Resolutions for 2010 are top of mind now and living healthier is one of the most common. So it seems timely to revisit a “2 a day” approach to boosting medication adherence that was first outlined at NCPA’s most recent convention during a speech by Executive Vice President and CEO Bruce T. Roberts, RPh. Here are some excerpts:
“The cost to our society of patients not taking their medicine correctly is $290 billion a year. That’s right, 290 billion with a B…..three times the projected cost of health care reform. Friends, that’s real money—even in Washington, D.C.
“That’s a huge opportunity — if we position ourselves correctly. Mirixa is part of that positioning. It can work with health plans, employers, and pharmaceutical companies to involve—and pay—pharmacists for helping patients take their medicines correctly and improving clinical outcomes.
“This reminds me of something that former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once said. ‘Medicines don’t work in people who don’t take them.’
“It’s as simple — and complex — as that.
“Our good friends at the Smith Drug Company in Spartanburg, South Carolina, know this.
“Their employees and their families have an extensive wellness program, including diabetes compliance.
“By using education and information from pharmacists, Smith saw the cost of care for compliant employees with diabetes drop from $11,600 each in 2006 to $5,400 in 2007. The cost for noncompliant employees rose to $13,000 each.
“That, too, is real money and if scaled to our entire health care system the numbers become staggering.
“The reality is that treatment of disease is increasingly dependent on prescription medicines. We as an industry and profession must do our part to make sure the system gets the full benefit of those medications.
“I believe that medication adherence should be a core competency for every pharmacist. I also believe that attention to patient adherence must become the standard of practice for pharmacists in the future.
“So NCPA is challenging the profession that as one of its most crucial and basic functions, community pharmacists will advocate and promote to patients the importance of taking their medication as prescribed —as simple and complex as that.
“All it takes is a commitment. A commitment to ‘2 a day.’ Start by committing to talk to just two of your diabetes or hypertension patients every day about the importance of staying on their medications.
“Helping them manage their diabetes could put a serious dent in the $174 billion annual U.S. health care price tag for treating diabetes, while saving thousands of patients from a limb being amputated, or blindness, or a life cut short.
“That is success — no matter how you count it — anywhere.”