Alexandria, Va. - June 6, 2012
Under the leadership of its national trade association, community pharmacists are stepping up to the plate to take on the issue of medication non-adherence, a health care crisis currently adding to the nation's fiscal woes at a cost of nearly $300 billion each year.
Medication adherence, or the proper use of medication as prescribed, is an increasingly important part of the health care discussion for several reasons. There is a greater reliance on medication therapy in health care today. Plus, the U.S. population is aging and more than one half of all Americans live with at least one chronic condition.
NCPA just published a rare, special edition of its monthly magazine focused exclusively on medication adherence. The June issue of America's Pharmacist provides pharmacists with case studies, advice from adherence experts, and tools and information. The issue examines how Medicare is now using medication adherence metrics to calculate Medicare Part D plan star ratings, including Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans; offers an independent pharmacist's view on why mail order and adherence don't mix ("Adherence is not in the Mail"); and looks at a new adherence metric of pharmacy performance ("Equipped for Adherence").
"NCPA is proactively tackling this challenge and has launched a full-court press on the problem of non-adherence," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "The community pharmacist is the expert team member who can effectively identify and resolve medication issues. By identifying solutions and providing concrete actions and resources, we believe pharmacists are putting us one step closer to solving this expensive and unnecessary health care crisis."
In addition, NCPA recently launched Simplify My Meds, an innovative adherence program that allows pharmacists to coordinate patients' prescription refills to a single day of the month. This model facilitates a more comprehensive and coordinated level of pharmacy care, reduces the potential for gaps in therapy, and promotes improved medication adherence. Research has confirmed that refill coordination at a single pharmacy is recognized as an effective tactic to improve adherence.
To date, nearly 700 community pharmacies are offering coordinated refills at their pharmacies with more than 20,000 patients benefiting from this personalized adherence service.
NCPA also recently launched a new online resource, www.stick2thescript.org. The site provides pharmacists and other health care providers with a comprehensive resource of tools, programs, and other resources to use with patients to help them understand the goals and outcomes of their prescription regimen, manage their chronic condition(s), and take their medications as directed.
To help further integrate adherence into pharmacy education, NCPA and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy will host a half-day adherence symposium in July. At the forum pharmacy academicians will discuss best practices currently being used to teach medication adherence strategies to tomorrow's pharmacists.
Ten years ago, the annual cost of poor adherence was estimated to be $177 billion. In 2009, the New England Healthcare Institute updated this estimate to $290 billion annually. In response to this ballooning problem, NCPA in 2010 announced an ambitious and comprehensive five-year plan designed to take on the issue of medication adherence. Known as PAMA (Pharmacists Advancing Medication Adherence), the multi-faceted campaign is part of a coordinated effort to improve patient medication adherence rates by leveraging the expertise of community pharmacists.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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