Boosting Rx adherence rates: Can pharmacy students make a difference?

Are you up to the adherence challenge?

More than 60 schools of pharmacy and pharmacy groups across the country have joined forces in a massive, month-long campaign to boost Americans’ drug adherence rates.

The National Consumer League’s Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge 2012-2013 kicks off a month-long series of events staged by pharmacy schools, and pharmacy and health profession students Feb. 1.

Pharmacy schools can join the challenge “by implementing creative solutions in their communities to raise awareness and improve understanding about medication adherence,” according to a report from the challenge group. The effort is sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation and American Medical Association.

Closely related to that effort is the Pharmacists Advancing Medication Adherence [PAMA] initiative, sponsored by AACP and the National Community Pharmacists Association [NCPA]. That campaign, which works in partnership with Script Your Future, also enlists pharmacy schools and student pharmacists in the ongoing battle to educate consumers about the importance of sticking with their drug regimens.

One goal, according to AACP, is “to produce graduates that embrace pharmacists’ role as medication adherence counselors.”

Lending urgency to the campaign: survey results show that nearly three out of four Americans don’t take their prescription medicines as directed, leading to poor health outcomes and hundreds of billions of dollars wasted each year on additional health costs and lost productivity.

One school of pharmacy participating in the Medication Adherence Challenge is Ohio Northern University’s Raabe College of Pharmacy. The school’s chapter of the American Pharmacists Association’ Academy of Student Pharmacists “will work with students and faculty from the university's nursing program to consult and distribute information concerning medication adherence on Feb. 2 during the ONU Health Fair,” Drug Store News reported Jan. 25.

How effective are these efforts at enlisting student pharmacists, and at boosting overall adherence rates among patients? As always, your feedback is welcome.

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