The next blockbuster? It's called just taking drugs as prescribed

Drug co. losses due to non-adherence testify to pharmacy's role

A new report shows that drug makers lose nearly $200 billion per year from medication nonadherence, illustrating that it's not just the healthcare system overall that loses when people don't take their medications properly.

This just goes to show the important role that pharmacy retailers have in helping to promote medication adherence by having pharmacists play an active role in patients' health care through services like medication therapy management.

At the Drug Store News Industry Issues Summit's Specialty Pharmacy Roundtable two years ago, Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy CEO Phil Hagerman said that improving medication adherence in specialty pharmacy could be equivalent to the introduction of a new blockbuster drug. A report released Friday by the Congressional Budget Office further bears this out, indicating that even a 1% increase in the prescriptions filled by Medicare beneficiaries would reduce the program's spending on medical services by 0.2% by reducing costs in such areas as hospitalizations.

Pharmacy retailers have been on the front lines of efforts to improve adherence. Rite Aid has made the pharmacy the central feature of its Wellness store format, including private consultation rooms where patients can comfortably discuss their prescriptions and engage in MTM sessions with pharmacists. Meanwhile, CVS and Walgreens have conducted extensive research on the effects of programs like 90-day medication refills on adherence.

Medications won't work if patients don't take them properly or don't take them at all, and this is a major reason why many people's medical conditions don't improve or even get worse. But when pharmacists take the time to sit down with patients and explain how patients should use medications and why they should use them, it can save both lives and money.

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