PHARMACY

Gallup poll: Nurses, pharmacists most trusted professionals across all professions

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Medical professionals continue to rank among the most-trusted officials, according to the latest annual Gallup survey around popular perception of professional honesty and ethics, particularly pharmacists.  

"Six medical professional categories were included in this year’s update," the poll taker posted Monday on its web site. "Nurses’ high rating this year is not unexpected; they have scored at the top of all professions every year since they were first included in the list in 1999 — apart from 2001, when Gallup asked about ‘firefighters’ on a one-time basis after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Nurses receive a 10-percentage-point higher rating than pharmacists, who in turn are five points above medical doctors."

The honesty ratings of all of these medical professions are at the highest levels in Gallup’s history, the research firm added. "Pharmacists are two points higher than their previous record. Pharmacists routinely topped the list before Gallup began including nurses."

"An impressive 75% of respondents categorized pharmacists very high/high by the honesty and ethics standard," noted National Community Pharmacists Association CEO Douglas Hoey. "Since the audience is the American people, this ranking is a testimony to the good will generated by the patient-friendly approach of pharmacists who are accessible, responsive and take tremendous pride helping patients achieve the best health outcomes at the lowest costs," he said. “In the Gallup’s more than three-decade-old survey the level of respect for pharmacists has been consistently high. … Our hope is that the decision makers in the private and public sector who make policy and choose prescription drug plans will tap further into the expertise and results pharmacists can bring to health care. For example, the trust that Americans place in their pharmacists makes these highly trained health care professionals a prime resource to help improve outcomes and reduce costs by boosting patient compliance with their prescribed medication regimen.”

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PHARMACY

Armada, Amerinet enter marketing agreement

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Specialty pharmacy purchasing and channel management group Armada Health Care and healthcare services company Amerinet will provide services to each other’s members under a co-marketing agreement, the two companies said Monday.

Amerinet members will receive access to Armada’s specialty pharmacy services, while Armada will also provide members technology services, network access, limited-distribution products and others. Meanwhile, Armada members will receive Amerinet’s contract portfolio of medical surgical and other non-pharmaceutical products.

"We consider the new partnership with Amerinet a landmark opportunity for the membership of both organizations," Armada CEO Larry Irene said. "It creates mutual value that will translate beyond savings for member organizations and directly benefit our pharmaceutical partners and, most importantly, the patients."


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

BY Alaric DeArment

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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