The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has released a new report spotlighting research on the patient health benefits of improved medication adherence.


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NACDS report highlights benefits of Rx adherence

June 14th, 2013

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has released a new report spotlighting research on the patient health benefits of improved medication adherence.

NACDS said Friday that the report, prepared independently by Avalere Health and titled "The Role of Medication Adherence in the U.S. Healthcare System," includes research on the link between medication adherence, health outcomes and health care system spending, plus research on major barriers to medication adherence and examples of efforts to improve it.

"When patients struggle to obtain and use medications appropriately, they may limit a drug's effectiveness, experience poor health outcomes as a result and raise the overall cost of care in the United States," stated the report, which was funded by NACDS. "For example, recent research has shown that taking drugs as prescribed lowers total health care costs by an amount that exceeds the costs of the drugs themselves (Roebuck et al. 2011), and lower spending on prescription drugs may be offset by higher medical services costs (Gaynor et al. 2007)."

NACDS said the review noted that "the body of evidence on the cost-effectiveness of medication adherence has begun to influence policy," as shown by the Congressional Budget Office's move in 2012 to associate a reduction in Medicare's medical service spending when the number of prescriptions filled increases.

"This is the first time the government's nonpartisan legislative scoring agency has credited greater usage of medications with saving health care costs, generally, as part of their guidance," the report said.

The review cited findings related to the effectiveness of pharmacist-led medication therapy management (MTM) and noted the importance of comprehensive medication reviews (CMR), an aspect of MTM in which the pharmacist reviews each individual drug and helps the patient take them appropriately to avoid adverse reactions and maximize outcomes.

NACDS said the review supports the momentum behind government and market-based strategies to help patients take medicines as prescribed.

"To improve patient outcomes and reduce the financial burden on the health care system, policymakers and other health care stakeholders should support measures that encourage greater engagement and education with patients to demonstrate the importance of proper medication use," the report concluded.

NACDS added that it has endorsed bipartisan legislation in the Senate (S. 557) and in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1024) — the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act — that would improve access to MTM services for senior citizens enrolled in the Medicare Part D program.

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