A campaign custom-made for pharmacy
About $290 billion a year. That’s what Americans’ rampant nonadherence to their prescription medication therapy is costing the country each year in medical bills and lost work, according to national estimates. So getting patients to stick with their drug regimens is a huge challenge, not only for pharmacists in all practice settings, but for the entire healthcare provider network and the U.S. economy.
The adherence issue already is red hot as Congress, federal health policy-makers, and the publicly funded and employer-sponsored health plans paying most of the nation’s healthcare bills finally wake up to the fact that improving adherence rates will save gobs of money by keeping patients healthier and out of emergency rooms. That means involving pharmacists more directly in patient interventions and long-term medication therapy management. And starting soon, it’s going to mean some changes in the pharmacy school curriculum as educators focus more heavily on adherence.
The pharmacy education community signaled as much last week with the announcement of a new partnership with independent pharmacists. To wit: The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the National Community Pharmacists Association are joining forces to launch what they’ve dubbed the Medication Adherence Educators Challenge.
The challenge will feature grants and idea sharing, and will culminate at a joint AACP-NCPA Medication Adherence Educators Symposium on July 18 in Kissimmee, Fla.
The immediate goal: to improve the way pharmacy schools prepare tomorrow’s practitioners for what will surely be a massive drive to boost patient adherence. The underlying goal: to help keep the nation’s overstretched, massively costly health system from heading over a fiscal cliff.
The benefits of improved adherence rates could be profound. One study from CVS Caremark found that patients with one or more of four chronic diseases who take their medications as prescribed could save the healthcare system as much as $7,800 per patient each year.
That means that adherence will be one of the defining issues of the pharmacy profession over the next decade. As a pharmacist, you’ll be on the front line of this battle.
Let me know what you think by commenting below.
Rite Aid picks CaptureRx as 340B technology vendor
CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid is teaming up with a new technology vendor for dispensing drugs under a special federal discount program, the company said Tuesday.
Rite Aid announced that it had selected CaptureRx as its preferred vendor and administrator in dispensing drugs under 340B, a Federal Public Health Service program that allows health centers and hospitals to purchase outpatient drugs for less than half of their cost on the commercial market.
"Rite Aid has long been committed to the health of the communities we serve," Rite Aid EVP pharmacy Robert Thompson said. "Each day, our pharmacists provide services and programs to help our patients live and stay well. Our relationship with CaptureRx is just another way we can improve overall health outcomes of those we serve every day."
The company said it had set up several pilot sites and would offer the 340B program nationwide later this year.
"We are delighted to welcome Rite Aid to our extensive network as we work together to offer better access to quality care to improve the well-being of the communities we serve," CaptureRx COO Edward Gilmartin said.
More information about the program is available here.
FDA grants priority review to J&J heart drug
RARITAN, N.J. — The Food and Drug Administration has given priority review to a regulatory application from Johnson & Johnson for a drug designed to reduce the risk of complications from internal blood clots.
J&J’s Janssen Research & Development division announced that the FDA had given the designation to Xarelto (rivaroxaban), an oral anticoagulant, to reduce the risk of certain types of heart attacks in patients with acute coronary syndrome, which 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with every year.
The agency gives priority review to medicines that represent advances in care or provide a treatment where no adequate therapy exists, J&J said. The designation allows the FDA to finish reviewing an application for a drug in six months rather than the usual 10.