PHARMACY

Chain pharmacy lauds Obama administration’s plan to curb Rx diversion, misuse

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced on Friday that it sent a letter to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in support of the administration’s strategy to prevent and reduce prescription drug diversion and misuse. Last month, the administration released its report, "Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis," detailing its policy recommendations.

"We appreciate the Obama administration’s recently released plan for responding to the current prescription drug abuse crisis, and would like to voice our support for the administration’s plan," NACDS wrote. The letter emphasized the highly beneficial uses of prescription medications, and highlighted ways in which pharmacists partner with patients to assist them with the appropriate use of prescription medications, and to help them adhere to their medication therapies.

"Pharmacists are uniquely qualified to provide medication therapy management services to patients, which help ensure that patients are prescribed the correct medications and that they are taking them properly," NACDS wrote.

In addition to providing patient care, chain pharmacies also partner with law enforcement and participate in state-run prescription drug monitoring programs, which work to help reduce prescription drug diversion and "doctor shopping" — seeking prescriptions from multiple physicians at the same time.

"We support the administration’s plans to enhance and increase utilization of these [PMP] programs among prescribers and to provide federal, state and local officials with the resources they need to utilize these tools to the maximum benefit," NACDS wrote.

NACDS emphasized the importance of protecting patient health and safety and the security of the prescription drug supply chain by maintaining a separation between prescription drug dispensing locations and drug take-back locations. NACDS expressed its prior support for a Drug Enforcement Administration-sanctioned prescription mail-back program.

Along with providing pharmacy’s support for the administration’s strategy to combat and prevent prescription drug diversion and misuse, NACDS indicated that it also used the comment letter to thank the Food and Drug Administration for its step-wise approach to its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy for opioids, which incorporated pharmacy’s concerns.

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PHARMACY

Study: Statin users are less adherent when multiple physicians, trips to pharmacy are involved

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Patients taking cardiovascular drugs may become less adherent if they have to see multiple physicians and make frequent trips to the pharmacy, according to a new study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston and CVS Caremark analyzed data from 1.8 million patients taking statins and 1.5 million taking angiotensin receptor blockers or angiotensin-converting enzymes from between June 2006 and May 2007.

They found that greater complexity in prescribing and filling prescriptions resulted in lower levels of adherence, and those with the least refill consolidation had adherence rates 8% lower than those with the most. The researchers concluded that strategies to reduce the complexity of prescribing and filling prescriptions could help improve medication adherence.

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Compliance today saves dollars tomorrow, and pharmacy is here to help

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Life doesn’t give you too many of those Magic 8 Ball moments, at least not the kind you can find at the pharmacy counter. Just ask the 8 Ball if medicine compliance is important for retail pharmacy, and the answer undoubtedly will come back, “It is decidedly so.”

(THE NEWS: Surgeon general, NCL introduce Script Your Future campaign. For the full story, click here)

Everyone knows that compliance today saves dollars tomorrow. The question is whether or not stakeholders — from the payers down to the patients — realize that the most accessible compliance tool is the white-coated healthcare professional who just adjudicated that prescription.

The fact is, if you increase compliance to prescription regimens, people are healthier for it to the tune of $290 billion in annual savings. And the pharmacy counter is just about the best place to realize those savings.

And that means the Script Your Future campaign could become the straw that stirs that value-of-pharmacy-awareness concoction. Ask the Magic 8 Ball what the chances of that are, and the answer very well may be, “Without a doubt.”

Because if you take a look at the list of sponsors and partners of the program, there certainly are a number of pharmacy influencers on the list, including pharmacy operators CVS Caremark, Kerr Drug and Walgreens.

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