NCPA Joins National Campaign to Reduce Americans' Blood Pressure, Save Lives



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Alexandria, Va. - September 5, 2012 The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today announced that it is participating in the Team Up. Pressure Down. program to help hypertensive patients more effectively manage and control their high blood pressure—and ultimately prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

Team Up. Pressure Down. is a new pharmacy-focused program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Million HeartsTM initiative co-led by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The program offers time-saving resources—from video vignettes to conversation starters—that encourage and support pharmacists in providing counseling services to their hypertensive patients, with the goal of improving medication adherence (i.e., patients following their medication regimen as prescribed by a doctor). A suite of patient education materials will also be available through the program to help people with high blood pressure take a more active role in self-management efforts and to encourage increased interaction with their pharmacists.

"This is a great opportunity for pharmacists and NCPA is proud to be a partner," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA said during the Team Up. Pressure Down. launch event with the U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., MBA, the American Pharmacists Association Foundation, and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy to announce the effort. "As one of the most accessible health care providers, pharmacists can play a significant role in the treatment and prevention of heart disease. Services including blood pressure and lipid monitoring, smoking cessation programs and patient intervention and reminder systems can play a vital role. Many community pharmacists already provide these services on a daily basis and hopefully this campaign will spur greater awareness and utilization of them."

Recent research shows that pharmacist-directed care can improve the management of major cardiovascular risk factors—including hypertension—and has a positive impact on patient health outcomes. Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases kill more than 800,000 adults in the United States each year. Nearly 1 in 3 adults have hypertension and 36 million Americans do not have it under control. Taking hypertension medicines as prescribed can greatly reduce a patient's risk for heart attack and stroke, yet 30 percent stop taking their medicines within six months and 50 percent stop within one year.

Medication non-adherence is a health care crisis adding to the nation's fiscal woes at a cost of nearly $300 billion each year. In response to this ballooning problem, NCPA in 2010 announced an ambitious and multi-faceted plan known as Pharmacists Advancing Medication Adherence (PAMA). Tools of the campaign include Simplify My Meds, which allows pharmacists to coordinate patients' prescription refills to a single day of the month, and a new online resource, www.stick2thescript.org, providing pharmacists and other health care providers with resources help patients understand the goals of their prescription regimen, manage their chronic condition(s) and take their medications as directed.

NCPA has been an active participant in the Million Hearts campaign, featuring articles in NCPA communications like America's Pharmacist magazine, member webinars and posting on NCPA social media vehicles, including Facebook and Twitter.

"We greatly appreciate the Surgeon General's recognition of independent community pharmacists' contribution to public health," Hoey added. "We look forward to new opportunities in the public and private sector to showcase the pharmacist's role in the health care continuum to improve patient care while reducing costs."

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.

Ask Your Family Pharmacist TM