Inside This Issue - News
Script Your Future blitz hits Rhode Island
June 6th, 2011
by Paul Grimaldi
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – CVS Caremark Corp. joined with the National Consumers League last month to launch the local front in a national campaign to educate Americans about the risk of taking medications improperly.
“A complex problem like this has to be addressed on several levels,” said Mimi Johnson, health policy director for the National Consumers League, during the kickoff event at Brown University in Providence.
The Providence event followed the national launch earlier in the month in Washington, D.C., which was led by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. In all, more than 100 public and private entities have joined the “Script Your Future” campaign.
“Our national challenge is to prevent poor health outcomes and to become a healthy and fit nation,” Benjamin said. “One way is for the health care community and patients to come together to address the serious issue of medication nonadherence.”
Nonadherence includes failing to fill prescriptions, delaying prescription fills, cutting dosages and reducing the frequency of taking medications.
The partners aim to remind people to take their medications properly in treating three chronic diseases — the various cardiovascular, diabetes and respiratory ailments — by using text messages and other informational tactics.
The campaign includes a website, www.Scriptyourfuture.org, where people can track their medications, obtain condition management tools and find fact sheets on these three common conditions.
CVS Caremark, which is based in Rhode Island, helped launch the program in the state’s capital city. Providence is one of six cities where the coalition will pilot the campaign and conduct related research and advertising. The others are Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala,; Cincinnati; Raleigh, N.C.; and Sacramento, Calif.
“CVS Caremark has undertaken significant health policy research in an effort to better understand why patients do not take their medications as prescribed, so we are very pleased to be a national partner in the Script Your Future campaign,” said Papatya Tankut, vice president for pharmacy professional services at CVS Caremark. “In the coming months we will be providing information about the campaign in our 7,200 CVS/pharmacy locations throughout the [United States] in order to raise awareness about this important health issue with our customers.”
Tankut said the value of pharmacists comes, in part, from how they reinforce with clients physicians’ messages related to the medications that are prescribed.
Joining Tankut at the Providence launch was Dr. Gus Manocchia, vice president and chief medical officer of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Rhode Island.
“[Physicians] are not doing a very good job of educating our patients,“ Manocchia told the audience of about 30 people. The result, he added, is that some patients frequently fail to take medications properly, if at all. “This is a big issue,” Manocchia said. “It is particularly prevalent in the elderly.”
With the number of primary care physicians “stagnant” in the United States, he pointed out, Blue Cross is working on ways to improve patient care beyond the traditional doctor-patient relationship.
In addition to joining with CVS and the National Consumers League in the Script Your Future campaign, Blue Cross is considering a “team” approach to health care in which a primary care physician oversees pharmacists, nurse practitioners and mental health professionals.