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New study strengthens case for pharmacists' role in improving adherence

Chains' efforts to improve adherence getting more and more recognition

A study conducted among rural patients at Thrifty White Pharmacy locations in the Midwest and published in the November/December issue of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that patients who received appointment-based medication synchronization were up to six times more likely to adhere to their therapies than those who didn't receive them.

Over the years, study after study has shown that pharmacists can play a crucial role in ensuring that patients take their drugs when they're supposed to and as instructed. And poor medication adherence is no small issue, as studies have shown it costs the country nearly $300 billion per year, in addition to contributing to poor health outcomes. It's been said that improvements in medication adherence can be the equivalent of a blockbuster drug, and according to the National Coalition on Health Care, self-management of chronic diseases could save $10 for every $1 spent.

Many retail pharmacy chains have already been recognized for their efforts to improve medication adherence through medication synchronization, medication therapy management and programs that keep track on patients' medication use after they've been discharged from the hospital, as well as being tapped for participation in adherence-based programs. For example, Miami-based Navarro Discount Pharmacy was selected last month by OutcomesMTM as one of the four pharmacies in the Southeast recognized for its commitment to MTM, while Walgreens' WellTransitions program received an endorsement in September from the American Hospital Association.

The ability of such services as MTM to improve adherence is strong enough that pharmacy retailers have taken their message to Capitol Hill as well. In October, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores sent a statement to budget committee conference members in the House and Senate touting the ability of MTM to improve adherence and lower costs, citing reports by the Congressional Budget Office and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Such findings have helped drive support for bipartisan bills in the House and Senate, each titled the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act of 2013.

 

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