May 2, 2013 (Arlington, Va.) — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) today announced its membership in “Prescriptions for a Healthy America: A Partnership for Advancing Medication Adherence,” and noted the vital role of community pharmacy in improving health and wellness and in making healthcare more affordable.
The Partnership launched today to bring together patient, provider, employer, pharmacy and health plan advocates to work closely with policymakers in Washington, D.C. to improve medication adherence — the term for proper and consistent use of medications as prescribed. According to NEHI (formerly the New England Healthcare Institute) non-adherence has been estimated to impose $290 billion in avoidable healthcare costs annually.
The Partnership also released poll results that found that nearly two-thirds of patients who take medication do not properly adhere to prescription regimens. The poll also found that more than half of respondents said they would be more likely to take their medications as prescribed if they were more informed about the potential negative health consequences of non-adherence.
“At NACDS, we are seeing ever-greater awareness among policymakers about the benefits of boosting medication adherence, and the launch of the Partnership is ideally timed to help build that momentum for the good of patient health,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “We appreciate the opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the Partnership members on an issue that rightfully could be considered one of the most pressing health challenges and opportunities of the day.
“NACDS’ research fits nicely with the poll results released by the Partnership. Polls commissioned by NACDS and by others have shown consistently that community pharmacists are widely trusted and accessible, and that face-to-face interactions with pharmacists are extremely valued, particularly by those in greatest need. Patients know that community pharmacies play a vital role in helping patients use medicines as prescribed and safely, and in helping patients stay healthy. NACDS members can and do play a vital role in the mission that the Partnership is pursuing.”
In addition to noting its own opinion research, NACDS has emphasized that the Congressional Budget Office in late 2012 announced steps to reflect in its cost-evaluation of legislative proposals the belief that better use of medications can generate savings by reducing reliance on costly forms of care. If generalized to the nation as a whole, just a one-percent increase in medication use saves $1.7 billion in overall healthcare costs, or $5.76 per person.
Also, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in February 2013 released a study focused on Medicare beneficiaries with certain lung or heart conditions. Those enrolled in medication therapy management services in 2010 — and particularly those who received comprehensive medication reviews – experienced significant improvement in the quality of their drug regimens and costs were saved.
“In the effort to help boost medication adherence through healthcare practice, patient awareness and public policy, there is no more committed partner than NACDS and community pharmacy, and we are enthusiastic to be part of the Partnership’s launch today,” Anderson said.
More information about the Partnership is available at adhereforhealth.org.