MTM fights diabetes on the front lines

The number of patients with diabetes is not decreasing any time soon, and one of the most important fronts in the battle lies at the pharmacy counter.

Medication therapy management, one of the most effective ways that pharmacists can help patients manage their diabetes, got a major boost last year with the introduction of H.R. 891, the Medication Therapy Management Benefits Act, which would allow elderly people with at least one chronic condition to access Medicare Part D coverage for MTM; currently, only those with more than one condition are eligible. At press time, the bill’s sponsors — Reps. Mike Ross, R-Ala., and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. — were looking for cosponsors for the bill.

In the meantime, a number of retailers have taken the lead in providing care and services for diabetes patients. Kerr Drug, for example, a longtime leader in MTM, recently launched the “Just Ask” campaign in stores and across various marketing channels, focusing on 11 conditions, including diabetes. Also, Safeway joined the UnitedHealth Group’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance and began offering the DPCA diabetes control program at Tucson, Ariz., area stores, with plans to extend it to Seattle-area stores. Other retailers in the program include Winn-Dixie, Walgreens, Albertsons, Kroger and Rite Aid.

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