PHARMACY

APhA kicks off American Pharmacists Month

BY Ryan Chavis

WASHINGTON — The message in October is "Know Your Pharmacist, Know Your Medicine" as the American Pharmacists Association launches its annual American Pharmacists Month.

The APhA said the messaging for the month is based on "one essential fact" seen in pharmacies, clinics and other care sites: The more patients know their pharmacist, the more they will know about their medications, the documented successes and cautionary tales, the risks and benefits and potential side effects and contraindications of medications. Patients, the APhA said, should choose their pharmacists as carefully as they choose their doctors.

The organization said that while Americans spend billions on medications every year, the most expensive medications are the ones that don’t work properly or cause harm due to misuse. Failure to take medications as prescribed causes more than 1.5 million medication-related adverse events, and costs the healthcare system about $290 billion each year, the group said. But when patients know their pharmacist and feel comfortable seeking their advice, the likelihood of medication errors decreases.

The APhA is also highlighting the services pharmacists can provide, such as annual medication checkups, prescription medication education, advice on OTC drugs, assistance filling out a personal medication record, adherence reminders, immunizations, diabetes care guidance and more.

 

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Amid Insurance Exchange rollout, NACDS’ Anderson engages media to promote community pharmacy

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — In light of the increased attention on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — both in Washington and in the media — and Tuesday’s opening of the health insurance exchange, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is engaging with the media to emphasize pharmacies’ valuable role in the U.S. healthcare system.

In fact, on Tuesday morning NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson appeared on Bloomberg TV’s "Surveillance" program, where he described pharmacies’ important role in healthcare delivery.

“Our members are living up to the trust and expectations that the American people toward pharmacy providing advice and guidance to a rather complicated process in terms of implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” Anderson said.

Anderson also discussed the importance of expanded services within pharmacy, such as MTM and improving medication adherence — which is estimated to result in $290 billion in added healthcare costs each year.

To watch the segment, click here.

In addition, a recent NACDS-member newsletter article featured insights from Carol Kelly, NACDS SVP government affairs and public policy, who discusses preparing members for implementation and her insights into the law based on her longtime healthcare policy expertise.

To read the article, click here.

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American Health Care establishes pharmacist care network across Missouri

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Pharmacists in the Show-Me State have a new opportunity to demonstrate — and be paid for — their ability to help patients achieve measurable progress in fighting several chronic conditions, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the Missouri Pharmacy Association and the Missouri Pharmacist Care Network announced Tuesday.

With the help of such pharmacy organizations as the NCPA, MPA and MO-PCN, American Health Care is establishing a pharmacist care network across Missouri. NCPA is now accepting applications from community pharmacists who want to be part of the network and provide disease state management services to qualified patients. The program is intended to enhance patient well-being and to build to the body of evidence that pharmacist-provided disease management services can improve patient outcomes and lower costs for employers, health plans and accountable care organizations. 

Pharmacists participating in the network as care managers, or “coaches,” meet every one to three months with patients, help them work toward concrete health goals and record the pharmacist’s efforts through an easy-to-use, Web-based platform. Pharmacists would be compensated for documented cases. Such chronic diseases as diabetes, hypertension and lipid management are expected to be among the focal points, although the exact range of conditions treated will be determined by the employers and/or health plans with which AHC contracts. 

“Community pharmacists are highly trained and are overwhelmingly trusted by patients, putting these providers in an ideal position to play a larger role in the U.S. healthcare system,” Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO, stated. “The opportunity for pharmacists should only grow more substantial as more Americans are expected to gain healthcare coverage and the primary care shortage becomes more acute. This program offers Missouri pharmacists a prime opportunity to improve patient lives, grow their business and further prove the value that all community pharmacists present to health plans and their sponsors.”

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