HEALTH

Op-ed: Adherence deserves historic collaboration

BY Steve Anderson

I took an opportunity at the 2009 NACDS Annual Meeting to reflect on words spoken 70 years earlier by then-NACDS president Nate Shapero of Cunningham Drug Stores. His words at the second annual convention of NACDS, on May 5, 1939, could have been delivered today: “At our first annual convention last year, I sounded the keynote of the ‘Triumph of Cooperation’ … our association … is an effective instrument for the elimination of the evils in our industry, and for the development of a sound relationship between the manufacturer … the producer … the chain store … and between ourselves and the public.”

 

If there is any doubt that there are challenges that need to be overcome, and that there is a need for collaboration, just consider the attacks that are levied against pharmacy and pharmaceutical suppliers. There are those who say that pharmacists perform only a dispensing function. About manufacturers, some remain fixated in their rhetoric on what they call the high price of prescription drugs, without any context related to research costs, the public benefit and the costs avoided by treatment of chronic disease.

 

 

It just may be that the concept of adherence is the bridge to greater understanding among policy-makers and the public of the dual value of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals. As this understanding increases, so will the appreciation of pharmacists, pharmacies and medications.

 

 

Medications are important to the management of chronic diseases that require long-term or lifelong therapy. Pharmacists are uniquely qualified as medication experts to work with patients to manage their medications and chronic conditions, and play a key role in helping patients take their medications as prescribed.

 

 

Nonadherence with medications is a significant problem. According to a report by the World Health Organization, in developed countries only 50% of patients with chronic diseases adhere to medication therapies. In the United States, failure to take medications as prescribed has been estimated to impose more than $177 billion dollars annually in direct and indirect costs. Poor adherence leads to unnecessary disease progression, reduced functional status, more extensive and more expensive medical care, a lower quality of life and premature death.

 

 

Studies have demonstrated that pharmacist-provided medication therapy management services can help. In one frequently cited study, every $1 invested in MTM services reduced overall healthcare costs by more than $12. We must spread the news about this opportunity to reduce healthcare costs, while improving patient care and quality of life.

 

 

This is why NACDS is working with allied organizations for enhancement of the MTM benefit in Medicare Part D. That also is why the NACDS Foundation is supporting educational initiatives, along with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, that are designed to enhance the public understanding of factors affecting medication adherence. 

 

 

Together, we must boost appreciation for the value that comes from proper utilization of prescription drugs. During the current healthcare reform debate, NACDS has a lot to offer as a retail association. We can make a personal and credible pitch for the overall benefits of the kinds of products and services for which suppliers are responsible. By definition, pharmacies and pharmacists are the segment of the supply chain that is closest to the people.

 

 

In last year’s Gallup survey that measured the public’s perception of professional integrity, pharmacists came in second, right behind nurses. Pharmacists have been in the top three each of the past six years. Our industry is blessed with ideal ambassadors for mutual issues of importance, which directly affect the well-being of patients and the entire healthcare system.

 

 

Nate Shapero was on to something when he spoke in 1939 about NACDS’ ability to leverage productive relationships. He did not live in Utopia any more than we do. He was a businessman — struggling with economic turmoil, competition, business relationships and responsibilities to view his world broadly, at the helm of an industry association. But these factors did not delay, derail or deny the vision and pursuit of a common purpose. That is a concept that must not be lost on us today.

 

 

On behalf of NACDS, we look forward to working with you, for the ultimate good of the patients we serve.

 

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The Best for Babes Foundation set to release new pro-breast-feeding ad

BY Michael Johnsen

LITTLE SILVER, N.J. The Best for Babes Foundation on Thursday will release a provocative new ad to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week, which takes place Aug. 1 to 7 in 150 countries.

The ad is intended to relay that breastfeeding save lives and expecting moms need more help and to be better prepared around breastfeeding. The ad urges expecting mothers to find a support group, get expert lactation help, and choose hospitals and physicians that are breastfeeding friendly.

Best for Babes co-founders Bettina Forbes and Danielle Rigg contend that women are being pressured to breastfeed, but prevented from succeeding. “Moms don’t need more pressure, judgment or guilt,” Forbes stated.

The new ad will run in the Fall/Winter issue of Mom & Baby magazine and online through TheFamilyGroove.com and various blogs. Frank About Women, a marketing-to-women communications firm, donated the six-figure ad campaign.

The campaign is being backed by a growing corporate alliance of companies, including Earth Mama Angel Baby, My Brest Friend, Hotslings, Pumpease and My Baby Experts.

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Drive Medical appoints Mazzacone as new EVP business development

BY Michael Johnsen

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. Drive Medical earlier this week named longtime industry veteran Victor Mazzacone the company’s EVP business development, effective Aug. 11.

Drive Medical manufactures a complete line of durable medical equipment, including mobility products, self-assist products and personal care products.

Mazzacone will be responsible for developing and managing new sale opportunities in the retail, mass merchandise and consumer product areas in the North America.

Mazzacone joins Drive from Novartis, where he served as SVP corporate development for the over-the-counter medical business. During his tenure at Novartis,, he was responsible for overseeing the entire North American sales force for the Gerber baby products and OTC medical business. Mazzacone has also worked at GlaxoSmithKline and has approximately 30 years of experience in the consumer product/retail market arenas.

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