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ORLANDO, Fla. — Independent pharmacies are focusing more on helping patients adhere to their medication therapies and save money by using generics, according to a new digest for members of a trade group that represents independents.
The National Community Pharmacists Association, in its 2013 NCPA Digest, found that 48% of all community pharmacies offer patients adherence counseling services, up from 39% in the last survey. Meanwhile, the percentage of community pharmacies providing adherence phone calls or text messages increased from 22% to 39%. Independents also dispensed generic drugs 77% of the time; their pharmacists routinely consult with physicians about proper prescription drug therapy, and pharmacists' recommendations for generic drug use are accepted 83% of the time. The total number of independent pharmacies in the country is estimated at 23,029, from 23,106 last year.
The digest was sponsored by Cardinal Health and is available to NCPA members.
Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card, released earlier this year, found that on average, Americans ages 40 years and older with a chronic condition earned a C+ on average, while one-in-seven in that group received an F.
"Independent community pharmacists are playing a larger role than ever in improving health and cutting costs through the promotion of medication adherence and proper use of generic medicines," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. "The digest reinforces the value and diverse nature of the care provided by trusted, community pharmacists. Small business community pharmacy owners and pharmacists look forward to continuing to work to help policymakers and health plan sponsors enhance patient outcomes and reduce expenses."
Other findings included that a majority of prescriptions came from Medicare and Medicaid — 33% and 18%, respectively — and that 53% of independents are in areas with populations of 20,000 or less, making them an important lifeline for underserved and rural areas.
"Cardinal Health is proud to again sponsor the 2013 NCPA Digest, a comprehensive report to help pharmacy owners make smarter business decisions," Cardinal Health VP retail marketing Ron Clerico said. "We realize that community pharmacists play a unique role in helping improve our nation's healthcare system."