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USA Today article highlights risks of medication nonadherence

NEW YORK — The major consumer press is beginning to understand the value of community pharmacy and the importance of medication adherence in managing outcomes in healthcare spending, as evidenced by the recent USA Today article "Studies: Missed meds could cost more than $250B a year."

The article, which was published Friday, cited studies by both Express Scripts and CVS Caremark, in partnership with Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital, which found that billions of dollars are lost each year by Americans not taking their medications as prescribed, leading to emergency room visits, in-patient hospitalizations and doctors' visits.

The article quoted CVS Caremark EVP and chief medical officer Troyen Brennan as saying that a CVS study estimated that if 35% of patients in a group of 100,000 do not take their medications as prescribed, it will result in 16 heart attacks, five strokes and seven deaths.

USA Today also noted in the article that Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., have introduced bills that would allow Medicare reimbursement for more patients who sit down with therapists for one-on-one help managing their medication. The bills would enable pharmacists to recommend the counseling to patients who have chronic diseases or who take several medications each day.

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