New study shows MS patients with high out-of-pocket costs not filling prescriptions
ST. PAUL, Minn. One-in-4 multiple sclerosis patients are declining to fill their prescriptions, likely due to high out-of-pocket costs, according to a new study by pharmacy benefits manager Prime Therapeutics.
The study showed that patients with an out-of-pocket expense greater than $250 were seven times more likely to decline to fill their prescriptions than patients with an out-of-pocket cost of $100 or less. This increase in the number of patients who decline to fill their MS specialty prescriptions and do not continue taking the necessary MS medications may adversely affect long-term patient care.
MS specialty medications have a typical average wholesale price of $2,500 per month’s supply, or $30,000 annually.
“Specialty pharmacy costs are rising and insurers are focusing on ways to best manage costs, including increasing out-of-pocket costs for members,” said Patrick Gleason, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, lead author and director of clinical outcomes assessment at Prime. “Our research suggests members who pay high out-of-pocket costs are declining to fill their prescription. Patients who aren’t taking their medications face serious medical and health complications, which could result in substantial medical or hospitalization expenses for both the patient and health insurer. Health insurers should consider member cost and the impact it has on adherence when designing specialty pharmacy benefits. “
NCPA makes recommendations for the Affordable Health Choices Act
ALEXANDRIA, Va. An organization representing the country’s independent pharmacies has sent a list of recommendations for healthcare reform to the chairman of the Senate’s healthcare committee.
The National Community Pharmacists Association announced Tuesday that its EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts had sent a letter with five specific recommendations for the Affordable Health Choices Act to Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The recommendations address grants establishing community health teams supporting a medical home model, grants for medication management services to treat chronic disease, requirements for pharmacies to provide health insurance, pharmacy exemption for durable medical equipment accreditation and features of the public health plan option.
Roberts wrote that the NCPA supports the requirement that community health teams provide patients with access to pharmacist-delivered medication management therapies in the medical home model provision.
“NCPA believes that pharmacists’ services should be an integral part of a patient’s medical home because prescription medications are the primary medical intervention used to improve health and quality of life,” Roberts wrote.
The letter expressed support for the law’s proposed establishment of a grant program for medication therapy management and exemptions for pharmacies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ durable medical equipment accreditation requirements, which they must fulfill in order to sell diabetes-testing supplies. On the other hand, it asked the committee to consider that small businesses with highly trained professionals, such as pharmacies, have higher-than-average salaries as it decided on an annual salary phase out for tax incentives to provide health insurance. It also emphasized its preference that the drug benefit component of any public plan be administered by a pharmacy benefits administrator rather than a pharmacy benefits manager.
Fruth Pharmacy elects founder’s daughter as board chairwoman
POINT PLEASANT, W. Va. Regional retail pharmacy chain Fruth Pharmacy has elected a new chairwoman of the board.
Fruth CEO Don Pullin announced the election of Lynne Fruth, which occurred during the board meeting in March. The company said Fruth will direct the company’s affairs and make decisions on major company issues.
Fruth, the youngest daughter of company founder Jack Fruth, has spent more than 20 years in careers related to education, serving as field researcher for the federal government and in the Putnam County, W.Va., school system. She also works as a private consultant to many county school systems in West Virginia and has been an owner and operator of several private businesses, including restaurants and a vending route.
“In the words of my father, the harder I work, the luckier I get,” Fruth stated. “I will strive to bring to this position that level of dedication, as well as a commitment to the values on which our company was founded – hard work; integrity; true concern for our employees, customers and communities; and a vision for where we can take Fruth Pharmacy in the future.”