HEALTH

Medication adherence report reveals need for patient-specific interventions

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Boehringer Ingelheim has done a major service to the industry with the release of this report. Closing the gap on patient compliance and adherence remains not only the best opportunity for retail pharmacy to grow the business at a time of waning big blockbuster drug introductions and continued pressure from generic competition, but also represents the best opportunity for this industry to “show what it’s got,” as the entire nation turn its attention to health reform.

 

Hundreds of billions of healthcare dollars are spent needlessly as a result of people not taking their medications as they are supposed to, to say nothing of the toll it’s taking on patient outcomes.

 

Reading between the lines here, one of the big reasons behind non-compliance could very well be the state of the economy. A public opinion poll of 1,025 adults conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in mid-July found that 49% of Americans are still taking cost-cutting measures when it comes to their healthcare: 33% are shifting to medicines available over-the-counter in favor of a doctor’s visit; 21% skipped a doctor-recommended medical test or treatment because of cost; and 15% cut prescription doses in half or skipped doses in an effort to stretch their medicines. And taking those kinds of cost-cutting measures — saving a co-pay today but risking an emergency room visit tomorrow — only helps to amplify the important role a pharmacist can play in helping their patients navigate cost-saving strategies in an effort to maintain/boost compliance.

“All of those things…are happening,” Ted Epperly, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told Drug Store News in the fall following a similar Kaiser survey, and its cutting deeper than just the working poor, he said. Patients who would fall into lower- and middle-income status are making similar cost-cutting decisions.

Also already happening is that pharmacist interceding on the patient’s behalf to help mitigate prescription-drug costs. “We’ve found that physicians were particularly receptive to calling on a patient’s behalf and giving suggestions on how that patient could save money, especially if it was a matter of a patient either not taking that medication at all or taking something [else] to address their condition,” Douglas Hoey, SVP and COO for the National Community Pharmacy Association, told Drug Store News this past fall.

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Diplomat, Commcare named top companies by Inc. magazine

BY Alaric DeArment

SWARTZ CREEK, Mich. Two specialty pharmacies have earned places on a list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States.

Swartz Creek, Mich.-based Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy, which operates six pharmacies in the Midwest and Florida, announced Wednesday that it had made the 235th place in Inc. magazine’s 2009 Inc. 500, which ranks the country’s top private companies every year. In addition, Commcare, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based, $100 million specialty pharmacy with three locations founded in 1996, came in at 374 on the list. Commcare was profiled in the inaugural issue of Specialty Pharmacy, a new magazine within the Drug Store News group of publications.

“While coming in at 235 in the nation is an amazing achievement, the additional details are even more astounding,” Diplomat president and CEO Phil Hagerman said in a statement.

Those “additional details” include Diplomat’s number-one rank among the 43 companies listed in the healthcare category, a place among the top 10 companies ranked by total revenue and the company’s 917% growth over the last three years.

“At Diplomat, we’re proud to make Inc.’s Top 500 list,” Hagerman said. “This achievement recognizes the creativity, dedication and hard work that have gone into building Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy into what it is today.”

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CVS Caremark study finds need for improvements in healthcare access, costs

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark announced on Thursday the results of its 2009 “Health IQ” study, which underscores the need to improve health outcome, increase access and curb costs.

The study, which examined consumer attitudes and behaviors around health care and prescription usage, was commissioned in April among 2,000 consumers who report taking at least one maintenance medication. Cooper Research, a healthcare research company in Cincinnati, conducted the Internet-based study.

According to the findings, 13% of respondents were not covered by a prescription drug health insurance plan. Those under the age of 65 and those with a household income of less than $50,000 are less likely to be covered. In addition, 15% of caregivers are not covered. Roughly 1-in-10 consumers do not obtain yearly checkups, but the number jumps to 26% for those without prescription drug coverage.

The study also found that many consumers consider prescription costs to be confusing and 66% have not spoken to anyone in the past 12 months about how to save money on their prescriptions, while one-fourth of respondents said they simply don?t know who to ask. Among the one-third who have sought advice, an equal proportion spoke to their pharmacist or their doctor.

To help improve medication adherence, CVS Caremark offers its Proactive Pharmacy Care program, which is focused on helping consumers understand the benefits of taking their medicine consistently, and how they can reduce the cost.

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