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NACDS-funded report supports policies to boost medication adherence

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — A new review of the research on the patient-health benefits of improved medication adherence supports the growing momentum behind government and market-based strategies to help patients take medications as prescribed, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores stated on Friday.

“To improve patient outcomes and reduce the financial burden on the healthcare system, policymakers and other healthcare stakeholders should support measures that encourage greater engagement and education with patients to demonstrate the importance of proper medication use,” concluded the report, which was prepared independently by Avalere Health and funded by NACDS.

Titled “The Role of Medication Adherence in the U.S. Healthcare System,” the review includes research on the connection between medication adherence, health outcomes and healthcare system spending, as well as research on major barriers to medication adherence and on examples of initiatives to help improve it.

“When patients struggle to obtain and use medications appropriately, they may limit a drug’s effectiveness, experience poor health outcomes as a result, and raise the overall cost of care in the United States,” the report stated. “For example, recent research has shown that 1) taking drugs as prescribed lowers total healthcare costs by an amount that exceeds the costs of the drugs themselves (Roebuck et al. 2011), and 2) lower spending on prescription drugs may be offset by higher medical services costs (Gaynor et al. 2007).”

The review noted that “the body of evidence on the cost-effectiveness of medication adherence has begun to influence policy,” as evidenced by the Congressional Budget Office’s move in 2012 to associate a reduction in Medicare’s medical service spending when the number of prescriptions filled increases.

“This is the first time the government’s non-partisan legislative scoring agency has credited greater usage of medications with saving healthcare costs, generally, as part of their guidance,” the review stated.
The review noted findings related to the effectiveness of pharmacist-led medication therapy management. It also noted the importance of comprehensive medication reviews, an aspect of MTM in which the pharmacist reviews each individual drug and helps the patient take them appropriately to avoid adverse reactions and to maximize outcomes.

NACDS had endorsed bipartisan legislation in the Senate (S. 557) and in the House of Representatives  (H.R. 1024) — the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act — which would improve access to MTM services for senior citizens enrolled in the Medicare Part D program.


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Forgiven Bottling launches alcohol metabolizer in shot format

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS — Forgiven Bottling Group earlier this month announced the launch of its alcohol metabolizer, Forgiven, formulated to help the body process alcohol more rapidly and thereby help alleviate ill effects associated with a hangover. 

Forgiven’s patented formulation includes organic acids, L-Cysteine and L-Glutamine, Rhodiola Rosea extract and vitamin B1. 

Forgiven is launching the new shot format in three flavors: grape, orange and tropical punch.


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Meningitis awareness campaign highlights importance of vaccination

BY Antoinette Alexander

SILVER SPRINGS, Md. and SWIFTWATER, Pa. — Voices of Meningitis, a public health initiative of the National Association of School Nurses, in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur, has announced the launch of Get in the Game: Keeping Teens Healthy, a new program to help educate parents on the danger and prevention of meningococcal disease.

Get in the Game is to help raise awareness about the serious consequences of the disease and motivate parents to speak with their children’s healthcare professional about vaccinating against meningococcal disease in advance of each sports season.

Although rare, meningococcal disease develops rapidly and can claim the life of an otherwise healthy person in as little as one day after the first symptoms appear. Meningococcal disease, which includes meningitis, bacteremia (severe blood infection) and pneumonia, is spread through respiratory droplets. Common everyday activities can facilitate transmission of the bacteria that cause the disease, including kissing; sharing utensils and water bottles; being in close quarters, such as living in a dormitory or staying at a sleep-away summer camp. Athletes can be at greater risk of exposure to meningococcal disease, since many sports involve physical contact and equipment sharing. In addition, participating in group practices, being in cramped locker rooms, and taking long bus trips can facilitate the spread of germs from person to person.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown that, following infancy, there is a second peak in meningococcal disease incidence among adolescents and young adults between 16 and 21 years of age.

As part of the Get in the Game program, champions for vaccination have come together to form Team Voices. Members include:

  • Dara Torres, 12-time Olympic medal swimmer, New York Times best-selling author and mother of three;
  • Beth Mattey, incoming president-elect of the National Association of School Nurses;
  • Jamie Schanbaum, meningococcal disease survivor and USA Cycling Paralympics Road National Championships gold medalist;
  • Rayna DuBose, meningococcal meningitis survivor and former Division I basketball standout at Virginia Tech.

Ten percent to 15% of the 800 to 1,200 Americans who get meningococcal disease each year will pass away from the disease. Of those who survive, nearly 1-out-of-5 are left with serious medical problems, including: amputation of arms, legs, fingers and toes; neurologic damage; deafness and kidney damage, according to the CDC.

To help protect against meningococcal disease, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends routine vaccination of adolescents aged 11 through 18 years (a single dose of vaccine should be administered at age 11 or 12 years, with a booster dose at age 16 years for children who receive the first dose before age 16 years).


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