PHARMACY

Study finds widespread nonadherence among schizophrenia patients

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Nearly half of patients with schizophrenia don’t comply with doctors’ prescription instructions, according to a new physician survey.

Research firm GfK found non-compliance among 45% of patients, an increase of four percentage points over last year. The most common reasons included dislike of medication, concern about side effects and denial of illness. The overall level of non-compliance has ranged between 41% and 46% since 2009, and 74% of doctors cited dislike of medications as a reason, while 71% cited such side effects as tremors, sleepiness and weight gain.

Depot drugs, which only need to be taken once a week or less, have been the most talked-about new developments in the schizophrenia category, but they have not substantially improved compliance, GfK found. Depot drugs account for roughly one-fifth of all schizophrenia prescriptions, up slightly from last year.

"Drug manufacturers need to address the top unsatisfied requirements among psychiatrists, and even market to those benefits," GfK health team research director Paul Wojciak said. "As more doctors become familiar with the benefits of depot drugs, we may see a shift in how schizophrenia is treated in the coming years."

 

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PHARMACY

Independents increase role in promoting adherence, generics

BY Alaric DeArment

ORLANDO, Fla. — Independent pharmacies are focusing more on helping patients adhere to their medication therapies and save money by using generics, according to a new digest for members of a trade group that represents independents.

The National Community Pharmacists Association, in its 2013 NCPA Digest, found that 48% of all community pharmacies offer patients adherence counseling services, up from 39% in the last survey. Meanwhile, the percentage of community pharmacies providing adherence phone calls or text messages increased from 22% to 39%. Independents also dispensed generic drugs 77% of the time; their pharmacists routinely consult with physicians about proper prescription drug therapy, and pharmacists’ recommendations for generic drug use are accepted 83% of the time. The total number of independent pharmacies in the country is estimated at 23,029, from 23,106 last year.

The digest was sponsored by Cardinal Health and is available to NCPA members.

Medication Adherence in America: A National Report Card, released earlier this year, found that on average, Americans ages 40 years and older with a chronic condition earned a C+ on average, while one-in-seven in that group received an F.

"Independent community pharmacists are playing a larger role than ever in improving health and cutting costs through the promotion of medication adherence and proper use of generic medicines," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. "The digest reinforces the value and diverse nature of the care provided by trusted, community pharmacists. Small business community pharmacy owners and pharmacists look forward to continuing to work to help policymakers and health plan sponsors enhance patient outcomes and reduce expenses."

Other findings included that a majority of prescriptions came from Medicare and Medicaid — 33% and 18%, respectively — and that 53% of independents are in areas with populations of 20,000 or less, making them an important lifeline for underserved and rural areas.

"Cardinal Health is proud to again sponsor the 2013 NCPA Digest, a comprehensive report to help pharmacy owners make smarter business decisions," Cardinal Health VP retail marketing Ron Clerico said. "We realize that community pharmacists play a unique role in helping improve our nation’s healthcare system."

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Wegmans offers prescription shipping service, ideal for snowbirds

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Wegmans recently extended its pharmacy reach beyond its store base with a service many of its snowbird patients may find appealing. 

Not only will Wegmans process a refill online, they will now ship it to a verified patient anywhere in the United States. So seniors who head south for the winter can now maintain continuity with filling their prescriptions through the same pharmacy. 

Standard delivery (five to 10 business days) is free; express delivery (one to two days) is $18.95.

 

 

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