Poor medication adherence continues to negatively impact patient outcomes and costs. The exact scale of the problem depends on which study you read, but the impact on human lives and healthcare costs ($270-300 billion/year), is so large that it attracts attention from every corner of the healthcare industry.
The stories below illustrate five unique (but not necessarily exclusive) paths to addressing and improving adherence that have made news in recent months.
1. NCPA presents medication adherence award winners
At its 116th Annual Convention and Trade Exposition, National Community Pharmacist Association (NCPA) honored two individuals as part of its Pharmacists Advancing Medication Adherence (PAMA) initiative.
Max Caldwell, RPh received the 2014 NCPA Outstanding Adherence Practitioner Award, which recognizes an independent community pharmacist who demonstrates a continuous commitment to patient adherence services. Caldwell Discount Drug in Wynne, AR has enrolled more than 500 patients into its medication synchronization program. By coordinating patient refills to one day per month, the pharmacy enjoys efficiencies and creates more opportunity for pharmacist-patient consultation.
Dr. David Holdford, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, received the NCPA Outstanding Adherence Educator Award in recognition of the four books and more than 100 papers and book chapters he has authored as well as his ongoing work documenting the positive effects of medication synchronization programs in community pharmacies. Dr. Holdford teaches pharmacy students and manages his own research program as well as a graduate program of 27 students.
2. Prescription adherence technology wins top prize among startups
Nearly 100 health technology startups (who have received at least one round of funding) of all sorts competed head-to-head at Silicon Valley’s Health 2.0: Traction. A group of 10 finalists was culled from the original entries. As a reward for making the finals, each finalist got an investor, consultant, or analyst to serve as mentor.
The winner was MediSafe, a mobile medication reminder application that has been downloaded more than 900,000 times in Google Play and iTunes App Store.
MediSafe claims it has been used 65 million times to remind patients to take their medication and has achieved an adherence rate of 86%.
3. Rewarding patients for taking their medicine correctly
HealthPrize Technologies, a company that encourages prescription adherence via online games, prizes, and education, has announced two new partnership endeavors.
HealthPrize will team up with Connexions Loyalty to broaden its array of reward and motivate incentives available to pharmaceutical brands. According to John Ragland, HealthPrize Chief Product Officer, “Our partnership with Connexions will enable HealthPrize to advance our patient engagement and adherence rewards programs to an unprecedented degree.”
HealthPrize is collaborating with West Pharmaceuticals, designer and manufacturer of packaging and delivery systems for pharmaceutical products, on an end-to-end drug delivery system for patients who self-inject their medications.
According to the HealthPrize website, “The HealthPrize digital platform motivates patients and improves prescription adherence via a unique combination of education and rewards in an engaging and entertaining experience. In the process, it also gathers a wealth of valuable information: accurate prescription-history data and market research on patients verified to be on therapy.”
4. Lawmakers question high cost of generics
Rep. Elijah Cumings (D-MD) and Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) have sent letters to 14 companies that manufacture and/or distribute generic drugs to question why the prices of generics have skyrocketed over the last year.
Their concern is two-fold:
- Patients have come to rely on generics as affordable. With some prescription insurance plans now setting tiers for the cost of certain generics, affordability has become an issue.
- As the cost of prescribed generics become cost prohibitive for some patients, those patients are less likely to take their medication as prescribed.
Responses to the letters are due back on October 23rd. Hearings could follow.
We all must do our part
Each of the above stories focuses on one approach to improving medical adherence. But the problem is so great, and individuals are so unique, that more than one solution is needed.
Because of their close relationships with patients, Independent community pharmacies have been shown to have a unique ability to improve adherence through counseling, synchronization, and MTM.
At TRxADE, we continue to support medication adherence by bringing down the wholesale costs of drugs via blind competition among wholesalers and pharmacy to pharmacy sales of overstock.
By lowering your prices for pharmaceuticals, we endeavor to help you improve your bottom line while making it more affordable for your patients to take their medications as prescribed.