Pharmacy Groups: Proper Med Use Key in Health Care Reform--June 2009

The National Conference of Pharmaceutical Organizations (NCPO) is urging Congress and the Obama administration to recognize the key role appropriate medication use plays in health care reform. The group released a policy statement on May 28 entitled "From Reform to Revolution: Maximizing the Power of Proper Medication Use in Patient Care" that outlined the importance of both prescription and OTC medications in providing health care.

"The use of prescription and OTC medications fills an important role in meeting the public's health care needs," NCPO wrote. "We believe policymakers must consider the importance of access to medication therapy and appropriate counseling on the use of medications when developing health system reforms-including legislation, subsequent implementing regulations, and future improvements."

The group went on to state the importance of pharmacists working in concert with doctors and other health care providers to ensure proper medication use through synchronized efforts. A lack of medication adherence leads to an annual $177 billion in direct and indirect costs, NCPO stated.

The statement laid out a number of recommendations NCPO would like to see included in federal health care reform plans:

  • All Americans should have access to the right medications for their conditions, whether the most suitable option is a brand, generic, or OTC drug. Patients also should receive counseling to promote correct use and adherence.
  • The progress of health care quality improvement goals should be measured and publicly reported, and incentives should be offered for improving patient outcomes.
  • All patients should have access to health systems focused on coordinated care, including a care coordinator who will ensure effective health management.
  • Health care providers should be reimbursed for costs associated with dispensing medications, as well as medication therapy management (MTM) provided by pharmacists.
  • Electronic prescribing, electronic medical records, and other types of health information technology should be used by health care providers to optimize care.
  • Health care screenings, immunizations, MTM, and other preventive services should be covered and promoted.

Comprised of the leaders of a number of pharmacy and pharmaceutical organizations, NCPO's members come from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Pharmacists Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, the Healthcare Distribution Management Association, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the National Community Pharmacists Association, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

For other articles in this issue, see:

FDA Proposes Acetaminophen Liver Warnings

Nevada Law Allows Pharmacists to Help Combat Diabetes

Helping Clinicians Improve Cancer Care