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NACDS, NCPA: Ensuring patients’ choice of pharmacy helps promote medication adherence

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Prescription drug costs “cannot be viewed in a vacuum” and pharmacist-provided medication therapy management and counseling must be considered in any comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Community Pharmacists Association urged in a joint statement issued on Thursday amid the release of two studies on medication adherence.

The statement, issued by NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and NCPA EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey, relates to two recent studies appearing in the Journal of Medical Economics and the American Journal of Managed Care on medication adherence, or the proper use of medicine as prescribed by a physician.

“The AJMC study effectively counters the claims in a study published in the JME regarding the uses of mail-order versus community pharmacies. Amid these studies, it is safe to say that we have at least one important takeaway lesson: The best way to promote proper adherence to medication and better health outcomes is by ensuring patients’ access to the pharmacy of their choice," the statement read. "Despite repeated financial and other inducements encouraging mail order in Medicare Part D and other health plans, the vast majority of patients opt to continue to rely on their local, community pharmacist to help meet their health needs."

“It’s important to remember that adherence is about more than simply mailing a 90-day supply of prescription medication to a patient. Possession of prescription drugs alone is not the only factor in measuring adherence. For the full patient health picture, one must take into account whether that medication was actually taken as prescribed, if the patient had an adverse reaction, or if the prescriber stopped or changed the dosage of that medication based on the patient’s need."

“If any of these factors occur, it not only impacts adherence, but also cost. If a medication is not used properly, then the potential for cost savings is lost if additional medication, medical tests or even catastrophic and emergency care are needed by a patient, further disrupting patients’ lives and driving up healthcare costs."

“This is also why it is vital to recognize that drug costs cannot be viewed in a vacuum. Pharmacy services need to be evaluated in terms of their overall ability to bring down healthcare costs across the board and improve patient health.  Pharmacists provide counseling services, medication therapy management and other services that must be considered in any comprehensive cost-benefit analysis."

“The true story of improved medication adherence is the unsurpassed value of community pharmacy and the services it provides. There is no substitute for the pharmacist-patient face-to-face relationship. Community pharmacy services help to improve patient health and lower overall healthcare costs. Maintaining patient choice of how to obtain prescription medications is essential.”

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Solantic announces statewide hiring

BY Allison Cerra

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A provider of urgent care, wellness and employer health services throughout Florida is planning to offer more than 50 jobs statewide.

Solantic said the new jobs will support the company’s decision to extend its hours of operation in all markets.

“In an effort to fulfill our mission to make health care more convenient, the Solantic team will expand our services by offering extended hours to better serve the patient demand,” Solantic president and CEO Michael Klein said. “By increasing our hours, we are also creating a need for more positions in most of the markets in which we operate.”

Solantic currently operates more than 30 walk-in urgent care centers located throughout Florida.

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NPD: Nail, color cosmetics helped fuel growth of prestige beauty in first half 2011

BY Antoinette Alexander

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Those within the mass-market beauty industry are wise not to rest on their laurels, as research indicates that sales of prestige makeup and skin care in U.S. department stores surpassed pre-recession volume in the first half of 2011, according to market research company the NPD Group.

In first half 2011 (January through June), prestige women’s and men’s skin care dollar sales increased 14% and 9%, respectively, compared with first half 2008. Prestige makeup sales increased as well, nearly 4%, compared with pre-recessionary levels.

All categories of prestige makeup posted growth. The strongest increases can be attributed to the rediscovery by consumers of color cosmetics, such as eye and lip products, as well as the resurgence of the nail and other color segments. Most outstanding growth was in the nail category, which has increased 65% since first half 2008.

When looking at prestige skin care, every segment except for body helped bring the category back to meet its pre-recessionary levels; however, the star category for prestige skin care was sets and kits, with 56% growth, compared with first half 2008, according to NPD. The sets and kits segment experienced the highest dollar growth among all the segments for the past three semi-annual periods.

Prestige fragrance, while not yet reaching pre-recessionary levels, continues to build momentum. In first half 2011, women’s and men’s prestige fragrances generated 4% and 2% less dollar sales, versus first half 2008. However, when compared with first half 2010, women’s and men’s prestige fragrance sales increased 14% and 8%, respectively, a 10% dollar growth in total prestige fragrance overall.

“If prestige fragrance sales momentum continues at the accelerated levels experienced since April 2011, sales in the second half of 2011 may well exceed the second half of 2008,” stated Karen Grant, VP and senior global industry analyst for the NPD Group.

“Historically, we saw fragrance purchasing follow the consumer confidence trend. When sentiments were low, so were fragrance sales. However, the trend in fragrance appears to have shifted. While fragrance suffered the steepest declines at the start of the recession, there has been a turnaround in recent months, even though consumer confidence has not yet fully recovered. Consumers are gravitating to classics and new scents, as well as high-end and niche brands,” Grant added.

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