels, restaurants and local shops. Now a first-of-its-kind specialty pharmacy is settling in.

It may look like an average Walgreens location with the pharmacy positioned at the back of the store, but the first Local Specialty Pharmacy in Kentucky provides much more than the basic drug store.

"A specialty pharmacy really provides a higher level of care for patients that have specific disease states," said Gene Hoover, Walgreens' Regional Healthcare Director.  

"So our team specializes in therapy for Oncology, Transplant, HIV, Hepatitis C, Chronic Inflammatory Diseases and Fertility," said Leslie Hurst, PharmD, BCACP, the registered manager of the Walgreens Local Specialty Pharmacy in Louisville.  

This is how it works.

Once a patient is diagnosed with a condition, the doctor works with one of the two specialty pharmacists in Louisville to create a plan.

From there, the pharmacists provide the medication and therapy these patients need, allowing the team to work with each patient individually.

"We can take a patient or caregiver into the consultation room and provide one-on-one support," Hurst said. "We address any concerns the patient has, whether it be cost, convenience or medication questions regarding their adverse therapy."

"Healthcare is local, and having that personal relationship with a pharmacy team here, putting a face to a name, and just seeing the compassion and level of care provided here for patients that are truly in a difficult situations really means a lot," Hoover said.

The new store can look and feel like a doctor's office, but it's important to note that the two work hand-in-hand.

"We collaborate with the doctors office," Hurst said. "The doctor is still treating the patient's condition. We're managing their medication therapy."

The 4th Street location will also help find financial assistance, so patients can afford the medication and therapy.

And since the store is opening in March, that help has been significant.

"We've served 576 patients, and over a short period of time, we've provided over $340,000 in co-pay assistance and benefit fund assistance for patients that, more than likely, couldn't have afforded their medication and wouldn't have been on therapy," Hoover said.

Walgreens hopes this location can help as many patients as it can in the area.

"I think each and every day, pharmacists have the opportunity to make a difference, and in the Louisville community, there's definitely a need," Hoover said. 

"Our team is making a difference every day."

As a part of Tuesday's celebrations, Mayor Greg Fischer's office declared June 28 as the Walgreens Local Specialty Pharmacy Day in Louisville.

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