Published Online: Monday, May 1, 2006

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation recently launched its third disease state Project ImPACT initiative?on depression. ImPACT is an acronym for Improving Persistence And Compliance with Therapy. Project ImPACT: Depression seeks to address the need for depression management through the use of a community pharmacy-based health care service-delivery model.

This month, each of the participating employer sites will enroll 100 patients who are being treated with depression therapy and are not currently being monitored in a pharmacy setting. The initiative, with project support from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, will take place in conjunction with the Ohio State University Wellness Plan, the City of Asheville (NC), Mission Hospitals, and the Western North Carolina Health Care Coalition in Asheville.

"We believe a focus on medication adherence, and a consistent evaluation of whether depression management is being successful, will assure that the three quarters of a million dollars per year we spend on antidepressant medications is money well spent, and will result in improvements in care and decreases in total health care costs," said Barry Bunting, clinical manager of pharmacy and Asheville Project coordinator for Mission Hospitals.

Similar to the successful Asheville Project in North Carolina (1997-present), Project ImPACT: Depression will have employers waive copays for medications used to treat depression. Pharmacists will be compensated for patient care services related to improving persistence and compliance with treatment regimens. The project's final analysis will look at overall program satisfaction for patients and providers, presenteeism rates, and health care expenditures versus savings.

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