PHARMACY

Second Medication Adherence Team Challenge launched

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — A group of organizations has launched a nationwide competitive outreach project to enlist students studying to become healthcare professionals to find new ways to raise awareness about medication adherence as a public health issue.

Wednesday marked the launch of the second annual Medication Adherence Team Challenge, which will last for a month, coordinated by the National Consumers League and sponsored by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the American Medical Association. The NCL is also the lead organization on the national Script Your Future campaign, for which the NCL and other partners have committed to a three-year program to promote medication adherence. It is estimated that three-quarters of Americans don’t take their medications as directed, resulting in serious health consequences, according to the NCL.

"The success of the first Script Your Future Adherence Challenge in October 2011 demonstrated the power of student pharmacists to reach out to their communities and engage patients and caregivers to improve health through better adherence," AACP EVP and CEO Lucinda Maine said. "This year’s challenge will emphasize the interprofessional healthcare team and what each member of that team needs to do to move the needle on medication adherence."

This year’s challenge will take place through February and engage interdisciplinary teams from pharmacy, medicine, nursing and other health professionals to address the problem of poor adherence.

"Innovative medication adherence initiatives, such as the challenge, ultimately help raise patient awareness of the importance of taking medication as prescribed," NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger said. "This kind of initiative can help prevent potential adverse events and unnecessary hospitalizations and ultimately improve health outcomes."

In October 2011, more than 40,000 student pharmacists educated more than 250,000 individuals nationwide that month to raise public awareness of the importance of adherence.

"Greater medication adherence improves patients’ well-being and ultimately helps to drive down the costs of health care," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. "Independent community pharmacists are committed to proactively identifying solutions to improve patient adherence in their communities, and the challenge is a terrific way to raise awareness among the next generation of pharmacists."


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Rite Aid promotes heart health for American Heart Month

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid is promoting heart health to mark American Heart Month in February.

The retail pharmacy chain announced Wednesday that it would distribute 12-page Heart Health guides and offer counseling with pharmacists and collect money for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement by selling red dress paper pinups.

"In many cases, the path to a healthier heart begins with just a few simple lifestyle changes," Rite Aid EVP pharmacy Robert Thompson said. "Rite Aid’s free 12-page Heart Health guide was developed with the American Heart Association and is a great first step on the path to better heart health. With the help and support of Rite Aid pharmacists, our customers can commit to and achieve their heart health goals all year long."

According to the AHA, 80% of heart disease and stroke cases can be prevented, but cardiovascular disease affects more than 1-in-3 adults and is the number-one killer of women in the United States.


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Costco offers Aetna insurance to California members

BY Alaric DeArment

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — Aetna is offering individual health insurance plans to Costco members in California, the health insurer said.

The Costco Personal Health Insurance program includes five plans and offers broad medical benefits, dental options and a large network of doctors and hospitals. The program also is available to members of the club retailer in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. Aetna plans to expand the program to other markets in the coming months.

"We recognize the importance of providing affordable health solutions that deliver value and convenience to individuals and families," Aetna head of individual business Barbara DeMaio said. "We are proud to join with a respected retailer like Costco to provide health insurance options to their members in California."

Aetna said Costco was providing such benefits as lower copays on prescriptions at Costco pharmacies to members, and plans include special features and lower monthly premiums negotiated only for Costco members.

"There are a variety of plan types to choose from, each offering the right combination of quality, value and special members-only benefits," Costco director of insurance services John Conlon said.


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